Updated: November 5, 2021 10:10:57 am
In what marks a new trend in India’s premier engineering colleges, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, has donated USD 1 million to his alma mater in the form of company stock. IIT Bombay and IIT Madras have also received stock transfers from their alumni as donation.
Over the last few years, IITs have been making a major push to tap into their alumni networks to raise funds for research, development and expansion.
IIT Delhi alumnus Mohit Aron made the million dollar donation last November. A student of Computer Science and Engineering department’s 1995 batch, Aron is an entrepreneur and businessman. He founded Cohesity, a data protection firm, and co-founded Nutanix, a cloud computing firm, both unicorns.
It is learnt that Aron transferred shares worth USD 1 million of Nutanix, which is listed in NASDAQ. His donation will be used for the faculty’s research activities and to ensure that the undergraduate, Masters and PhD students of the department can attend conferences and workshops in India and abroad, according to an IIT Delhi statement.
IIT Delhi Dean (alumni affairs) Prof Naveen Garg told The Indian Express that under the policy governing the endowment donations, “the amount is encashed soon after receiving.” “For donors from the US, transfer of company stock is an appealing option as they are exempted from paying capital gains tax. IIT Delhi endowment foundation (USA) is a registered charity in the US and receives such alumni donations on behalf of IIT-D,” he said.
While launching its endowment fund in 2019, IIT Delhi had announced it was planning to raise USD 1 billion by 2025. As of March 2020, it had an endowment of approximately Rs 186 crore.
Prof Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean, Alumni and Corporate Relations, IIT Madras, said the institute has not received any contribution in the form of transfer of stock, however, its allied alumni organisation received donation in the form of stock, and the proceeds of the sale of the stock has been transferred as a contribution to IIT Madras.
“Our endowment plus corpus is valued at approximately Rs 550 crore,” he said. While the Union government has directed all the centrally-funded technical institutions (CFTI) to maintain endowment funds, IIT Madras said its fund is about five years old. “This fund was set up with the foresight that a growing endowment is good for the Institute, well before the CFTI endowment fund initiative was started by the Union Government,” Panchagnula said.
Prof Suhas Joshi, Dean, Alumni and Corporate Relations, IIT Bombay said the institute raised Rs 77 crore through donations in 2020-21. “We have instituted a process for accepting donations through transfer of stocks. We have so far raised over 11 crore through this route in the last nine months,” he said.
IIT Madras’s Prof Panchagnula said the institute uses the funds received as endowments for several causes including, establishment of Chair professorships to recognise exemplary faculty members, establishment of scholarships to support needy students, create opportunities for faculty and students to pursue research in emerging areas, and support infrastructure maintenance and other allied causes.
In 2018, IIT Delhi had appealed to its alumni to donate part of their assets to the institute in their will. Prof Garg said several donations have been made through this route as well.