Provide Indian American students scholarships based on academic excellence and financial need.


The Upakar Foundation was established in 1997 in the Washington, DC area. It was created to serve academically outstanding Indian American students in need of extra financial resources to pursue their college dreams. The first scholarships were given out in 1999 and have been handed out every year since then.

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.

In the past, Upakar invited well known Indian musicians to perform benefit concerts and help raise awareness of our cause.  We have featured Pt. Hariprasad Churasia, Pt. Shivkumar Sharma, Ust. Zakir Hussain, 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, Dr. N Rajan and Dr. Sangeetha Shanakar.

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 Foundation has recognized individuals for outstanding contributions to society.  Most notably, in 2004 Vanita Gupta received the Community Ambassador  award. In 2005, Chirag Patel was recognized as the award winner.  In 2006 Wajahat Quadri was recognized as an outstanding teacher, for her work in Miami, FL.  These awards were underwritten by the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Foundations.

2011 - Geeta Rastogi Memorial Scholarship was established.  It was awarded to a student entering a Fine Arts (Music, Dance, Drama, etc) undergraduate program.  Shobhit Jain was the GRMS recipient and has since graduated.

2013 - Community College Scholarships was created.  These scholarships are targeted to top performing high school students that have made the decision to attend a two year community college and then transfer to a four year degree program.  The scholarship awards are $500 for the first two years and then $2,000 for the following two years.

2014 - Virginia for Education scholarship was created.  This scholarship is fully funded by 4 Virginia residents and has became the 6th annual Upakar scholarship.

2015 - Ajay Ojha Memorial scholarship was established.  The scholarship was fully funded by family and friends of Ajay Ojha, a former board member that passed away in 2014.  It will be awarded every 4 years.

2017 - Upakar Textbook scholarship was created.  This scholarship helps awardees defray their textbook costs for the upcoming school year.

2018 - Khuba Watumull Scholarships was established. These scholarships are funded by the Watumull family.  There will be 3 scholarships awarded every year.

All named scholarship were established with the same criteria as a General scholarship.

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.