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How We Were Founded

The inspiration for creating The Elevator Project was the culmination of the experiences Sejal Makheja had when she and her family went to a soup kitchen in Washington, D.C. Makheja met a man named Juan who shared the immense struggles of living in poverty that he had experienced his entire life. He shared that the reason he was unable to get a full-time, well-waging job opportunity was because employers refused to hire those with minimal education and minimal skill attainment.

Sejal and her family helped Juan get the training he needed; a shadowing opportunity with a local electrician and classes in construction management. After completing his vocational training course and receiving a certification of completion, Juan was able to secure a full time job with a management company that was going to pay him enough to - for the first time in his life - come out of poverty. Sejal's theory had worked.

It was with this life changing experience that Makheja worked to craft several programs that would serve as the catalyst of The Elevator Project's core focus and structure. When it came time to name her organization, Sejal took inspiration from the quote, "If you're lucky enough to do well, it is your responsibility to send the elevator back down."


About: Sejal K. Makheja



Sejal K. Makheja, a student at Cornell University, is the co-founder and current CEO of The Elevator Project. Aside from leading operations, raising funds, engaging partners and supporting applicants, she is also aggressively orchestrating the development and implementation of the organization's Affordable Housing Program. 


Sejal also led the organization's focused initiative to build a Special Needs Program after interviewing several applicants. Some applicants shared with her that they had special learning needs that limited their ability and morale to seek higher income job positions. She was determined to help those with disabilities rise out of their current socio-economic status.


Sejal believes that helping others and giving back to her community is not just an act of charity, but an act of justice. Sejal has aspirations to take The Elevator Project to the next level, by making a difference not only in her community, but in the nation, then globally. 

Connect with Sejal


Email | Twitter | LinkedIn

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