SikhLEAD: Support Leadership Development for Sikh Youth

A project of SALDEF
Kiran Kaur Gill
Washington, Washington D.C., US
$3,474pledged of $50,000 goal
$3,474goal: $50,000
Yes tax deductible
Ongoingannual goal

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How many Sikh American leaders can you name in the US government?

Currently,  there are only around 30 Sikh elected officials throughout the country primarily at the state and local level – no match for the sizable population of 500,000 Sikhs in America. 

In response to the lack of Sikh representation in the American government, the SikhLEAD Initiative was created to develop the next generation of transformational Sikh American leaders.

Our Internship Program

For 12 years, the SikhLEAD Internship program has recruited over 400 diverse young leaders from 29 states. These leaders make a difference from serving as a trial attorney at the US Department of Justice to a second lieutenant in the US Air Force. 

From SikhLEAD alumni who served as the Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice to recent alumni serving on staff at Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Office, SikhLEAD continues to build the pipeline of future Sikh leaders and public servants.

Not only does this Summer Internship program expose Sikh youth to careers in government, but the program also benefits legislators who, through the Sikh interns, are able to connect with the Sikh community in their area and address community issues such as hate crimes and misrepresentation.

Support the Next Generation of Sikh American Leaders

Your donation will support the next generation of Sikh American leaders as we prepare to welcome our 2023 SikhLEAD DC & Regional cohorts this summer. Plus, DONATIONS TO THIS EFFORT ARE BEING MATCHED DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR!"

“The SikhLEAD program has given me the chance to work with a member of the legislative assembly and gain so much experience.  I want to continue on this pathway and study criminal justice and public policy. This internship with Assemblyman Benson helped me to navigate this pathway. I want to give back to my community and be able to help the nation while representing my Sikh identity.” - Jasraj Baweja, SikhLEAD Intern

Thank you for your continued support and be sure to check out our recent updates and photos! 

  • 10/11/2023

    SikhLEAD Internship Update

    We are proud to announce our successful wrap up of SikhLEAD Regional 2023 Summer Program, which ran from June 10 - Aug 12! This year, our program entailed a few firsts: 

    Kickstarting with a Parent orientation
    Seva project: Seva Clinics, through the collaboration of Sikh Health Network (SHN)
    In-person Interfaith Workshop with Harmeet Kamboj, Programs Manager at Interfaith America

    Our cohort members interviewed, matched, and worked at prestigious Internships, from Sikh partner organizations such as: Sikh American Veterans Alliance (SAVA),  your own Dasvandh Network (DVN), and Colorado Sikhs, to diverse partner organizations such as: APIAVote and International Religious Freedom (IRF), as well as prominent offices of members like: Senator Manka Dhingra, Bob Menendez, and Josh Harder, even interning within our own SALDEF-specific departments.

    Throughout our Summer programming, our Cohort had the pleasure of listening and asking questions to the following prominent speakers: Dr. Simran Jeet Singh of Aspen Institute, Kulvir Singh - SikhRI, the Sikh American History Project Co-founders - Dr. Amrita Deol and Tejpaul Bainiwal, Sikh Elected Officials Panel, while facilitating and presenting on their own chosen topics and completing the program with Internship and Seva Project presentations. 

    As mentioned previously, the Seva project Clinic work was so impactful that we are now receiving interest from other cities/states to start these free Health clinics. Currently there are a total of 9 clinics across the US that SHN is successfully running: 

    - 6 Gurdwaras in California: Fremont, Tracy, Milpitas, Fresno, Sacramento, and El Sobrante

    - 1 Gurdwara in Oregon: Salem

    - 1 Gurdwara in North Carolina: Charlotte

    - 1 Gurdwara in Florida: Oviedo.

    Most recently, one of our SikhLEAD Regional 2023 Program graduates - Khushi Pannu will be serving as a board member on the SHN team, onboarding clinics in high needs areas within California which is truly a testament to our success this year!

    We look forward to planning our SikhLEAD Regional 2024 Summer Program, with the theme of Sikhi-Inspired Leadership. Thank you for your continued support.

  • 07/25/2023

    Q2 Update - SALDEF's SikhLEAD DC & Regional

    During the second quarter, the primary focus of the SikhLEAD program was Internship placements of all the SikhLEADers. The Programs team worked with the candidates individually to polish resumes and cover letters, as well as to go over interview skills. The main goal was to ensure that the students were able to apply and attain Internships that held personal and professional interest to them. The Internships for this year to name a few range from Sen Schumer in DC, CAPAL, APIAVote, Becket Law firm, Parliament of World's Religions, State Senators & US State Reps offices to Sikh American organizations like SAVA (Sikh American Veterans Alliance), Colorado Sikhs, Dasvandh Network, Sikh American History Project. A few Interns are also interning with the SALDEF Policy, Communications & Resources departments.

    By June, all SikhLEAD cohort members were placed in Internships with support from the SALDEF Programs team. In addition to placements, a strong emphasis also was placed on creating an engaging event schedule for the SikhLEAD programming. Panels were decided for weekly events and speakers were recruited to join. Some speakers include Harmann Singh, Rubin Paul Singh, and the Sikh Professional Network for the DC cohort and Sikh Elected Officials Panel, SALDEF’s Partners panel, Dr. Simranjeet Singh, Kulvir Singh Gill SikhRI for the Regional cohort

    On the SEVA project side, the DC cohort began working on planning Langar on the Hill and the Regional cohort on SEVA Health Clinics that are free health clinics organized at different Gurdwaras across the country. SALDEF initiated their work with the Sikh Health Network team to train the SikhLEADers to further plan and facilitate these SEVA Clinics with the help of physician and non-physician volunteers. 

    The cohort had their Orientation on June 10th, in-person for the DC cohort and virtual for the Regional cohort, kickstarting the 2023 SikhLEAD Summer Internship Program. 

  • 04/28/2023

    SikhLEAD 2023 Summer Internship DC & Regional

    The first quarter is critical in laying the foundation for the SikhLEAD Summer Internship Program. It allows SALDEF to properly assemble and finalize a cohort of intelligent and passionate students while considering possible offices for their Internship placements and relevant programming. During this quarter, the SikhLEAD 2023 Program recruited a total of 55 candidates, with 46 students participating in the Regional Program and 9 students in the DC program with a representation from 18 different states.  

    The SALDEF team primarily focused on Intern placements for their Summer Internships. We ensured that the Interns applied to a variety of Internships and facilitated this process for them by building new relationships and tapping into the established ones with the different offices. The Internship placements included Congressional offices such as the offices of Senator Schumer, Senator Manka Dhingra, US Rep Rob Wittman, Nonprofits such as APIAVote, CAPAL and the IRF Secretariat..   

    This quarter was also focused on putting together the best of programming for the SikhLEAD 2023 cohort which includes a  blend of professional and faith-based topics. From Sikhi inspired discussions and Leadership/Professional development sessions, to Sikh Elected officials panel to the Power of SALDEF’s Partnerships panel, roughly 20- 25 speakers were secured for the overall SikhLEAD programming this summer. SALDEF also partnered with the Sikh Health Network during this quarter to run Health clinics across the country as a SEVA project for the SikhLEADers. 

    The second quarter will build off the work and planning done in the first quarter by having the Interns begin their Internships and SEVA projects in June alongside participating in the SikhLEAD Program from June 10th - August 12th.

  • 01/26/2023

    SikhLEAD 2023 Summer Internship DC & Regional

    SALDEF's SikhLEAD program is open to all 50 states and provides high school and college
    students with Internships in state and local government as well as with partner
    organizations across the country. This past year SALDEF had over 80 participants in
    the SikhLEAD DC and SikhLEAD Regional Programs. In addition to Internship
    opportunities, the SikhLEAD Internship programs provides students a chance to:
    • Collaborate on Capstone Seva (community service) projects
    • Attend networking events
    • Connect with Mentors
    • Gain professional development through the leadership workshops including
    discussions with Sikh elected officials and Sikh Americans in the White House.

    The SikhLEAD 2023 Summer Internship program is currently accepting applications for this year. The application deadline is January 31st, 2023. 

  • 11/06/2022

    SikhLEAD Interns Return to Capitol Hill

    This summer, the SikhLEAD Regional Internship Program hosted a cohort of 64 Sikh youth from 15 states across the country.  Interns were placed in Regional State Assembly/Senate offices and local offices of Members of Congress/Senators. The interns also attended different speakership series such as Sikh Elected Officials panel, SikhLEAD Alumni panel, and Guru-inspired leadership panel to inspire the young leaders with current Sikh professionals in the field.


    Additionally, this year we were able to return to in-person events for DC SikhLEAD interns! 9 Sikh youth and aspiring professionals At the end of the program, each intern was paid a stipend of $1500 on behalf of SALDEF. The SikhLEAD interns gained professional experience with SALDEF partners at EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), WHIAANAPI (White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders), Senator Schumer, and Senator Blumenthal.

  • 08/08/2022

    SikhLEAD Internship 2022

    The SikhLEAD DC 2022 Internship Program brought together 9 talented students from across the country to intern at our nation’s Capital. Internship placements included the White House, Congress, Senate and EEOC. Interns were able to gain invaluable skills and network with Congressional members including participating in a reception with members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

    SikhLEAD Regional 2022 Internship Program selected 66 students across the nation to participate in the program this summer from June 11th- August 13th. These SikhLEADers were placed in coveted local, state government and partner organization Internships. The program also hosted virtual sessions for the SikhLEADers every Saturday inviting esteemed speakers such as Senator Manka Dhingra, Rep Ranjeev Puri, Councilman Mikey Hothi for Sikh Elected Officials Panel, LTC Kamal Kalsi and Kulvir Singh (SikhRI). In addition to this, professional development sessions were conducted and all the SikhLEADers were connected with Sikh Mentors from their respective fields of career interest to provide them with guidance and mentorship.

  • 09/01/2021

    SALDEF 2021 SikhLEAD Internship Program

    In 2021 we successfully placed 83 SikhLEAD internship participants in various internships all across the country including congressional offices, federal agencies, and Washington, DC-based organizations. The participants also successfully completed 18 seva projects that contributed to the community. In addition, they also received mentorship, attended various workshops and gained many leadership development opportunities throughout the summer. The highlight for many of the SikhLEAD participants this summer was the ability to grow their network with many other young Sikh professionals and students from all across the country.

  • 06/14/2021

    SALDEF 2021 SikhLEAD Internship Program

    In 2021 we have placed 15 students into our Washington DC SikhLEAD Internship program. These students are from 9 states and have internships at the Equal Employment Office, Rep. Illhan Omar, Senator Manka Dhingra, NCAPA, Congressman Thompson, New Heights Communication, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and others.

    Regionally 67 students from 17 states have been placed in internships with multiple assemblymen and assemblywomen, senators, council members, mayors, state representatives, partner organizationsin State legeslative offices and other partner organizations. 

    The SikhLEAD Internship Program also requires students to complete group seva projects, attend leadership development sessions and obtain advise from their mentors. 


  • 03/25/2021

    SALDEF 2021 SikhLEAD Internship Program

    In 2021 we have accepted 15 students to our Washington DC SikhLEAD program and Regionally we have expanded to over 15 states (Including - CA, NY, MI, IL, FL, MD, VA, MA etc). On average, we have enrolled about 5 to 10 students in each state in the regional program.  

    Both the DC and Regional SikhLEAD students are currently under the placement process. Seva projects are also being assigned to them to be delivered during the summer.

Name Donation Date
G. S. $50.00 December 2023
H. S. $50.00 November 2023
Match Fund $101.00 November 2023
yashpal Bains $101.00 November 2023
Match Fund $100.00 November 2023
Jagdeep SINGH $100.00 November 2023
A. M. $33.00 October 2023
H. S. $50.00 October 2023
G. S. $50.00 October 2023
A. M. $33.00 September 2023
H. S. $50.00 September 2023
G. S. $50.00 September 2023
A. M. $33.00 August 2023
H. S. $50.00 August 2023
G. S. $50.00 August 2023
H. S. $50.00 July 2023
G. S. $50.00 July 2023
A. M. $33.00 June 2023
J. K. $10.00 June 2023
H. S. $50.00 June 2023
G. S. $50.00 June 2023
H. S. $50.00 May 2023
G. S. $50.00 May 2023
H. S. $50.00 April 2023
G. S. $50.00 April 2023
Anonymous $500.00 April 2023
H. S. $50.00 March 2023
G. S. $50.00 March 2023
A. M. $33.00 February 2023
J. K. $10.00 February 2023
H. S. $50.00 February 2023
G. S. $50.00 February 2023
A. M. $33.00 January 2023
Anonymous $10.00 January 2023
Anonymous $10.00 January 2023
H. S. $50.00 January 2023
G. S. $50.00 January 2023
A. M. $33.00 January 2023
Gurinder Singh $1,000.00 December 2022
ujagger dhillon $101.00 December 2022
H. S. $50.00 December 2022
G. S. $50.00 December 2022
Anonymous $200.00 November 2022
G. S. $50.00 November 2022
Match Fund $150.00 November 2022
Match Fund $50.00 November 2022
H. S. $50.00 November 2022
ajit Sawhney $500.00 November 2022
Inderpal Singh Gumer $250.00 November 2022
Match Fund $15.00 November 2022
Match Fund $15.00 November 2022
Manjit Reyatt $15.00 November 2022
Match Fund $400.00 November 2022
Match Fund $400.00 November 2022
Gurbux Alag $400.00 November 2022
Match Fund $400.00 November 2022
Match Fund $400.00 November 2022
Puran Alag $400.00 November 2022
Match Fund $400.00 November 2022
Match Fund $400.00 November 2022
Kavneet Alag $400.00 November 2022
G. S. $50.00 October 2022
Amarpreet Singh Malik $33.00 October 2022
G. S. $50.00 September 2022
Match Fund $2,495.00 August 2022
Manjit Singh $2,495.00 August 2022
Match Fund $10.00 August 2022
Anonymous $10.00 August 2022
Match Fund $50.00 August 2022
Gurjeet Singh $50.00 August 2022
Match Fund $1,250.00 August 2022
Gurbux Alag $1,250.00 August 2022
Match Fund $500.00 July 2022
Gurpal Bhuller $500.00 July 2022
Match Fund $50.00 July 2022
Jim Roeder $50.00 July 2022
Match Fund $20.00 July 2022
Anonymous $20.00 July 2022
Match Fund $100.00 July 2022
Narinder Singh $100.00 July 2022
Match Fund $1,000.00 July 2022
Satinder Malhi $1,000.00 July 2022
DAF DVN Administrator $1,000.00 July 2021
Anonymous $100.00 May 2021
Anonymous $101.00 April 2021
N. S. $250.00 November 2020
Match Fund $100.00 November 2020
Guneet Kaur $100.00 November 2020
Match Fund $250.00 November 2020
Arvinder Kaur $250.00 November 2020
Match Fund $250.00 November 2020
Sukhdev Singh $250.00 November 2020
Match Fund $250.00 November 2020
G. A. $250.00 November 2020
Match Fund $100.00 November 2020
Anonymous $100.00 November 2020
Match Fund $250.00 November 2020
Karen Singh $250.00 November 2020
Match Fund $250.00 November 2020
Kavneet Alag $250.00 November 2020
R. K. $50.00 November 2016
N. B. $100.00 November 2016
P. S. $100.00 November 2016
A. S. $101.00 December 2015
M. S. $10.00 November 2015
M. S. $100.00 November 2015
J. B. $500.00 November 2015
M. S. $10.00 September 2015
M. S. $50.00 September 2015
M. S. $10.00 July 2015
M. S. $10.00 May 2015
M. S. $10.00 March 2015
M. S. $15.00 March 2015
M. S. $10.00 January 2015
J. M. $101.00 January 2015
M. S. $10.00 November 2014
M. S. $500.00 November 2014
V. B. $10.00 November 2014
V. B. $10.00 October 2014
M. S. $10.00 September 2014
V. B. $10.00 September 2014
V. B. $10.00 September 2014
V. B. $10.00 August 2014
M. S. $10.00 July 2014
V. B. $10.00 July 2014
M. S. $10.00 May 2014
M. B. $10.00 May 2014
J. K. $10.00 May 2014
V. B. $10.00 May 2014
H. S. $21.00 April 2014
V. B. $10.00 April 2014
M. S. $100.00 March 2014
J. K. $10.00 March 2014
V. B. $10.00 March 2014
M. S. $100.00 February 2014
V. B. $10.00 February 2014
M. S. $100.00 January 2014
J. K. $10.00 January 2014
V. B. $10.00 January 2014
H. S. $100.00 December 2013
M. S. $100.00 December 2013
V. B. $10.00 December 2013
H. S. $200.00 November 2013
P. S. $40.00 November 2013
G. S. $50.00 November 2013
H. S. $200.00 November 2013
D. M. $110.00 November 2013
B. G. $100.00 November 2013
J. K. $10.00 November 2013
D. M. $500.00 November 2013
H. K. $500.00 November 2013
D. M. $1,000.00 November 2013
M. A. $500.00 November 2013
J. A. $500.00 November 2013
D. M. $550.00 November 2013
J. A. $500.00 November 2013
M. S. $50.00 November 2013
D. M. $500.00 November 2013
G. A. $500.00 November 2013
M. S. $50.00 November 2013
V. B. $10.00 November 2013
V. B. $10.00 October 2013
J. K. $10.00 September 2013
M. S. $50.00 September 2013
V. B. $10.00 September 2013
V. B. $10.00 August 2013
J. K. $10.00 July 2013
M. S. $50.00 July 2013
V. B. $10.00 July 2013
V. B. $10.00 June 2013
J. K. $10.00 May 2013
V. B. $10.00 May 2013
V. B. $10.00 April 2013
J. K. $10.00 March 2013
V. B. $10.00 March 2013
V. B. $10.00 February 2013
J. K. $10.00 January 2013
J. S. $10.00 January 2013
V. B. $10.00 January 2013
M. D. $100.00 December 2012
V. B. $10.00 December 2012
V. B. $10.00 November 2012
V. B. $10.00 October 2012
M. S. $50.00 September 2012
V. B. $10.00 September 2012
H. S. $25.00 May 2012
I. S. $117.39 March 2012
I. S. $50.00 February 2012