Raj Vuchatu Leads by Example at GTRI and Vibha Atlanta
Nov 10, 2022 — Atlanta, GA
The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) aims to improve the human condition through our research and solutions. We advance technology daily and provide innovative solutions that positively impact the state, nation, and world.
GTRI’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) Raj Vuchatu embodies this mission in both his role at GTRI and his volunteer efforts.
In addition to serving as GTRI’s CIO, Raj is one of the Executive Directors of Vibha Atlanta, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support millions of children in their quest for a better education and a better future, both in India and the United States. Recently, Raj helped organize Vibha Atlanta’s flagship fundraising event, Dream Mile 2022.
“Working with selflessness for a good cause will always have a good and positive impact,” Raj said. “Many times we wonder how things will pan out, but when everyone is working for a good cause with a positive can do attitude, wonders happen.”
Growing into Leadership
Raj built his career at GTRI. He began working at the organization in 1997 as a software developer. He provided practical solutions to GTRI’s sponsors by developing web applications and incorporating effective technologies. Raj began taking on more responsibilities, managing larger projects, and mentoring junior engineers. By 2004, he was the director of GTRI’s Enterprise Systems Department, and in 2018, he stepped in as interim Deputy Director of Research Operations & Information Systems.
Based on over two decades of continuous improvement of GTRI systems and an excellent track record of leadership and development, Raj became GTRI’s inaugural Chief Information Officer in 2020. Now, he provides vision and leadership for Information Technology (IT) strategy and implementation. Raj leads and executes a shared IT strategy to achieve GTRI’s research goals.
Raj has also been a long-term member of Vibha; he began volunteering with the nonprofit over 20 years ago because of the organization’s emphasis on education.
“I truly believe education is the only true equalizer in this world,” Raj explained. “With education, one can overcome generational poverty and injustice that has been happening around the world. If you educate a child, you don’t just change their life. You change three generations: their parents, their own, and their children. And this kind of effort has an exponential impact to generations to come in those families.”
Four years ago, Raj began dedicating more time to the organization, and in January 2022, he assumed the executive director role. Along with the other leads, Raj orchestrates all aspects of Vibha Atlanta’s operations, including organizing fundraising events, identifying projects to support the organization’s mission, and managing volunteers and sponsors.
This past year, Vibha Atlanta partnered with three impactful local organizations: International Community School, InspirEDU, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Additionally, eight high schools in the Atlanta region have Vibha high school clubs. Through these clubs, Raj and his team participate in and support various volunteer activities, including a school supplies drive, an electronics supplies drive, visiting senior citizens care centers, and advocating for more women in technology.
“(Volunteering with Vibha) has been a great experience; I get to work with many incredible volunteers who put in an incredible effort to help underprivileged children,” said Raj.
Coordinating a Successful Fundraiser
Vibha is a volunteer-driven, non-religious, non-political, nonprofit organization that seeds, scales, and grows grassroots solutions benefiting underprivileged children in India and the United States. While the organization hosts events throughout the year, the Dream Mile is known as the flagship event and is one of the biggest races in Atlanta. Now in its 24th year, the Dream Mile continues to bring smiles to everyone’s faces - the runners, the volunteers, and most importantly, the children that it supports.
Planning and facilitating a successful fundraiser takes time, support, and visionary leadership.
“As executive director of the chapter, we identify event leads, support them, and help them to plan, organize and execute the event flawlessly,” said Raj. “We mentor new volunteers and help overcome the roadblocks for all the leads.”
More than 2,000 people were in attendance on Sept. 25, the day of the event, with upwards of 1,600 participants, over 300 volunteers, and over 100 sponsors and support staff. Thanks to the sponsors, generous donors, and dedicated volunteers, the fundraising event raised more than $250,000, which will go towards Vibha projects to support education for underprivileged children in India and the United States. By partnering with environmental awareness organization Green Cell ATL, they also conducted an almost plastic-free, eco-friendly race.
The event was successful on many levels. The funds raised will change the lives of so many children. The event brought awareness to a need and provided a platform for many to participate and make an impact. And everyone who attended the event had a fun time!
“Get involved,” urges Raj. “If not with Vibha, find a cause you believe in and start contributing some time.”
If Vibha is the organization you choose to get involved with, you can volunteer, donate, and help identify impact. Learn more at https://vibha.org/.
Writer: Katrina Heitz
Photo Credit: Christopher Moore and Vibha Atlanta
Georgia Tech Research Institute
Atlanta, Georgia USA
The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,800 employees, supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country and performing more than $700 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry. GTRI's renowned researchers combine science, engineering, economics, policy, and technical expertise to solve complex problems for the U.S. federal government, state, and industry.
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