The Vihara Teams

The Vihara Foundation comprises the following teams:

  • The Governing Body (The Management)
  • The Board of Trustees
  • The Board of Technical Advisors (The Project Design & Development Teams)

The Governing Body

Chairman & Co-Founder Byron Blake Economist and International Policy Development
President, Founder, & Chief Visionary Dennis Ramdahin, MSc Environmental and Sustainable Development Lead
VP / Chief Technology Officer Naveen Goud, PhD* Analytical Scientist
Secretary Roop Persaud Strategic Grant Writer, & Tax Advocate
Special Advisor Dr. Claire Nelson Senior Advisor to the President & CEO
Special Advisor Journey Jill Women Leadership and Empowerment
Special Advisor Ravi Andrews Special Advisor to President & Board, Vihara Foundation
Special Advisor Janice Hall Special Advisor to President & Board, Vihara Foundation
Chief Strategy and Relations Officer Ben Bickford Strategic Alliance & Organizational Development
Chief Financial Officer Currently Vacant Financial Strategist
Treasurer Joanie Klar Social Architecture and Relationship Management
Accountant Genroy Richards, CPA New York State Certified Public Accountant
Legal Counsel Yvette Sterling, Esq. Attorney at Law
Chief Communication Officer Shivani Srivastava

The Board of Trustees

Chairman Byron Blake Co-Founder, Senior Economist, Jamaica’s Ambassador to United Nations (Ret)
Trustee GouriSankar Ghosh, PhD Co-Founder, Former Exec Director UNICEF Water & Sanitation (Ret)
Trustee Shri SubshashPalekar Natural Farming Scientist and recipient India’s highest civilian award
Trustee Ebony Kirkland, PhD Philanthropist and Woman Rights Activist
Trustee Narasimha Nakshathri Pioneer and a distinguished professional in the fields of agriculture and cooperative development.

Project Development Teams

The Vihara Foundation’s teams design projects and programs to deliver meaningful impact-of-scale for the cause of humanity and protection of planet. Our experts and specialists makeup several teams steering and advising dynamic project development in support of causes and initiatives comprising five key areas:

  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Climate Mitigation/Climate Adaption
  • Creative Development Financing (Financing for Development)
  • Sustainable Economic Diversification (for communities prone to poverty)
  • Natural Disaster Planning and Relief

Projects are managed by these strategic development and planning teams and are involved in the day-to-day planning, decision-making and execution for steering projects towards implementation.

Global Poverty Team

The Vihar Poverty Project Team (Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, India)

The Global Poverty Team is made up of strategic advisers of various expertise spread across the globe, and a ground implementation team at the project levels in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, India. Team members connect and communicate virtually, and on occasions meet face to face at the project level. The advisory team works in collaboration with the ground team to advance the agenda of farmers and women empowerment in sync with community empowerment and overall need for social, economic, and environmental sustainable development.

The Global Poverty Team includes:

Project Chair (Caribbean) Byron Blake Economic and Development Advisory
Project Lead (USA) Dennis Ramdahin Master Planner and Project Coordinator
Project Advisor (India) Gouri Sankar Ghosh, PhD Water & Sanitation, and Political Coordination
Project Advisor (India) Shri SubshashPalekar Natural Farming Lead
Project Advisor (Australia) Peter Andrews Landscape and biodiversity rejuvenation and groundwater replenishment
Project Advisor (Australia) Ron Blankenforth Renewable Energy Coordinator
Project Advisor (USA) Joanie Klar Social Architect
Project Administrator (India) Shivani Shrivastra Social Advocate and Journalist
Project Administrator (London) Rakesh Sinha Policy Coordinator
Project Coordinator (Ballia, India) Vinod Tiwari Ground Implementation Director
Project Coordinator (Ballia, India) Vijay Sankar Tiwari Farmer Cooperative Implementation Director
Project Advocate (India) Vivendra Dubey, Ph.D Development Communication
Economic & Marketing Modelling (USA) Erick Rengifo Minaya, Ph.D. Economist, Fordham University New York, Center for International Policy Studies
Hydrology & Ground-water Advisor (USA) Urapam Lall, Ph.D Senior Hydrological Researcher, Columbia University, Earth Institute
Hydro-geology Advisor (Canada) Diane Germain, Ph.D Senior Hydro-geologist, Engineers without Borders
Soil Physics Advisor (India) Partho Sarathi Pal Rice Cultivation, Irrigation, Instrumentations and Controls Specialist
Senior Agronomist (Cambodia) John Muir Rice Cultivation and horticulture

A Ground Implementation Team (the farming stakeholders, owners and managers of the project) comprise of a dedicated group of college educated village youths, small farmers, large farmers, village leaders and advocates, women, women leaders, and experienced industry professionals (lawyers, economists, doctors, engineers, etc). The project provides a common platform for all to engage and support the common cause for development and poverty alleviation.

The Ground Implementation Team in India, has been in existence since the project founding in April 2009 and comprise key impetus for  the cause for poverty alleviation at the village level; the ground team works with the strategic purpose of building community relations and project confidence in India to advance the Vihar Poverty Project’s whole-system-design and beta-testing (in the field).

In Picture: Key members of the Ground Implementation Team of the Vihar Poverty Project, Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, India. Dennis Ramdahin, (center middle back); Vinod Tiwari, Ground Implementation Coordinator (stooping).

Climate Mitigation Team

Super Energy Efficient Building Initiative for Climate Action (SEEBICATM)

The Super Energy Efficient Building Initiative for Climate Action (SEEBICATM) is a work-in-progress urban residential housing retrofit program (1-4 family) being designed to achieve scalable community energy efficiency and renewable energy in New York City. The project is being driven by Vihara Foundation’s Founder Dennis Ramdahin’s almost 15 years of work in building energy efficiency and renewable energy, and is geared to demonstrate the practical application of scalable building retrofitting in urban cities for achieving energy efficiency, renewable energy, and significant carbon emissions reduction. This project aims to achieve setting up a training institute in New York City, that would provide training of contractors and quality control inspectors to deliver state-of-the-art super energy efficient (at least 75 percent energy efficiency above base) to net-zero buildings for both retrofits and new construction.

Project Lead(USA) Dennis Ramdahin Master Planner and Project Coordinator
Community Lead Frank Hurley Political Advisor, Crown Heights Community, Brooklyn
Federal Housing Advisor Ebony Kirkland, PhD Political Advisor
Green Architect(India) Sanjay Murkerjee Eco-community buildings and housing development
Historic Preservationist Juan Blanco Ruiz, RA Green architecture and green energy

Energy-Economic-Carbon Financial Risk Management Decision Making Tool – Total Life Cycle Valuation (TLCv)

Considered the key research that gave the driving force to create the Vihara Foundation, research continues to be advanced to create a software tool using “Energy-Economic-Carbon Risk Management Financial Decision-making” in support of providing a simplified mechanism by which to valuate “energy efficiency investment risks” in large building and infrastructure projects.

(TLCv is also being applied in the Vihar Poverty Project design to devise creative development financing policy for farming sector).

Currently, the team comprises:

Project Lead(USA) Dennis Ramdahin TLCv Developer
Financial Engineering Advisor Raymond Myrthil, PhD Finance Architect
Data Analytics Naveen Goud, PhD Programmer and Coder
Data Analyst Agustin Antwi, ABD Data Programmer

Rock against Poverty/ Creative Development Fundraising Teams

Rock against PovertyTM (RaP) creative development fundraising drive is lead by a team comprising events management experts, music industry experts, business management strategists, and other stakeholders who believe in using the basis of the people to support the cause of planet and humanity.

To date RaP has teamed with UNESCO NYS Chapter (2013-2014), has engaged the advisory of the Jimi Hendrix Foundation, and has teamed with Metavent (an Australia Technology Startup). This team is steered by RaP Founder Dennis Ramdahin, and comprise many others positioned in US, India, and Australia.

Project Lead(USA) Dennis Ramdahin, MSc Founder and Strategic Developer Advisor
Chief Technology Officer Naveen Goud, PhD Data Analytics
Strategic Business Development Coordinator (USA) Dale Stephens Honorary Co-Founder
Strategic Business Development Coordinator (Australia) Ron Blankenforth RaP Project Coordinator
Virtual Reality Event Master Planner Joel de Ross Metavents and Future Music Industries
Legal Counsel Graeme Little RaP Legal Advisory