Indian entrepreneurs Nikhil Kamath, Neerja Birla join advisory council of King Charles-founded charity

Noted Indian entrepreneurs Dr Neerja Birla and Nikhil Kamath. Screenshot courtesy: Instagram/ neerja_birla and _soniashenoy

Well-known Indian entrepreneurs Nikhil Kamath and Dr Neerja Birla have been appointed to the India Advisory Council of the British Asian Trust, a charity founded by King Charles III when he was the Prince of Wales.

Kamath, Co-founder of one of India’s largest stockbrokers Zerodha, besides the wealth management firm True Beacon and the venture capital firm Gruhas, is the youngest Indian to sign Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s ‘The Giving Pledge’, as a promise to give at least 50 per cent of his wealth to charity. In his new role with the British Asian Trust announced last week, he hopes to address “complex social challenges” in India.

I’m committed to partnering with innovative and pioneering social organisations as part of my philanthropic approach.

Nikhil Kamath, Co-founder of Zerodha

“I am, therefore, honoured to join the British Asian Trust’s India Advisory Council, made up of notable business leaders and philanthropists. Together, we aim to address complex social challenges innovatively and at scale across the country,” he said.

Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath with Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das. Photo courtesy: X/ @nikhilkamathcio

Birla, Founder and Chairperson of the Aditya Birla Education Trust, is behind the initiative Mpower, which seeks to foster a positive change in attitudes towards mental health through awareness and advocacy.

“Mpower has become a symbol of hope and a driving force for change in the mental health landscape in India. However, significant barriers continue to exist in providing the right support for mental health to millions of citizens in the country,” she said.

The British Asian Trust is doing commendable work in [the mental health] space across the world. I’m thrilled to join the British Asian Trust’s India Advisory Council and expand our work in mental health across India.

Dr Neerja Birla, Founder and Chairperson of the Aditya Birla Education Trust

Kamath and Birla join the trust alongside other eminent Indian business and philanthropic leaders, including Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, who chairs the Trust’s India Advisory Council.

Bharath Visweswariah, Executive Director – India, at the British Asian Trust, said, “The inclusion of Nikhil Kamath and Dr Neerja Birla into our advisory council will contribute immensely to the future of our work in India.

“Nikhil’s passion for conservation and livelihoods and Dr Birla’s outstanding journey in education and mental health will help us expand our impact innovatively and effectively.”

The Trust was founded in 2007 by then Prince Charles (now King Charles III); it claims to have positively impacted the lives of more than 12 million people in South Asia since then.

Diaspora-led international development organisation

On its website, the charity described itself as: “We are a diaspora-led international development organisation, delivering high-quality programmes in South Asia. We specialise in, and champion the use of, social finance products to drive positive change across the region.”

Minimising inequality and injustice in South Asia is the overarching aim of the Trust. Its programmes are “focused on the areas of education, livelihoods, child protection, mental health, and conservation”.

Advisory councils of the British Asian Trust are “made up of influential individuals who bring expertise and connections” to the charity’s work. “They help to raise awareness about our programmes and our approach, act as brand ambassadors, secure wider support and give strategic advice,” said the Trust.