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How IITs are tapping into their robust alumni network for funding

How IITs are tapping into their robust alumni network for funding

From IIT-Kanpur to IIT-BHU, the premier institutes boast a robust network of high-profile alumni, who are known for time and again making generous contributions to their alma mater. 

IIT alumni donations IIT alumni donations

IndiGo co-founder Rakesh Gangwal made headlines for his considerable personal donation to his alma mater, IIT-Kanpur. Gangwal donated Rs 100 crore to support the School of Medical Sciences and Technology, following the footsteps of a long line of IIT alumni. From IIT-Kanpur to IIT-BHU, the premier institutes boast a robust network of high-profile alumni, who are known for time and again making generous contributions to their alma mater. 

Also read: IndiGo co-founder Rakesh Gangwal donates Rs 100 cr to IIT Kanpur

For instance, IIT-Delhi recently received Rs 75 crore from the President of US-based Yardi Systems, Anant Yardi. The donation is for the School of Artificial Intelligence that the institute established last year. Then-IIT Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao had said that Yardi’s ‘gift’ would help the institute attract talented students and researchers, and build better solutions for the benefit of the society, environment and nation. Established in 1982, Yardi Systems provides software solutions for the real estate sector. 

And then, earlier this year, IIT-Delhi alumnus Mohit Mittal, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), pledged Rs 11 crore to the institute’s endowment fund. He was an alumnus of IIT-Delhi’s BTech degree in Computer Science and Engineering in 2000. In his first tranche, he paid Rs 2.5 crore. He said that the contribution would help the institute serve its students and faculty, and support cutting edge research and entrepreneurship. 

Saurabh Mittal, Chairman of the Singapore-headquartered Mission Holdings, contributed Rs 10 crore to IIT-Delhi for the development of the indoor sports facility, Mittal Sports Complex. It is spread over 2,000 sq m and was inaugurated on April 1, 2022. The three-storey fully air-conditioned state-of-the-art indoor sports complex houses four badminton courts, two squash courts, two table tennis halls, an open-air theatre, office space, a conference room and a terrace garden.

In yet another case, Jay Chaudhry, the founder of Zscaler, a cloud-based information security firm, donated $1 million or over Rs 7.5 crore to his alma mater IIT-BHU. The donation will fund IIT-BHU’s Entrepreneurship Center and focus on student development and faculty development. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had even thanked the entrepreneur in his Mann ki Baat radio programme. “In our country, there are many people belonging to different fields who are fulfilling their responsibility towards society by helping others. I am very happy that such efforts are being seen continuously in the field of higher education, especially in our different IITs,” he said in his special mention. 

Also read: TCS , IIT Madras partner to launch M Tech in Industrial Artificial Intelligence 

IIT-BHU had received over $4.3 million or Rs 32.23 crore donations from its alumni, including $1.3 million or Rs 9.8 crore from Ramesh Srinivasan, CEO of SaaS company Netcore Cloud, in September 2021, and $2 million or Rs 15 crore from Nikesh Arora, CEO of Palo Alto Networks, in November 2021. 

IIT-BHU alumnus Naresh C Jain donated Rs 5 crore to his alma mater for the development of its new School of Decision Sciences and Engineering. Jain is also the chairman of the US-based non-profit, IIT (BHU) Foundation. The Naresh C Jain School of Decision Sciences and Engineering will offer a Master of Technology and a PhD program in Decision Sciences and Engineering. 

Similarly, a US-based alumni group of the IIT-Bombay had donated $50 million or over Rs 376 crore to its alma mater across 25 years. The IIT Bombay Heritage Foundation (IITBHF), a US-based non-profit charitable organisation established to support students, alumni, faculty, and research at IIT Bombay, celebrated 25 years of its alma mater on July 19. According to the organisers of the anniversary event, the amount of $50 million was collected from over 3,300 donors. 

IIT-Bombay received Rs 77 crore from its alumni in 2020-21 alone. The institute received Rs 285 crore in external funding from the government and the industry. 

And it is not only cheques alone, IITs are also accepting stocks as alumni donations. IIT Delhi alumnus Mohit Aron, who co-founded unicorns Nutanix, a cloud computing firm; and Cohesity, a data protection firm, transferred shares worth $1 million in NASDAQ-listed Nutanix to fund the faculty’s research activities. 

The generous donations by the illustrious and accomplished alums of India's premier IITs comes as a tailwind for their effort to tap into their distinguished alumni network for funding to serve the ever-growing demand for the very best in specialised higher education in India. 

(With media and agency inputs)

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