The Tata philosophy of philanthropy — of giving back to society and the community — has taken myriad forms, unfolded in different dimensions, and touched the lives of countless people. That much is fairly well-known. Not so familiar is the seeding of it all, which takes us back to Bombay in 1892, when a simple idea got institutionalised through the setting up of the JN Tata Endowment for the Higher Education of Indians: to financially support young Indian scholars looking to pursue higher education in foreign lands.
The JN Tata Endowment was born as a result of the foresight and generosity of Tata group Founder Jamsetji Tata, a visionary industrialist known for his commitment to the common good of India. The first of the charitable foundations established by the Tata family, the JN Tata Endowment marks its 125th anniversary this year. More than a dozen philanthropic entities have followed in the subsequent years and together they are now known as Tata Trusts. This edition of Tata Review offers glimpses of the vast amount of work that Tata Trusts does in spheres such as education, livelihoods, healthcare and water, in farmlands and cityscapes, and especially among the poor and the needy.
Our cover story recounts, in pictorial fashion, the efforts of Tata Trusts through the effect it has had on the lives of beneficiaries. Bringing a wider perspective to these efforts is Tata Trusts Chairman Ratan Tata, who speaks in an interview about the organisation, about social development in a country like India, and how this can be made more meaningful.
Society, technology and sustainability run as interconnected subjects through several of our stories. An example is the conversation with Zenia Tata, executive director of XPRIZE, a nonprofit in search of technological breakthroughs to address global developmental challenges. And Yogesh Chauhan, director of corporate sustainability at Tata Consultancy Services, shares his perspective on technology as an agent for change.
Continuing with the social uplift theme, we have an article on Okhai, the Gujarat-based cooperative of artisans that is gaining in marketing skills to complement its talent in creating apparel and lifestyle products. Additionally, there’s a story on how Tata companies are doing their bit for disadvantaged communities through the Tata Affirmative Action Programme.
Also on the Tata Review menu this time are Tata Projects’ attempt to turn tribal women into successful entrepreneurs, Tata Steel’s support to keep the heritage of India’s tribal communities alive, and a photo-feature on the National Centre for the Performing Arts. Add to these our usual mix of business features, stimulating columns and, to round it off, insights on animal healthcare in India from Lorin D Warnick, the dean of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine.Warm regards, Christabelle Noronha