Nipun Mehta is the founder of CharityFocus.org, a fully volunteer-run organization that has delivered millions of dollars of web-related services to the nonprofit world for free. The recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service and the President’s Volunteer Service Award, his work creatively leverages web technologies for collaborative and transformational giving, lending him insight into service, leadership, organizational design, and spirituality. He serves on the advisory boards of the Seva Foundation, Dalai Lama Foundation, and Airline Ambassadors.
Nipun’s high-school goal was to either become a tennis-pro or a Himalayan Yogi. However, by the third year of his Computer Science and Philosophy degree at UC Berkeley, he started his software career at Sun Microsystems. Dissatisfied by the dot-com greed of the late 90s, Nipun went to a homeless shelter with three friends to “give with absolutely no agendas.” They ended up creating a website, and also an organization named CharityFocus. Today, CharityFocus’s 285 thousand members incubate compassionate action in a multitude of ways and its inspiration portals get 100 million hits a year. In 2001, at the age of 25, Nipun quit his job to become a “full time volunteer.” He didn’t have a plan of survival beyond six months, but so far, so good.
In January 2005, Nipun and Guri, his wife of six months, dropped everything to embark on an open-ended, unscripted walking pilgrimage in India to “use our hands to do random acts of kindness, use our heads to profile inspiring people, and use our hearts to cultivate truth.” Living on dollar a day, eating wherever food is offered, sleeping wherever a flat surface is found, the couple walked 1000 kilometers before ending up at a monastery where they meditated for three months. Today, both Nipun and Guri live in Berkeley, do small acts of service with great love, and run CharityFocus.
Nipun’s mission statement in life reads: “Bring smiles in the world and stillness in my heart.”