Indian philanthropist donates another US$1.12 million to polio eradication
Rajashree Birla has given a combined total of more than $4.2 million to The Rotary Foundation for polio eradication. Rotary Images
Rajashree Birla, of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, has donated another US$1.12 million to The Rotary Foundation in support of Rotary's US$200 Million Challenge.
Including this contribution, Birla has given a combined total of more than $4.2 million to the Foundation for polio eradication.
Foundation Trustee Ashok M. Mahajan says that Birla's extraordinary generosity stems from her belief that giving to others is the best way to make a lasting change in the world. As a mother, she has compassion for the young victims of polio and wants to help Rotary achieve its goal of eradicating the disease, he says.
"Mrs. Rajashree Birla strongly believes that what we have done for ourselves dies with us. But what we do for others remains forever," he says. "Charity begins at home but should not end there."
Mahajan adds that Birla has confidence in the Foundation's ability to use the money wisely.
Birla's late husband, Aditya Birla, made the Aditya Birla Group into a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest in India, employing more than 100,000 people in over 20 countries. Her eldest son, Kumar Mangalam Birla, is chairman of the board, and she serves as a director.
The family has a longstanding commitment to business accountability and community service. Birla continues that legacy through her leadership in the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, where she oversees projects that address education, health care, and other social issues.
Among her many awards and honors, Birla is an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Bombay, which presented her with the Citizen of Bombay Award in 2003. In 2004, she received the Pride of India Award from the Rotary Club of Mulund, where she is also an honorary member.
The Aditya Birla Centre has helped immunize about three million children against polio in 3,200 villages in India, one of the four remaining polio-endemic countries.
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