Anila Ali was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and studied in London, where she became a volunteer in the All Pakistan Women's Association. In 1996, she came to California. She is an active member of the Council of Pakistan-American Affairs (COPAA) and a contributor to the largest Pakistani paper in the U.S., The Pakistan Link.
Anila currently serves the city of Irvine as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Irvine Public School Foundation, a non-profit entity, as well as on the board of Irvine's Children, Youth and Families Commission. She is the founder of the Irvine Pakistani Parents Association (IPPA), a non-profit organization that promotes community involvement and leadership and raises money for the public schools in the city as well as promotes South Asian peace through the arts.
Anila also serves on the board of the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI), a non-profit that promotes understanding and dialogue. She is the founder and board member of the American Muslim Women's Empowerment Council. She is the recent recipient of President Obama's Volunteer Service Award 2011. She also serves as chairwomen of the International leadership Foundation (ILF), a non-profit promoting civic awareness in the Asian American ANd Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community.