Nipun Mehta

Nipun Mehta is the founder of, 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

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.

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 a 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.”

The Gift Economy | Generosity 2.0


My wife and I were on a walking pilgrimage in a sparsely populated region of Western India when we were approached by a radiant villager. “I would like to offer you a meal,” he said, “Will you accept my offering?” When we gladly agreed he added, “We don’t have any running water or electricity in our small hut. Our family is poor but we like to give from whatever we have.”