Next Gen 2019: Nikhil Chakraborty
Executive Director and Founder, Penn Harvest
Through his involvement with New York City’s Robin Hood Foundation, Nikhil Chakraborty got a first-hand look at the impacts of poverty. After his family moved to the area, he wanted to help tackle childhood poverty in Philadelphia, inspired, in part, by his time at Drexel University’s Center for Hunger-Free Communities. “I was learning about the complexity behind the cause of poverty,” says the Haverford School senior. “There are so many facets to poverty beyond just food availability—like healthcare, financial literacy, mental health and early education.”
Applying what he’d learned, Chakraborty started Penn Harvest, which offers a multi-pronged approach to combating hunger and other needs. Penn Harvest provides 4,200 meals each month to those in need. Its donations to food pantries include produce that would otherwise go to waste. The organization has also added healthcare and education programs, and Chakraborty is launching an advocacy branch to influence legislation around the country. “Providing food is important, but we also need to figure out how to implement policy that can really cause long-term change,” he says.