Essay competition is an IPA initiative designed to catalyze giving to benefit India, particularly with todayâ€™s youth
Esha Gadi of Warrington, Pennsylvania, and Riya Balaji of San Jose, California, have won this year India Philanthropy Alliance Youth Essay Competition in the high school and middle school categories respectively.
For the first time since the inception of the competition in 2020, essay winners will have the opportunity to present their ideas, live and in person, to a room full of business leaders, philanthropists, and nonprofit executives, IPA announced Tuesday.
The gathering will be hosted by Indiaspora, a founding member of the Alliance, and GiveIndia as part of their annual Philanthropy Summit and will be held at the Indian Consulate in New York City.
Read: India Philanthropy Alliance announces Youth Essay Contest (March 7, 2022)
â€œHonestly, it means everything to me that I’ve won,â€ says Gadi. â€œIt gives me hope that people really do care about this topic [sexual assault]. It makes me realize that we can truly change as a society together, for the better.â€
â€œI entered this competition in 2021 and I didnâ€™t win, but that didnâ€™t stop me,â€ says Balaji. â€œI was determined to do it again but this time with more research, facts, and concrete actions.
â€œBecause I won, I feel really excited and now Iâ€™m even more enthusiastic to donate money to a charity knowing that Iâ€™m going to make a big difference to the underprivileged.â€
Runners up are Yashi Bhowmick of Pooler, Georgia and Chinmayi Joshi of Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Finalists include Tej Shah of Chicago, Illinois, Rithvi Sathish of Redmond, Washingyon, and Ramanathan Venkatesh of Brambleton, Virginia.
Competition winners are awarded grants of $1,000 and runners-up are awarded grants of $500 to give to the charity of their choice.
Read: India Philanthropy Alliance launches 2nd youth essay competition (February 22, 2021)
Each submitted essay was in response to the following:
India is the worldâ€™s largest democracy and has made significant progress on social and environmental issues over the past 25 years.
But India and its 1.3 billion people still have many urgent and unmet needs including access to food, shelter, health care, clean water, education, and a safe environment.
What do you think is the most significant issue facing India and its people today? What role do you think individuals (young and old) and groups here in the US can play in being a part of the solution?
The Youth Essay Competition was inspired by the need to engage todayâ€™s youth to ensure the philanthropy of tomorrow, said IPA, a US-based coalition of 14 nonprofit, philanthropic, and charitable organizations that operate programs in India.
Central to the mission of both Indiaspora and IPA is inspiring the Indian diaspora to be a force for good through collaboration, community engagement and by catalyzing social change, it said.
Learning about the key issues facing India today and doing the research to provide a compelling argument for how best to address these issues, has been a key ingredient to student success and satisfaction, the release said. The number one reward students report is learning that their voice can and will be heard and they can truly have an impact.
The competition, as well as the grants to nonprofits awarded by the students, is sponsored by Sarva Mangal Family Trust (SMFT), which has supported the competition since its inception, and by the Iowa-based Sehgal Foundation.
â€œIPAâ€™s Youth Essay competition is one of the ways we invest in the philanthropy of tomorrow,â€ says Mona Shah, representative of the Sarva Mangal Family Trust.
With the aim of improving health, education, and wellness of communities where they live and work, SMFT has impacted more than 19 million lives through their generosity.
â€œAs change makers and philanthropists, we need to focus on the future of philanthropy and encourage youth in the United States to engage with issues confronting India, as well as work to have the greatest impact here and now.â€
The winners of the competition will be interviewed by Shah as they present to attendees at the Philanthropy Summit in New York.
Subjects covered by essay contestants included a variety of topics such as womenâ€™s rights and safety, pollution, religious intolerance, the stigma of HIV/AIDs, the availability of quality education.
Essays for the winners, runners up, and finalists can be accessed on the India Philanthropy Alliance website.
Indian American philanthropy is expected to grow in the coming years from an estimated $1 billion currently to $3 billion annually, the release said. IPA seeks to influence how quickly this growth take place and the quality of the giving that it translates into.
The Youth Essay Competition is one of several IPA initiatives designed to catalyze giving to benefit India, particularly with todayâ€™s youth, it said.