Joshua Patel
Joshua Patel

Indian American joins Tyler Clementi Foundation to expand its reach.

Indian American LGBTQ rights activist Joshua Patel has been appointed as Director of Development at the Tyler Clementi Foundation with a mission to end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities.

“We look forward to welcoming Josh to our team. Given today’s political climate paired with the emotional toll of the pandemic, there is a great need for positive reinforcement,” Founder and CEO, Jane Clementi stated.

“His role will allow the foundation to expand its reach – inspiring more teachers, families, employers and faith leaders to prevent bullying nationwide,” he added in a media release.

“I am thrilled about the opportunity to raise awareness for programming that will eradicate bullying in schools, workplace and faith communities,” Patel stated.

“As one who has fought to combat homophobia in the Indian community, I view this opportunity as a platform to improve the lives of many like me.”

Patel started his philanthropic career in 2011, as an intern for the Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign.

The success of the ballot committee led him to supreme courts steps as he assisted the Human Rights Campaign’s Major Gifts department, the release said.

Following the fight for nationwide marriage equality, he joined the American India Foundation where he led various development, event planning, and communications initiatives.

In March of 2018, Patel’s event titled “Equality in India,” held at the historic Stonewall Inn, served as the first fundraiser in the US to benefit India’s LGBTQ community.

Six months following the event, India’s Supreme Court repealed the archaic section 377 which made sexual behavior “against the order of nature” illegal and punishable by imprisonment, the release noted.

Patel attributes his time spent with influential leaders such as Mastercard’s Ajay Banga, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, and Super Bowl Champion Brendon Ayanbadejo as the inspiration to continue searching for innovation in his fundraising efforts.

Patel received a BA in Communication Studies and a Certificate in LGBT Studies from the University of Maryland. In addition, he holds a Masters Certificate in Global Philanthropy from New York University.

The Tyler Clementi Foundation was founded by the Clementi family to prevent bullying through inclusion and the assertion of dignity and acceptance as a way to honor the memory of Tyler: a son, a brother, and a friend, according to the media release.

In 2010, Tyler’s death became a global news story, highlighting the impact and consequences of bullying, while sparking dialogue amongst parents, teachers, and students across the country.

His story also linked broader issues impacting youth and families, such as LGBT inequality, safety in schools, youth in crisis, higher education support systems, and cyberbullying.

In 2011, The Tyler Clementi Foundation was born out of the urgent need to address these bullying challenges facing vulnerable populations, especially LGBT communities and other victims of hostile social environments.

“Through programs such as #Day1, which provides free downloadable toolkits customized for different communities, the foundation encourages leadership to create safe spaces where individuals move from being bystanders to Upstanders who embrace diversity,” the release stated.