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Board of Directors

Dada Maheshvarananda, President: Born 1953 in Philadelphia, USA, during college he was active in the protests against the Vietnam War. In 1978 he traveled to India and Nepal where he became a yogic monk and studied the Progressive Utilization Theory (Prout) under its founder, Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. He has taught meditation and organized for social justice for 14 years in Southeast Asia, three years in Europe and 21 years in Brazil and Venezuela. He is the author of six books, including After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action (InnerWorld, 2013) and Cooperative Games for a Cooperative World: Facilitating Trust, Communication and Spiritual Connection (InnerWorld, 2017). He is co-author with Mirra Price of Tools to Change the World (Proutist Universal – Copenhagen, 2019). He has given hundreds of seminars and workshops around the world at international conferences, colleges, high schools, cooperatives, yoga centers and prisons about social activism and spiritual transformation. He is now the president and director of the Prout Research Institute in Asheville, North Carolina.

Jody Wright, Vice President: She travels internationally as a parent educator and instructor trainer with the International Association of Infant Massage and Infant Massage USA. From 1987-2004, she was president and co-owner of Motherwear Inc., an award-winning catalog and website resource that was listed by Inc Magazine as one of the 500 fastest growing small businesses in the United States. She serves as an acharya in Ananda Marga and the Path of Bliss where she teaches meditation and yogic lifestyle.  She has worked with Prout organizations for over 40 years advocating for progressive social change which elevates human society.

Mark Friedman, Secretary: He has been a student and advocate of Prout for fifty years.  He has taught workshops on Prout and contributed to After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action by Dada Maheshvarananda. Mark served 11.5 years on the El Cerrito City Council including three terms as mayor.  Among major projects he was instrumental in were building a new city hall and renovating the swim center.  He led the passage of strict anti-smoking regulations and the increase in the minimum wage.  He has helped to organize several local public revenue campaigns including local tax measures for a swim center, a library, for expansion of early care and education, and for helping vulnerable residents. Mark Friedman is the CEO of the Eden Health District in Alameda County, a public agency that provides extensive pandemic related services.  He is the past CEO of the Thomas J. Long Foundation where he led a major grants program to East Bay community organizations working in health care, education, seniors, disabilities, and safety net services.  Prior to that he was the CEO of First 5 Alameda County for over 15 years.  First 5 Alameda County is a government agency that provides extensive services to children from birth to age 5 and their families including health care, developmental screening,  mental health, family support, and early care and education.   Mr. Friedman was appointed by then Governor Jerry Brown to chair the California Advisory Council on Early Learning and Care and served two terms as the President of the California Children and Families Association. He also served as co-Chair of Raising California Together. Community boards and advisory bodies he serves include the East Bay Community Foundation where he is the Chair of the Board, Supplybank.org which provides basic needs for children throughout the state, the Oakland Promise cradle to career program, Funding the Next Generation, Ensuring Opportunity,  the Budget Justice Coalition of Contra Costa County, and the California Works Foundation.  He was recently appointed to serve as a trustee of the Alameda Health System, a large system of public hospitals and clinics headquartered in Oakland, California.

Michael Zimmerman: He spent 35 years as a healthcare financial executive and consultant. He represented a broad spectrum of healthcare providers with an interest in smaller community-based systems. He was also a consultant on the nation’s largest health system bankruptcy. His work included finding unique solutions to keep services and jobs in the local community by strengthening relationships between the hospital board of directors, executive team, physicians, nurses, and staff. These challenges included addressing the daily pressures of reduced government and private insurance payments. He has presented nationally and internationally (in Beijing, China and Singaraja, Bali, Indonesia) on a variety of healthcare finance topics. In the late 1980s Michael learned of P. R. Sarkar’s comments regarding monetary policy within Prout. That spurred him on a 34 year journey, including personal research and earning a masters degree in economics, as he developed an understanding of Sarkar’s thoughts regarding that most difficult of topics. Michael is married to Kathy. They have two grown sons.

Shriraksha Mohan: Shriraksha Mohan: Motivated by the social and spiritual philosophies of P.R. Sarkar, she embarked on a Prout journey, first as a student and then as an activist, who realized there is a dire need for systemic changes in the social, economic and cultural spheres of existence to create an equitable and sustainable world. Born and raised in India, she now lives in the United States. She has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science and works as a software professional. As an active member of Prout Alliance and Proutist Universal, she is invested in Prout advocacy to raise socio-economic awareness through Prout education, writing, and outreach efforts on Prout social media. She is the co-author of a chapter in the book, Climate Adaptation: Accounts of Resilience, Self-Sufficiency and Systems Change. The book collates numerous case studies from around the world on alternative socio-economic models, climate adaptation, systems change and resilience. She co-authored a chapter to present Prout as a socio-economic alternative to build robust and self-reliant systems which are resilient to climate change.

Howard Nemon, Treasurer: He is the Co-Founder and Director of the Prama Institute & Wellness Center, a holistic conference and retreat center located in Marshall, NC (USA). Howard received his PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Pennsylvania and has taught community practice and international sustainable development at George Mason University and Warren Wilson College. From 2012 to 2020, he was the Director of the Center for Local Economies, a community-based research and advocacy organization that developed new economic solutions. He is an active member of the Prout Alliance, a US-based collaborative which promotes Prout policies and activism.

Craig Runde (Chandra Shekhara): He has been a follower of Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar since 1971. He received a BA in comparative religion from Harvard University in 1973 and a law degree from Duke University in 1978. He was a trainer, author, and speaker in the field of conflict management and resolution until his retirement in 2021. His main project in Prout has been drafting a world constitution based on the principles of Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar.