The WHEELS Global Foundation raised $2.4 million at their WHEELS for Humanity Awards Gala, held on Friday, Nov. 3 at The Pierre, a Taj Hotel, here in New York City, with Amneal Pharmaceuticals donating the highest amount of $2 million.
This year more than 300 entrepreneurs, business leaders, scholars and dignitaries attended to honor Josh Weston, the former CEO and chairman of Automatic Data Processing (ADP), for his years of service as a community leader and who also co-founded Safe Water Network, a non-profit that provides access to clean drinking water to thousands of people in India and Ghana, along with Hiten Ghosh, the President Emeritus of the WHEELS Global Foundation, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The event also featured a fireside chat with Rajat Gupta, the Chairman of the WHEELS Global Foundation and Chirag Patel, the Co-CEO and Chairman of Amneal Pharmaceuticals, who both discussed the Digital India Program that was launched in July 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Patel exclaimed how the Digital India Program has seen an exponential growth in the country and how they are willing to start Digital India 2.0 and take the initiative forward.
“India is becoming an increasingly big base for cloud as we have opened it up, India is one of the few countries in the world today to have public sector data be hosted in a private cloud,” said Patel, adding that the government has made the Adhaar Card become one of these clouds for each individual.
“India has the resource that nobody else in the world has. They have a young population with 65 percent of them who are under the age of 35 and most of them are educated. I personally feel that the start of media (coverage) is a very good initiative but what we may need to do is think: how can we help those people who have the intelligence, to connect with investors in the United States so they can provide them with the finances that are required,” said Gupta, who also wanted people in India to have more electricity, as 59 percent of the population does not.
The WHEELS Global Foundation was founded in 2013 as an independent 501c3 non-profit organization, in conjunction with the PAN IIT Alumni Foundation’s “Giveback to America” project which took place in 2009.
The WHEELS Global Foundation supplies innovative, technologically driven solutions to the challenges that are faced by many in rural areas worldwide, including; Water, Healthcare, Energy, Education, Livelihood and Sustainability (WHEELS) and the foundation’s mission is to give back to the people in India as well as in the United States who face these six challenges in the rural areas.
Since the foundation’s beginning in 2013, WHEELS has installed 12 clean drinking water plants for over 70,000 villagers, assisted around 200,000 villagers with preventative healthcare in 60 Sevak villages, provided a solar energy powered UV plant for clean drinking water for 1,000 people in Banaskantha, Gujarat, donated 384 laptops in support of the Second Chance Program, trained 2.5 million people through the ‘Spoken Tutorial’ program, conducted research to provide simple machines that make sanitary napkins from waste materials in efforts to create jobs as a co-operative business and built 104 toilets with doors in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity – India Builds.
In the next two years, the WHEELS Global Foundation plans to do much more and increase the outcome of what they have already accomplished within the last four years.