The WHEELS Global Foundation Oct. 6 announced that Indian Institute of Technology graduate Ruyintan Mehta, a serial entrepreneur in the plastics industry, has donated a significant sum of money to the foundation.
The Mehta donation, the amount of which was not disclosed, is part of a 1970 pledge he made to give back to communities in need.
After receiving his degree in chemical engineering from IIT Bombay, Mehta moved to the United States to continue his graduate studies, saying decades ago that, "If a country as poor as that can do so much, I pledged that when I could, I would do my darnedest to give back to IIT and society at large.”
Over the course of 25 years, the Indian American has given back nearly $1 million in total contributions, including the recent donation to WGF.
The inspiration for his earliest donations was his mother, according to a WGF news release.
Like Mehta, the mission of WHEELS Global Foundation is to give back to India, the U.S. and to global rural communities, it said.
WGF is a nonprofit organization that is a pioneer in applying technology to provide solutions to issues related to their six tracks: water, health, education, energy, livelihood and sustainability, according to the news release.
WGF was founded by alumni of the Indian Institutes of Technology, and Mehta serves as a board member of the foundation, and an overseer of the water track of the foundation.
The primary goal of the water track is to provide rural villages in India with a source of clean drinking water. Much of India’s rural water source lacks sanitation and has unhealthy levels of fluoride, iron, arsenic and other toxic components. WGF provides funds to develop Clean Drinking Water Plants in remote villages. To date, WGF has installed 10 plants in three states in India, with three others in development.
In total, the foundation has served approximately 75,000 people with each plant serving between 6,000 to 8,000 people per village. WGF plans to install 30 additional plants, commissioned in various Sevak villages that currently do not have water treatment plants.
“I am a firm believer in sustainability within the area of scholarships, so I’ve been donating to an organization called Foundation for Excellence,” Mehta said of his other philanthropic efforts. FFE provides scholarships to needy students.
Mehta also serves as a certified mentor for the Central Jersey SCORE chapter, where he provides counseling and mentoring to entrepreneurs and small businesses.
He was instrumental in developing a student exchange program between his alma mater IIT Bombay and The Cooper Union, an engineering school in New York City, WGF said.
Mehta also serves as the current president of the IIT Bombay Heritage Foundation and is former president of the IIT Bombay Alumni Association of New York.
He financially contributes to and sits on the advisory board of the Dakshana Foundation, which prepares the most economically needy youth in India to take the IIT joint entrance exam, the news release noted.
Mehta’s donation comes in advance of the WGF annual benefit gala, to be held Nov. 3 in Manhattan, N.Y.