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By Raj Kamaria (2Y, 2022)

Ever since I was a boy and visited my family in India, I knew I wanted to make an impact. Coming from America, I was astonished by the level of poverty, lack of development, and need for basic necessities. While things have improved dramatically since then, much help is still needed in India as well as here. To this end, I have always made social impact — whether advertent or not — a key part of my life.

Prior to Kellogg, I was involved as a director in EY’s College Mentorship & Assistance Program, helping underprivileged high school kids from the south side of Chicago pursue their dreams of higher education. After, I rose to become director of Givology, an educational nonprofit supporting women in rural India to pursue higher studies. In my last year, we supported nearly 75 women through their education. As I thought about future plans, I knew I wanted to do something at the intersection of business and social impact, which led me to Kellogg.

At Kellogg, I’ve tried to stay plugged in from the very beginning. While I had some experience already in nonprofits, I didn’t do the usual suspects, such as the Golub Capital Board Fellows Program, but sought to chart my own path using learnings from the Social Impact Club, policy classes like Social Innovation and State & Local Policy, and Kellogg peers.

Having grown my parent’s real estate investment business and expanded into impact investing in underserved neighborhoods in the Chicagoland area, I decided to take it a step further. I setup a 501(3)(c) nonprofit with the IRS called the Kamaria Family Foundation. Besides donating a substantial portion of our business’ proceeds to charities — such as Shriners hospital and local Hindu temples — I also sought to make an impact abroad back in India.

Making an impact during Covid-19

When Covid hit India hard earlier this year, I knew we could do something. After conversing with my cousins, aunts, uncles, and other folks on the ground in my parents’ locale, Indore, I identified a nonprofit center called Mohankheda, which was a Jain pilgrimage place in rural India that helps the needy. After connecting with their famed guru, Guru Rishabh, through numerous WhatsApp video calls, I discovered their mission to setup a field hospital with nearly 500 beds to serve over 1,000 Covid patients without the means to serve themselves. So, by donating in the five-figure range, and finding a few other charities who could provide beds, medical supplies, and more,  we set up a field hospital with an independent oxygen plant to serve these patients. I’m not sure how many lives were saved exactly (hopefully a lot!),  but my experience both prior to Kellogg and at Kellogg played a huge role in getting this effort off the ground.

As I look towards the future, I hope to continue to expand not only the impact my business ventures can make, but also directly through my family foundation and other charities. My long-term goal would be to help orphans in India by either aiding an existing organization or setting up a new one to support these children who have largely been given up on by society. India has one of the world’s largest orphaned children’s populations, and hopefully through my efforts, this number at least becomes a little bit smaller.