3 Indian-Americans Among Biggest Philanthropists of 2015: Town and Country Magazine

30-year-old Adarsh Alphons founded 'ProjectArt' to help troubled New York City students by providing free art classes.
30-year-old Adarsh Alphons founded 'ProjectArt' to help troubled New York City students by providing free art classes.

WASHINGTON:  Three Indian-Americans are among 50 biggest philanthropists of 2015, that includes top business honchos like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The list compiled by American lifestyle ‘Town and Country Magazine’ figures New York-based Adarsh Alphons, Reshma Saujani and Shaila Ittycheria, all under 40 years of age.

“These are the men and women whose serious dollars, bold ideas, and old-fashioned hard work have made them the year’s most noteworthy and inspiring givers,” says the magazine of people on its ‘T&C 50: The Biggest Philanthropists of 2015’ list.

Ms Saujani, 39, is the founder of ‘Girls Who Code’, a three-year-old nonprofit that teaches computer skills to girls from low-income communities to close technology’s gender-gap.

“This is more than just a programme. It’s a movement”, said Ms Saujani, who was also among four Indian-American entrepreneurs on a recent list of the 40 most talented and dynamic professionals under the age of 40 in New York City.

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Meanwhile, 30-year-old Mr Alphons founded ‘ProjectArt’ to unleash the creative power in each child and change the way the world views arts education, because for him, art saves lives.

His ‘Grand Plan’ is to help troubled New York City students via ProjectArt, which provides free art classes at public libraries in all five boroughs.

It does this by public awareness and programmes. Using its unique library-partnerships model, it helps youth express their artistic visions, set goals and display their art in celebrated art galleries in New York City, all at no cost to the students.

Expelled from school when he was just seven-years-old for drawing in every class, Alphons – son of former Indian bureaucrat KJ Alphons – has been painting portraits for Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and the Pope by the time he was 15 – all because one art teacher perceived his passion for art and believed in him, according to information on his website.

Ms Ittycheria, 31, co-founded ‘Enstitute’ that bypasses college by placing its students in paid tech apprenticeships.

Her ‘Grand Plan’ is to educate the digitally inclined and debt-averse.

The list also includes Zuckerberg’s wife Priscilla Chan, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, and actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Emma Watson.


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