Uka and Nalini Solanki
The Yadunandan Center for India Studies was formally inaugurated in 2005 by a generous donation from the Uka and Nalini Solanki Foundation. The center is named after Nalini Solanki’s great-great grandfather, an early advocate of education in northern India. The $500,000 endowment from the Solanki family also helped establish the Uka and Nalini Solanki Lecture Series, an annual event which brings a well-known scholar in the field of India studies to the CSULB campus.
Mr. Uka Solanki, president and CEO of Big Saver Foods, Inc., is a strong supporter of educational and medical charity activities. He has been associated with charitable and community services in India, the United States, as well as other countries. The Solanki philanthropy has helped provide medical attention to those in need, and donated funds for earthquake victims. The foundation has also established a girl’s school in the city of Junagadh in Gujarat, India. The Nalini Solanki-Chatralay School now educates more than 1,200 girls each year and a facility next door provides girls with disabilities the services they need to be able to attend school and to function better in everyday life.
Mr. Solanki’s business leadership as well as philanthropic efforts has earned him much recognition. A board member of the Mexican American Grocers Association (MAGA), he was awarded the Raul Macias Memorial Award in 1998. His success in the grocery business and his community service efforts earned him Progressive Grocer’s 2001 “Grocer of the Year” award. In 2002, Mr. Solanki was voted “Entrepreneur of the Year” for the greater Los Angeles area by Ernst & Young, and was named Man of the Year in 2003 by the San Gabriel Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, he is the recipient of Rotary International’s distinguished Paul Harris Award honoring his community leadership and involvement.
The Uka and Nalini Solanki Foundation’s donation to the College of Liberal Arts at California State University, Long Beach is an endeavor to help bring greater recognition to India studies by establishing a regional center. Mr. Solanki is also the founding president of the Indian Council for the Advancement of Education in India, and the founder, president and patron donor of the Sardar Patel Award at UCLA.