CHANTILLY, Va., Nov. 25, 2019 – Asha-Jyothi, a non-profit organization based in Chantilly, is aiming to take public education to the next level by providing grants to local schools to build state-of-the-art learning environments designed to spur innovation and creative thinking. 

“The idea behind this initiative is to bring together diverse communities and demonstrate the  importance of giving back early and often,” explains Asha-Jyothi founder Sekhar Puli. “Educators are the greatest influencers of the next generation. Through these grants and the opportunities they provide, our hope is that all children will be inspired to design, experiment, build and invent, while believing that anything is possible.”

Now in its second year, Asha-Jyothi’s Educate-Innovate initiative recently awarded nearly $90,000 in funding to 17 public schools in both Loudoun and Fairfax County, Virginia, including a $60,000 grant to the 2019 grand prize winner Rocky Run Middle School. Rocky Run’s winning proposal will allow the school, which is currently undergoing extensive renovations, to create a dedicated space for creative learning featuring a lego wall, podcasting/recording room, and a workspace featuring dry erase tabletops and flexible seating.

Rocky Run Middle School Named Grand Prize Winner of 2019 Educate-Innovate Initiative 

“We are thrilled to accept this grant to build an Inspiration Lab in our new library, which will open by Spring 2020. Thank you Asha-Jyothi for your generosity and for inspiring our students to aim high and dream big,” said Dr. Amy Goodloe, principal of Rocky Run Middle School, in accepting the funds. 

Additional 2019 Educate-Innovate grant winners are Liberty Middle School, which received $2,950 to purchase a vinyl cutter and Brookfield Elementary School, which received $1,800 to purchase Ozobots (small robots that teach kids programming skills). Grants are awarded based on proposals from the schools to fund specific requests that provide access across the student body to opportunities to engage in creative thinking and problem solving. 

In its first year, Asha-Jyothi’s Educate-Innovate initiative donated $106,000 to build the Innovation Lab at Chantilly High School. The lab offers students access to state-of-the-art 3D printing, audiovisual technology and recording, take-apart technology, writable walls, robotics and more. 

To be eligible for funds, local schools were invited to participate in Asha-Jyothi’s annual 5K Run/Walk, held this year on Sept. 15 in Fairfax Corner. Asha-Jyothi donated registrations linked to each school back to the school itself to fund education projects.  

At the 2019 Educate-Innovate awards ceremony, principals and faculty from 17 participating Loudoun and Fairfax County public schools received checks totaling the registration money from the run along with a matching amount.  Schools that participated and called out to receive funds included: Chantilly HS, Rocky Run MS, Waxpool ES, Greenbriar West ES, Rosalee Carter ES, Oak Hill ES, Eagle View ES, Centreville HS, Lanier MS, Centreville ES, Lunsford MS, Lees Corner ES, Brookfield ES, Thomas Jefferson HS, Navy ES, Poplar Tree ES, Broad Run HS, Liberty MS, Franklin MS, Greenbriar East ES, Union Mill ES, Madison HS, Daniels Run ES, Willow Spring ES, Stone Hill MS, Legacy ES and Frost MS.

Asha-Jyothi also provided a $5,000 scholarship to Michael Angelo Coca-Vargas, a senior at Park View High School in Sterling, Va. who hopes to pursue a degree in computer science. 

An additional $20,000 was donated to public schools in Seattle, Philadelphia and Fremont, NJ  as a result of school partnerships in cities where Asha-Jyothi chapters organize 5K Run/Walks, totalling overall giving of  $110,000 to local communities and U.S. schools in 2019. 

“Going forward, Asha-Jyothi looks forward to even greater community engagement and will continue to fund unique educational opportunities for students both locally and beyond,” said Kiran Vemuri, a representative of the nonprofit.

CONTACT:  Lori Barnes, Community Outreach Volunteer, 703-731-3290