Lobo named 2018 computer science and engineering OEA


University Park, Pa. — Donald Lobo (’91 MS CSE), executive director of the Chintu Gudiya Foundation and founder of CiviCRM, has been named an Outstanding Engineering Alumnus by Penn State’s College of Engineering.

Growing up in Mumbai, India, Lobo’s generation was told they would be successful if they chose one of two paths: doctor or engineer.

He knew computers were the future, and so began his life in the world of computer science. After finishing his bachelor’s of technology degree in computer science from the National Institute of Technology, Warangal India, he was awarded a scholarship for his master’s in computer science at Penn State. Although it was a decision that took him halfway around the world, he doesn’t regret it.

“Because I was on a scholarship and tuition was free, I could really explore different classes, so I took a rock climbing class one summer--and it’s something I still do today with my daughter--and I took classes in industrial engineering that included computer vision and perception,” he said. “The flexibility to explore interdepartmentally really stands out about one of things that made an impact on my career.”

During Lobo’s second year at Penn State, he had an internship at IBM Research Center in New York. He said the work he had done at Penn State helped him thrive there, and after graduating, he headed to Silicon Valley and worked for a startup, Redwood Design Automation. When that was bought in 1995, he moved on to Yahoo! where he was the fourth employee hired by the company. As Yahoo! grew, he became the principal in charge of setting up new engineering operations and offices in Asia and Europe.  He spent significant time in India, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Europe and would set the technical parameters for putting Yahoo! into those countries.

As Lobo’s career grew ever more successful, he thought about using the money and skills he had earned to give them away.

His philanthropic journey started 15 years ago when he founded the Chintu Gudiya Foundation. Understanding pressing and neglected issues on the ground and taking big bets on organizations with the most effective solutions are integral parts of Donald’s philanthropy. He does this by reading articles in academic journals and newspapers, having in-depth conversations with social entrepreneurs and speaking with beneficiaries during three weeks of volunteering every summer with his wife and children. The exposure and exploration helped him test, learn and improve his approach to philanthropy.

Today, besides contributing funds, Lobo uses his skills and helps organizations strengthen their programs by using low-cost, open-source technology solutions to collect and analyze data. In addition to hands-on engagement with philanthropy, a review of his portfolio helped Lobo refine his philanthropic strategy. Specifically, it helped him recognize trends and insights into the performance of his grantee organizations, the sector-wide mix of his portfolio, the number of beneficiaries reached and how his support has helped build the capacity of these organizations. Engaging a philanthropy adviser to conduct this portfolio review enhanced its rigour, professionalism and objectivity. A balance of what he refers to as “Wall Street–type” reports and qualitative voices from the ground helped Donald connect the mind with the heart in his philanthropy. Ultimately, the combination of a portfolio review and on-the-ground insights has been a positive reinforcement for Donald, allowing him to assess his years of philanthropy, understand the impact of his giving, expand his sectors of interest, evaluate the right balance between the heart and the mind and eventually pave the path for future giving.

He is being recognized for his entrepreneurial career, impact on Yahoo!, and service to the civic sector in the U.S. and India developing free open source software for social and environmental justice groups.

Lobo lives in California with his wife and two daughters.


Share this story:

facebook linked in twitter email


Rebekka Coakley


Donald Lobo

Donald Lobo



The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was created in the spring of 2015 to allow greater access to courses offered by both departments for undergraduate and graduate students in exciting collaborative research in fields.

We offer B.S. degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering and data science and graduate degrees (master's degrees and Ph.D.'s) in electrical engineering and computer science and engineering. EECS focuses on the convergence of technologies and disciplines to meet today’s industrial demands.

School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

The Pennsylvania State University

207 Electrical Engineering West

University Park, PA 16802


Department of Computer Science and Engineering


Department of Electrical Engineering