UpakarIndian-American Scholarship Foundation

History of Upakar

Upakar was created in 1997 in the Washington, DC area, based on the perceived need of Indian American students that were high achieving academically but needed the extra financial backing to manage their potentially overwhelming student loan debt.

The first scholarships were given out in 1999.

Students applying for scholarships meet minimum eligibility requirements (over 3.6 cumulative GPA and under $75,000 AGI), which has made our process of selecting 5 new Upakar scholars per year more difficult.  It has also required a high level of fundraising to properly support our Upakar scholars for their 4 years in college.

In the past, Upakar has invited well known Indian musicians to perform benefit concerts and help raise awareness of our cause.  We have featured Pt. Hariprasad Churasia in 2000, Pt. Shivkumar Sharma with Ust. Zakir Hussain twice, Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Pt Vijay Raghav Rao, Pt. Ronu Majumadar & Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya, Sandip Burman & friends, World Music concert with Dr. L Shankar, Gingger, Ust. Zakir Hussain & Siva Mani, Celestial Symphony with Pandit Chaurasia, George Brooks, Kai Eckhardt, Vijay Ghate, Steve Smith, Fareed Haque, Kaveri Agashe and Shyamala Rajender, three generations of Indian Violin with Dr. N Rajan, Dr. Sangeetha Shanakar & Nandini & Ragini Shankar.

In addition, Upakar has hosted an annual benefit Art Shows that feature the amazing work of local South Asian artists in the Washington DC area.

Upakar has provided over $600,000 in scholarships to over 165 students from 28 states across the country. In addition to our scholarships, we provide mentorship to our scholars, which connects them to successful peers and mentors in the Indian American community who can help guide them through their education and career.

Please take a moment to learn more about our scholars and how you can help make a difference in the lives of more students across the country.