Gift of iPads Supports APJ Academy Students During Pandemic

Aura and Jump Ventures founder and CEO Hari Ravichandran is a longtime supporter of Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ).

Through its Academy for Peace & Justice and other efforts, the organization works to build and enhance the educational infrastructure in Haiti, one of the world’s most under-resourced nations. Through his Ravichandran Foundation, Hari Ravichandran made a contribution of $250,000 to APJ in 2018. The contribution funded the construction of a much-needed science lab at the Academy.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has continued to support vital programs for the organization. Funding from Mr. Ravichandran was recently used to donate 125 iPads to students at the Academy for Peace & Justice. The school has acknowledged his long-standing support with a plaque next to one of its classrooms, and a group of students recorded a special “thank you” video in February 2021.

This gift of mobile technology during a time of widespread disruption of educational routines is particularly meaningful. The iPads keep students connected to regular classwork and their support networks of teachers and fellow students. In addition to this donation, the APJ team is in regular contact with the academy’s headmaster to follow up on other emerging needs as the pandemic continues.

Fighting inequality through education

The mission of APJ is both simple and comprehensive: to alleviate the effects of global poverty while fostering systems that contribute to social justice and lasting peace. Particularly focused on Haiti, APJ currently runs programs that provide high-quality educational and job-training opportunities in creative fields to some of the Caribbean island nation’s poorest communities.

The Academy for Peace & Justice is a secondary school located on a seven-acre site in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. The school came about after the devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the country in January 2010. The earthquake, and the humanitarian crisis it escalated, were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the near-razing of Port-au-Prince. In the aftermath, APJ focused not only on supporting immediate disaster relief, but also on the long-term goal of supporting education in the country.

Built to provide a safe, nurturing haven following one disaster, the Academy for Peace & Justice continues to support students during the present pandemic crisis. The school serves a current enrollment of around 3,500 students.

In addition, the school focuses on identifying and working with some of Port-Au-Prince’s most at-risk and struggling young people in need of a strong educational program for their middle and high school years. Its success represents a notable accomplishment, given that most of Haiti’s students are unable to continue their schooling beyond about the fifth grade.

A future and a refuge

A video tribute to APJ’s work features moving personal testimonials from some of the students who have seen their lives and futures transformed by their attendance at the Academy for Peace & Justice. One young man, William, remembered his deep sorrow after his father was murdered when he was only seven years old. William’s mother died when he was 10. Struggling to come to terms with this double loss, he found a safe and welcoming home, thanks to APJ.

William and his brother have cultivated their passion and skill as musicians, and the two have plans to use their musical gifts to improve life in Haiti. The brothers have even composed a song in honor of their parents, inspired by the strength they’ve given each other.

“The school is our future,” William says in the video. “It is our refuge.”

APJ’s leaders and members believe that young people everywhere have the right to enjoy the liberty to build and create, to fashion meaningful lives for themselves and their families, and to take advantage of equal opportunities for learning and growth.

Powered by innovation and creativity

The related APJ Artists Institute offers technical support and professional-level job training to young adults in Haiti’s music and film production industry.

Located in the southern coastal city of Jacmel, the Institute is equipped with video editing and audio recording facilities, and serves as a welcoming haven for creative young people striving to fulfill their artistic vision. The institute’s graduates often go on to command salaries many times higher than Haiti’s typical annual income, helping in this way to build both individual and national generational wealth. Among other awards and recognitions, the Institute won an Emmy Award in 2014.

APJ’s other programs include Brilliant Is Beautiful, which offers life-changing scholarships and professional development opportunities to about 1,500 girls and women in Haiti. The organization is working to grow this program beyond Haiti’s borders by forging partnerships with groups working on the ground in Uganda, Pakistan, and Peru.

A wide network of support from creative professionals

A range of celebrities, activists, business leaders, and other accomplished arts professionals support the organization, and many have stayed committed to its work for more than a decade. In a single Festival Gala in September 2019, APJ raised more than $1 million to support its work in Haiti.

Operating on the belief that each person is endowed with the creative spirit and power to improve the world, APJ continues to bring its collective voice and strength to the hard work of long-lasting change. To learn more, or to donate, please see

Featured Image courtesy Artists for Peace and Justice

Jump Ventures CFO Blake Cunneen and CURE

A Chicago-based financial executive with experience leading top-performing companies, Blake Cunneen serves as chief financial officer (CFO) of Jump Ventures and as head of the firm’s mergers and acquisitions initiatives. His professional activities also include serving as CFO of digital security company iSubscribed. While Blake is focused on advancing his career and the work of the companies he serves, he also dedicates much of his time and resources to raising awareness and funding for patient-focused epilepsy research.

Blake CuneenBlake’s drive to improve treatments and, ultimately, find a cure for epilepsy is very personal. In 2010, his daughter, Ella, was diagnosed with the neurological disorder, which currently affects more than 65 million people worldwide. Throughout her childhood, Ella has continued to battle epilepsy, experiencing multiple seizures a week. With his daughter as his inspiration, Blake leverages his financial expertise and business acumen to advance the work of epilepsy-focused organizations.

In addition to serving as vice-chair of the Neurosciences Committee at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Blake is a member of the board of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) where he chairs the governance committee.

A top philanthropic partner of the Ravichandran Foundation, CURE stands out as the leading nongovernmental organization focused on advancing epilepsy research. Since it launched in 1998, the group has raised over $60 million for research projects and other initiatives in 15 countries. Today, CURE oversees several research programs while serving as a valuable resource for patients and their families.


A Look at CURE’s Research Initiatives

Under the guidance of national staff members, scientific advisors, and board members like Blake Cunneen, CURE continues to lead the way in epilepsy research. Today, the organization conducts four signature research programs. Here’s a closer look at each one:


  • Epilepsy Genetics Initiative (EGI)

Launched to improve the understanding of epilepsy’s genetic causes, EGI collects and analyzes genetic data of people with epilepsy and makes that data available to researchers. One of the main goals of the initiative is to advance precision medicine in epilepsy while bridging the gap between epilepsy patients, researchers, and clinicians.


  • Post-Traumatic Epilepsy Initiative

CURE’s work in the area of post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) is supported by several academic institutions as well as the US Department of Defense, which provided a $10 million grant to advance CURE’s PTE research program. The goal of the research is to broaden the understanding of how PTE develops in some individuals following traumatic brain injury.


  • Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) Program

Since 2004, CURE has been supporting research into SUDEP, which is a relatively rare but devastating consequence of epilepsy. To help advance the understanding of SUDEP and find ways to prevent the phenomenon, CURE has awarded more than $4 million in grants and collaborated with over three dozen researchers. The organization also works with government agencies to increase SUDEP research on the federal level.


  • Infantile Spasms Initiative

A rare and severe form of epilepsy, infantile spasms typically occur in the first year of a child’s life and can lead to developmental delays as well as other cognitive and physical issues. Through this program, CURE is funding research to understand the mechanisms of the disorder and develop ways to treat it.


Patient Programs and Resources at CURE

Blake Cunneen and others affected by epilepsy understand how important it is to stay informed of the latest advancements in epilepsy treatments and research. Through his work with CURE, Blake helps guide a nonprofit organization that provides a variety of self-education resources. These resources include online guides on topics ranging from epilepsy diagnosis and therapies to seizure types and phases.

Visitors to the CURE website can also find information about doctors and medical centers in their area that specialize in the treatment of epilepsy. Additionally, the site features a directory of epilepsy clinical trials examining the latest medications and therapies for the disorder. Registering on the site also gives visitors the opportunity to receive news about epilepsy treatments, research, and discoveries directly to their e-mail inbox.

Other patient programs and resources at CURE include the Seizing Life podcast and videocast, which feature helpful stories on living with epilepsy. Throughout the year, CURE also hosts webinars on various topics. Past webinars have discussed epilepsy surgery, dietary therapies, and rescue medications. The free webinar series can be accessed at


Top Ways to Support CURE’s Work

Those who would like to join Blake Cunneen in supporting and advancing CURE’s important work can get involved with the organization in several ways.

In addition to accepting one-time and recurring donations online, CURE oversees workplace, corporate, and planned giving programs. The nonprofit organization also welcomes matching gifts and donations of securities.

Beyond giving financially, CURE supporters can help the organization by becoming a CURE Champion. Cure Champions work nationwide to raise funds and awareness for epilepsy by hosting and/or participating in a variety of events, including activities such as Ella’s Race, golf outings, bake sales, and art exhibitions. CURE even offers its CURE Champion Toolkit to help supporters get started with their fundraising campaigns.

Another easy way to get involved is by attending a CURE event. The group and its supporters host activities throughout the country. Currently, Blake and other supporters in the Chicago area are looking ahead to the CURE 2019 Annual Chicago Benefit. Tickets and sponsorship packages are currently on sale for the event, which will take place Monday, November 18, 2019, at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Learn more by visiting

Hari Ravichandran Donates $250,000 to Artists for Peace and Justice

Gift will underwrite building a Science laboratory at the Academy for Peace and Justice in Haiti

Hari Ravichandran attends the Artists For Peace And Justice Festival Gala 2018

Jackson Browne, Hari Ravichandran, Drew Scott, Linda Phan, Jonathan Scott and Natasha Koifman attend the Artists For Peace And Justice Festival Gala 2018 Presented By BOVET at Windsor Arms Hotel on September 8, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Ryan Emberley/Getty Images for Artists for Peace and Justice Canada)

Hari Ravichandran attends Artists for Peace and Justice Festival Gala 2018

Hari Ravichandran attends the Artists For Peace And Justice Festival Gala 2018 Presented By BOVET at Windsor Arms Hotel on September 8, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Ryan Emberley/Getty Images for Artists for Peace and Justice Canada)

BOSTON, MA (September 10, 2018) – Hari Ravichandran, the CEO and Founder of Jump Ventures, a scalability infusion firm, today announced the Ravichandran Foundation donation of $250,000 USD ($330,000 CAD) to benefit Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) and their mission to encourage peace and social justice, working to alleviate poverty around the world. The organization’s immediate efforts serve the poorest communities in Haiti with programs in education and training in creative industries, while expanding the reach globally by partnering with effective local organizations to give young women access to quality education.

The Ravichandran grant will directly fund the Science laboratory at the Academy for Peace and Justice, which was established after the devastating 2010 earthquake that affected Haiti. The Academy is the only middle and secondary school of its kind in Haiti, providing an education to the poorest and most deserving youth in the city of Port-au-Prince, most of whom can’t afford to attend school after the 5th grade. The 3,700 capacity Academy, where all students receive a scholarship, will have a state of the art science facility where students will be able to study biology, physics, chemistry and geology.

“This grant is an investment in the future leaders of Haiti,” said Hari Ravichandran. “It is my sincere hope that the ability to embrace education, particularly the study of science, will empower these students to achieve all their dreams and goals.”

Group photo with Natasha Koifman, Jackson Browne, Susan Sarandon, Ben Stiller, Hari Ravichandran, Jonathan Scott, Drew Scott and Linda Phan

Natasha Koifman, Jackson Browne, Susan Sarandon, Ben Stiller, Hari Ravichandran, Jonathan Scott, Drew Scott and Linda Phan attend the Artists For Peace And Justice Festival Gala 2018 Presented By BOVET at Windsor Arms Hotel on September 8, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Ryan Emberley/Getty Images for Artists for Peace and Justice Canada)

“This is an extraordinary gift from Hari and the Ravichandran Foundation that affords our students a real hands-on opportunity to really explore and dig and find their personal passion within science. We have budding doctors and engineers in our student body who will embrace this lab as their own private sanctuary and never want to leave,” said Artists for Peace and Justice CEO, Marchelle L. Sellers.

The Ravichandran gift was announced at the 2018 APJ Festival Gala held during the Toronto International Film Festival where individuals who are committed to making a difference in their own communities and abroad are recognized. A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Harry Belafonte via video conference for his lifetime of activism and commitment to peace and social justice around the world. Drew Scott and Jonathon Scott received the 2018 Peace and Justice Award for their global work.

About the Ravichandran Foundation

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the Ravichandran Foundation is a philanthropic organization founded by Hari Ravichandran, a technology entrepreneur and the CEO and Founder of Jump Ventures, a scalability infusion firm. The foundation is committed to improving health, promoting education and empowering youth locally and globally. For more information visit:

About Artists for Peace and Justice

Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) is a non-profit organization that encourages peace and social justice and addresses issues of poverty around the world. APJ’s immediate goal is to serve the poorest communities in Haiti with programs in education, healthcare, and dignity through the arts. The organization is committed to long-term, sustainable development in direct partnership with the Haitian people. The model is simple: APJ believes in empowering local communities, fostering economic growth, and the power of education to change a nation. APJ is based in New York; Marchelle Sellers serves as its CEO. To learn more, visit or follow @artistsforpeace on Instagram and Twitter.

# # #

Media Contacts:

Lark-Marie Antón                                                                  Marchelle L. Sellers
The Ravichandran Foundation                                           Artists for Peace and Justice
(781) 552-3259                                                                      (646) 398-7804              

Click to read PDF of APJ Ravichandran Foundation Press Release.

Hari Ravichandran Launches Foundation

Hari Ravichandran Launches Foundation With Inaugural Gift To Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE)

$150,000 Commitment in Support of 20th Annual Benefit and ‘Taking Flight’ Research Award

BOSTON, MA (August 16, 2018) – Hari Ravichandran, the CEO and Founder of Jump Ventures, a scalability infusion firm, today launched the Ravichandran Foundation by announcing its first financial commitment of $150,000 to benefit Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) and their initiatives to find a cure for epilepsy.

For 20 years, CURE has been at the forefront of the dramatic shift in the epilepsy research community from simply treating seizures to enhancing understanding of underlying mechanisms and causes, so that cures and preventative strategies can be found. CURE’s research program is cutting-edge, dynamic and responsive to new scientific opportunities and directions through both investigator-initiated grants and unprecedented scientific programs and initiatives.

“The Ravichandran Foundation is dedicated to ensuring we make meaningful contributions that enable the communities where we live and work to thrive by improving health, promoting education and empowering youth locally and globally,” said Hari Ravichandran. “Our goal is to make contributions that also leave a legacy of positive social impact. I can’t think of a better way to do that, than by supporting the efforts of young researchers and their mission to find a cure for epilepsy.”

The Ravichandran gift will directly support CURE’s ‘Taking Flight’ research award which facilitates a promising epilepsy research project and promotes the career of a young epilepsy investigator, allowing them to develop a research focus independent of their mentor(s).

“As CURE prepares to recognize the advancements made by epilepsy researchers over the past 20 years, I’m reminded that many of them were initially recipients of a CURE Taking Flight Award. So, I’m very grateful to Hari for his generosity and foresight in funding a next generation researcher whose research could be groundbreaking. Funding young researchers inspires them to devote their careers to studying epilepsy and is crucial to our pipeline of emerging discoveries,” said CURE founder Susan Axelrod.

This contribution will also sponsor CURE’s 20th Annual Benefit, which will be held in Chicago on October 15, 2018 at Navy Pier. The CURE Benefit will showcase the organization’s 20 years of impact and emerging discoveries.

About the Ravichandran Family Foundation

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the Ravichandran Foundation is a philanthropic organization founded by Hari Ravichandran, a technology entrepreneur and the CEO and Founder of Jump Ventures, a scalability infusion firm. The foundation is committed to improving health, promoting education and empowering youth locally and globally. For more information visit:

About CURE

The mission of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) is to find a cure for epilepsy, by promoting and funding patient-focused research.  Since its inception in 1998, CURE has raised over $50 million to advance its goal of no seizures and no side effects. To date, CURE has awarded more than 220 cutting-edge research projects in 15 countries around the world. CURE is the leading non-governmental agency fully committed to funding research in epilepsy. For information about CURE, please visit our website at: or contact us at:

# # #

Media Contacts:

Lark-Marie Anton
Ravichandran Foundation
(781) 552-3259

Michael Organ
(312) 255-1801

Click here to view PDF: Ravichandran Foundation CURE Press Release