In addition to his role as executive assistant, Witharana collaborates with the communications manager in managing the foundation’s grant portfolio, providing support on institutional grantmaking projects and the staff grant program. He is also a member of the Vilcek Foundation’s racial equity working group, collaborating with staff to develop and implement policies and best practices for operations and programs.
Witharana came to the Vilcek Foundation with a background in arts management. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in entertainment business at New York University (NYU), with a focus on film, television, and theatrical production. While at NYU, Witharana served as an assistant director and stage manager for a production of Václav Havel’s In Memorandumat the Blood, Love & Rhetoric Theatre of Prague.
Prior to working with the Vilcek Foundation, Witharana was a legal and executive assistant at Sloss Eckhouse LawCo,where he helped coordinate the complex legal logistics necessary for documentary filmmaking, working on Oscar-nominated films such as The Square and Cartel Land, as well as on several Netflix original productions.
Originally from Phoenix, Witharana is the son of immigrants from Sri Lanka. He is passionate about the power of philanthropy to enact real change, and appreciates the opportunity to work closely with foreign-born artists and scientists.