Gautam Raghavan named chief of staff to Rep. Pramila Jayapal

Gautam Raghavan, a former Obama White House official and Executive Director of the Indian American Impact Fund, introducing honoree Mahinder Tak (not in picture) at the American Bazaar Women Entrepreneurs and Leaders Gala in Bethesda, MD, on November 16, 2018.
Gautam Raghavan speaking at the American Bazaar Women Entrepreneurs and Leaders Gala in Bethesda, MD, on November 16, 2018. Photo by Saju Varghese/American Bazaar

The former Obama White House aide is the founding Executive Director of the Indian American Impact Project and Impact Fund.

The Executive Director of the Indian American Impact Project and Impact Fund Gautam Raghavan is leaving the organization to become the chief of staff to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-WA.

“I’m thrilled to have Gautam, a fellow Seattleite, joining our exceptional team,” said Jayapal, the first Indian American woman elected to US Congress, in a press release. “I know his experience and leadership will continue guiding our office as we fight for real progressive change in Washington and across our country in hopes of creating a fairer and more just country.”

Pointing out that since entering Congress in 2017, Jayapal has “quickly established herself as a bold, unapologetic, national voice for progressive values,” Raghavan said he is looking forward to joining her team.

“With so much at stake, I can think of no better place to fight for a more just, fair, and prosperous future than at her side,” he said. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to support her leadership and work with her highly capable and passionate team.”

READ MORE: ‘West Wingers’: perspectives of the Obama White House by 18 insiders (September 29, 2018)

Cofounders Raj Goyle and Deepak Raj said in a press release Monday that Raghavan will continue to serve on the boards of directors of both the Impact Project and Fund.

“As our founding executive director, Gautam has worked tirelessly to raise the visibility of our organization, our community, and our leaders,” said Goyle, a former Kansas state legislator. “While we’re sad to lose him, we are thrilled that he will be a top advisor to Congresswoman Jayapal, one of the most prominent Indian Americans in elected office today. This kind of talent pipeline is why IMPACT exists.”

“Under Gautam’s leadership, Impact Fund endorsed over 20 candidates and deployed more funds for Indian American candidates than any political organization in history,” said Deepak Raj, an investor and philanthropist. “We thank him for his hard work and look forward to building on this momentum to help even more candidates run, win, and lead in 2019, 2020, and years to come.”

Raghavan, who served in the Obama White House as the president’s liaison to the LGBTQ and the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities from 2011 to 2014, thanked both Raj and Deepk for the opportunity to lead the organization.

“Now, more than ever, we must continue building political power in the Indian American community and in other immigrant communities and communities of color,” he said. “I’m excited to help partner in that work from the halls of Congress.”

Raghavan will succeed Carmen Gallus Frias, who served as Jayapal’s chief of staff during her first term.

The Indian American Impact Project and Impact Fund said its boards of directors will conduct search for a new executive director.

The organization had worked to elect dozens of Indian American candidates across the country in the November elections.


New Indian American group Impact to support candidates to ‘run, win and lead’ (January 19, 2018)

Indian American Impact Fund endorses Sri Kulkarni and Hiral Tipirneni (March 28, 2018)

Impact Fund endorses five candidates, including Jeremy Cooney, Kevin Thomas, Alex Karjeker (September 25, 2018)

Gautam Raghavan resigns, joins Gill Foundation(September 11, 2014)

LGBT rights activist Aditi Hardikar appointed to the White House (November 11, 2014)

More than 1,500 attend White House AAPI summit (May 16, 2015)

13 groups join hands to support AAPI candidates (May 18, 2018)

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