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Kuhu Saha



2065 Commerce Blvd
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
A 2008 graduate of the University of Michigan, Kuhu Saha brings all the positivity, energy, and enthusiasm of youth to her job as executive director of Give Merit’s FATE program. Give Merit is the nonprofit arm of clothing company Merit Goodness and receives 20 percent of the brand’s revenues to fund and develop programs such as FATE.
Michigan Nightlight: What does being a leader mean to you?
Give Merit Executive Director Kuhu Saha: Being a leader entails really good listening and observing and acting accordingly. This is particularly important with youth because they are not always listened to; you have to be sensitive to their needs. Knowing who and why you’re leading and remaining open-minded are crucial to being a great leader – definitely a continuous work in progress.
What is your dream for kids?
I want all youth to maintain unwavering confidence – confidence in themselves, their worth, their abilities, their dreams and visions, and that of their peers. With that, I believe, could come great things: persisting through troubled situations, graduating high school, going to college, graduating college, pursuing passions, changing the world.
I want all youth to maintain unwavering confidence – confidence in themselves, their worth, their abilities, their dreams and visions, and that of their peers.

What is one concrete thing that could be done to improve the environment for social sector work in Michigan?
We have to collaborate. There are so many amazing organizations doing really inspiring work in this state. I’ve been able to meet and talk with some, I’ve read about more, and the primary take-away is “wow, there are people who really care, and there are people who are tackling extremely important problems.” Beyond that, though, I imagine that if we collaborated, the collective impact would be so strong. It wouldn’t be in pockets, as many of us operate now, it would be in partnership, crossing causes and beneficiaries, and increasing efficiencies toward our goals.
How do you know you’re making progress?
The students show us. Whether it’s a girl who was too shy to even participate in a group brainstorm volunteering to present something or the students holding each other accountable for our ground rules, there’s progress. And when I get a phone call from a parent telling me her son is worried about not being able to participate in FATE because of his most recent report card, I feel progress. I have no doubt they’ll continue to let us know when something is working, and when it’s not.
What are you most proud of?
I am so proud that FATE is up and running and that together with our partners, our students, and our mentors we have been
I am so proud that FATE is up and running and that together with our partners, our students, and our mentors we have been able to create unforgettable experiences.
able to create unforgettable experiences. A volunteer at our most recent workshop commented that after observing interactions between students, mentors, and [Merit Goodness founder] David Merritt and myself, he couldn’t believe this was only the 4th workshop. Their level of engagement and comfort made it seem like they had all known each other for quite some time longer. Hearing that, and knowing that an inclusive, engaging environment is something we’re striving for, made me extremely happy and proud.
What role have networks played in your professional career? How have those networks, both personal and private affected the work you are able to do?
Networks have played a very big role. Between David’s very large network, my growing professional network, and our collective University of Michigan network, we had a great base for building our knowledge and building the program. And this resonates still today, with steady support and interest in our work. We wouldn’t be operating as we are today without those networks. For example, our initial meeting with the administrators at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy [whose students are the first FATE participants] was facilitated through a professional connection who believed in what we are doing.
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Program Profile

  • FATE
    Making the concept of college cool


  • Give Merit
    Give Merit’s mission is to provide sufficient resources and opportunities for underserved youth to embrace education and become world-class citizens. 


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