Shloka Mehta (on l)
One of India’s widely circulated business newspapers, ‘Mint’ published by Hindustan Times group featured Shloka R. Mehta in a recently published article entitled “India’s young rich know how to give”. Shloka is the daughter of Mona and Russell Arunkumar Mehta.
The article covers five other young philanthropists – Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Trishya Screwvala, Aditi Kothari, Huzaifa Khorakiwala, Shloka Russell Mehta and Amira Shah Chhabra. It says that “most of them have Ivy-League backgrounds and ... have plunged full-time into the social sector. For them, giving is not just about writing cheques”.
In the article each of the next-generation philanthropists tell the writers why they choose to do what they do.
For the beneit of our members we reproduce an excerpt from the article featuring Shloka.
‘I am learning more all the time’
Last year, even though she had zero professional experience in philanthropy, Shloka Russell Mehta, 25, took on the role of executive director at the Rosy Blue Foundation (RBF), the philanthropic arm of diamond manufacturing company Rosy Blue Group. The foundation focuses on sustainability and innovation in education. “My exposure was limited to watching my family, especially grandparents, engage with giving, and a couple of volunteering stints. I was your proverbial blank slate, coupled only with the intent to make a difference,” she says.
In the one year that Shloka has been at the job, the foundation has engaged with multiple mentoring organizations and co-hosted the first national mentorship conference in Mumbai, where around 30 non-profits that run mentorship programmes came together for a two-day seminar. Last year, she was part of the training programmes for teachers from government-aided schools in the tribal areas of Sanali and Dalpura, Gujarat. She is currently working on ConnectFor, a tech platform to enable effective volunteering.
“The most fundamental learning for me has been that there is a huge difference between philanthropy and charity. Charity is meeting people’s immediate needs while philanthropy seeks to address the causes that result in these needs,” she says.
Shloka says she is influenced by her grandfather when it comes to philanthropy and looks to him for advice. “My dada (Arunkumar Ramniklal Mehta) actively served on the board of several trusts and projects, and even today, after he has officially resigned, people continue to approach him. He never just signed a cheque but always went deeper and met the beneficiaries, got involved with the organization and its processes,” she says.
When Shloka expressed a desire to join the foundation, her grandfather gave her this bit of advice: “You can get mental satisfaction, but I’m not sure about the financial side.” They are constantly discussing her ideas for the foundation. “I advise her that please go more in depth and focus on one or two projects rather than trying to juggle so much. Once that is done successfully, then only think about something else. I think she should expand her work in education, and then continue to healthcare,” says her grandfather.
Shloka admits that she initially believed social giving had to be monetary, and was, therefore, best engaged in once you had earned a lot of money. Now she thinks very differently. “Money is undoubtedly an enabler, but the value of human resource is infinitely greater. Philanthropy is about solving problems, and this can be as effectively done through the donation of your time and skill. The skills we develop over our lives are transferrable, and can constantly be refined and developed; they add and receive as much value to the philanthropic field as they would for any other field,” she says.
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