Indian-Americans donate more than $1.2 billion to U.S. higher education institutions

Students take their seats for the diploma ceremony at the John F. Kennedy School of Government during the 361st Commencement Exercises at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts May 24, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Around 68 Indian-Americans have donated a total of more than $1.2 billion to various colleges and universities as a way of giving back to higher education, according to a study conducted by Indiaspora, a nonprofit organization which says its mission is to transform the success of the community into meaningful impact worldwide.

According to a press release, Indiaspora has created the Monitor of University Giving, which it says is a “living database” to keep track of donations given to universities and other higher education programs by Indian Americans.

The goal of this database is to illustrate how Indian-Americans are giving back to higher education in their adopted homeland. However, it only keeps track of donations amounting of $1 million or more, which it says would could cause an under-reporting of the results.

The 68 donations it lists were made by 50 individuals, and of them, Indiaspora says, 7 are its members: Sumir Chadha, Desh Deshpande, Kris Gopalkrishnan, Raj Gupta, Deepak Raj, Anand Rajaraman, and Sanjay Swani.

Nearly half of the donations are by individuals who donated more than once, “indicating how passionately Indian Americans feel towards giving back to American institutions of higher education, in many but not all cases, their alma maters,” Indiaspora says.

According to the study, a total of 37 different colleges received these donations and while private universities received more than one donation, public universities received $5 for every $2 donated to them.

The five universities which received the most donations were University of California, Los Angeles, Harvard University, Boston University, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania.

Indiaspora has been conducting this study since 2000 and the frequency of large donations has stayed fairly consistent over the years, according to the press release.

“While Indian Americans continue to donate time and money towards causes in India, our community also believes that charity begins at home. Indian Americans are acutely aware of the vital role played by American Institutions of Higher Education in their professional success stories, and many of us consider it a moral obligation to give back and pay it forward for the next generation of Americans,” M.R. Rangaswami, founder of Indiaspora, is quoted saying in the press release.



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