The Tobaccowala Foundation was launched in 2010 by the Late Akhtarali H. Tobaccowala and his family to help underwrite the health, education and welfare of the needy in India.
Since its inception, the Foundation has helped over 12,000 individuals in a range of ways from underwriting eye surgery, helping cancer and diabetes patients , providing vocational training skills to electricians, plumbers and farmers, as well as providing education for poor as well as handicapped children.
The Tobaccowala Foundation is a secular organization which follows a three pronged strategy to maximize the impact of our giving and minimize our operating costs.
1. The Foundation focuses in three broad areas of Health, Education and Welfare and we limit our giving primarily in the 150 mile area around Mumbai, India where the Foundation is based. This allows us to visit , participate and monitor our giving.
2. The Foundation believes that we should provide resources to already existing and ongoing health, education and welfare projects, rather than starting our own. Some of the most impactful projects in India do not have sufficient funds to ensure that their good works can multiply and that they can always be made available to the individuals they help. By directing funds to these ongoing efforts, we are able to minimize operational costs and ensure that 95% of our revenue is delivered to those who are in need.
3. The Foundation places a priority on two types of projects.
a) Our first area of interest are projects that can positively impact a person for an entire lifetime. Therefore we emphasize education and vocational training, or underwriting health initiatives that can turn a life around within hours, such as eye or cataract surgery that gives back vision to those who have lost it.
b) Our second area is to help fund organizations that take care of those who are on the very margin of society. These include handicapped, the autistic, elderly individuals who have served society but have no place to stay and young children/orphans who have been cast out into the world.
Our Logo was designed by Tara Perry of the Rhode Island School of Design. Here, in her own words, is her thinking behind the logo design.
"The logo is a 3 part view of the Earth in its true rounded shape. Inside is an image meant to represent the refraction of light through an object. I think, this speaks to three parts of the Foundation. 1) The focus on health, specifically vision and eye health. The Greek philosopher Empedocles said that everything was made out of four elements, including the human eye. According to him, Aphrodite created the eye using the four elements and lit the fire inside which made sight possible. 2) Light is often used to represent knowledge, a connection which can be found in the word "Enlighten". I think this diagram of light refracting and dispersing shows the foundation's emphasis on education. 3) The directionality of the image suggests the foundation as a tool, as a means by which funds can be directed in the best manner, and important issues can be brought to light. When the light is shone through a different substance it changes speed and direction, and can be made much brighter and more focussed."