Meet Our Staff


Sushmita Gelda

Associate Director & Senior Grant Writer
Hometown: Syracuse, NY

Sushmita is passionate about nonprofit work and international development. Prior to working at Elevate, she taught English literature and creative writing as a Fulbright Scholar in India. She also volunteered as a content writer for Tiljala SHED, a nonprofit dedicated to uplifting the lives of rag pickers in Kolkata, West Bengal. Seeing the positive impact that well-written proposals and grants could have inspired her to continue building her career in nonprofit development.

Sushmita earned a BA in English from the University at Buffalo. During college, she enjoyed working as a writing consultant because it taught her how to guide writers from a variety of academic disciplines. She also led a pen pal program between students at the Buffalo Public Schools and students studying at a nonprofit in India.

When she’s not at Elevate, you can find her exploring the city, listening to podcasts, or relaxing with a cup of tea. Sushmita also loves writing snippets of conversation and dialogue and is likely to remember almost anything you say to her.

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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