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Sushmita “Nanu” Gelda

Associate Director & Senior Grant Writer
Hometown: Syracuse, NY

Sushmita, who goes by her nickname, Nanu, joined Elevate as a Grant Writer in 2018. During her time at Elevate, she has helped her clients build sustainable grant programs through her strong project management and technical writing skills. Nanu works with a wide range of both direct service and advocacy organizations, including nonprofits that focus on health, addiction recovery, housing, youth development, and investigative journalism.

Prior to joining Elevate, Nanu spent a year teaching literature and creative writing as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Calcutta, India. She also volunteered as a content writer at Tiljala SHED, a Calcutta-based nonprofit that provides educational services and financial aid to ragpickers (waste collectors).

Nanu graduated from the University at Buffalo with a BA in English. Outside of her coursework, she enjoyed working as a writing tutor on campus and volunteering as a science tutor at a local middle school.

On the weekends, you can find her exploring the city, trying new recipes, or relaxing with a cup of tea. When she’s not writing grants, she also enjoys writing prose and poetry on her blog, Aksharbet.

What is your hidden talent?

I'm great at unscrambling words. When I was a kid, I used to do the "Jumble" puzzle in the Sunday paper with my Dad. We'd spend hours trying to unscramble the words. Now I can usually do it in less than a few minutes.

What punctuation mark would you be and why?

I would be the em dash because I love connecting ideas and addressing the nuances of an argument. The em dash achieves this without disrupting the flow of a sentence or paragraph. I also love the em dash because it is versatile and can make writing sound less like writing and more like speech.

What is your favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

Going to a community event or exploring a part of the city that I haven't been to before.

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