Board of Directors


Suranga Ganewatte

Board Of Director

Suranga is a Vice President for JPMorgan Chase. With more than 20 years of management and leadership experience at JPMorgan Chase, Suranga has cultivated his skills to become a proven leader by implementing a strategic focus to build and grow various lines of businesses in the bank. He brings his wealth of experience and knowledge to help the community and our youth at SLYO.

Suranga grew up in Sri Lanka, where he attended St. Sebastian’s College. He then immigrated to the US and completed his degree at Pepperdine University in California. His vast experience in management, entrepreneurship and finance have all contributed to his success. Suranga is also a proud member of The United States Air Force. In Addition to SLYO, he is an active member of many other non-profit organizations and business resource groups such as: US Global Business Forum, SRAR, NAHREP, AREAA.

When he is not working or giving back to the community, Suranga loves to spend time being active outdoors with his family and friends.


Raj Ponniah

Board Of Director

Raj Ponniah grew up a non-traditional Tamil in a somewhat traditional household. Starting out as an entrepreneur at the age of 19, Raj struck out on his own trying his hand at a variation of industries ranging from legal services to the technology industry. After following his business spirit, Raj recently decided to go back to further his higher level education by following his heart in Psychology.

Born in Colombo Raj left Sri Lanka at the age of 8 during the beginning of the riots. He went directly to California with his family where he joined the rest of the Diaspora. Growing up in San Bernardino county at the time left limited contact to other Sri Lankans. This gave value to having a place where the youth can go to network and embrace their common hurdles of growing up South Asian in a Westernized culture.

Approached by the Founder, Aruni Ganewatte 9 years ago to take on a role as adviser to SLYO. Understanding what her goals were for this youth group and the trust and respect that was established over the years, there was no hesitation to jump at the opportunity.


Samanthika Tate

Board Of Director

Samanthika De Silva moved to the United States when she was 8 years old. When she first moved to the United States she only spoke two words of english; Yes and No. Within a short period of time she quickly merged in to the American culture but at home she had a Sri Lankan upbringing. After graduating high school she attended the University of California Davis. At Davis she took the opportunity to embrace her culture and stand apart from other minority groups. She wanted to make sure everyone she met knew where she was from. Any opportunity she got she spoke about Sri Lanka and her culture. In hopes of educating more people and making a difference as a Sri Lankan, she joined a Chicana/Latina Sorority.

Through this organization she educated a lot of her college peers about Sri Lanka and her upbringing. Today she is the VP, of retail services for a financial institution. She is also a mama, to a wonderful three year old boy. She loves fashion, reading, traveling and spending every moment possible with her family. What she enjoys most about life is giving back to the less fortunate and educating youth. Her greatest passion is to care for animals. In her spare time you can find her volunteering her time at animal organizations.


Raj Weerakkody

Board Of Director

Raj Weerakkody was born in Sri Lanka and currently lives in Orange County where he attended high school. He played on his high school football team and earned a half ride scholarship to San Diego State University. He graduated from California State University at Long Beach with a degree in International Business.

After college he worked for a startup security company. He sold his partnership in the company and founded Royal Cup Cafe INC. Raj is dedicated and committed to any project he gets involved in. In addition to that Raj collects art and keeps it on display at Royal Cup Cafe, He promotes local artists and musicians at his three locations. Raj enjoys helping people. He loves showing dogs and owns a world champion Doug de Bordeaux named Callisto who he loved dearly.

Raj is in the process of franchising Royal Cup Cafe to proliferate his passion for great coffee, and food he believes in hard work to accomplish your dreams. In addition to staying busy operating his businesses, he makes time for SLYO, charity, and supporting the community because he believes no child should be left behind.