WAYS OF GIVING
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Remala Donor Story — Why We Give: “We believe that investing to improve health and education gives people a leg up out of poverty,” explained Rao Remala of the Remala Foundaton, who rose from poverty to become the first Indian employee at Microsoft and is credited as one of the lead developers of the first version of Microsoft Windows. Born in a small village in southeastern India where he lived in a mud hut with no running water, Rao knows the importance of getting that helping hand along the way. “Without support from others, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” he said. “Now, we want to give back.”
Based in Bellevue, the Remala Foundation is truly a family affair. Rao and his wife, Satya, along with daughters Srilakshmi and Srilata, come together to make giving decisions, with Srilakshmi focused on funding education and Srilata on health. “We like to invest locally – in the Seattle area – with organizations and people that are doing impactful work in India,” explained Rao.
Srilata agreed, saying, “We are very deliberate in our giving, focusing on smaller organizations that have large impact and move quickly to seize opportunities. IDRI fits well into our giving strategy; it is a nimble organization and able to use its expertise to rapidly move into new areas of disease research.”
From IDRI’s standpoint having funders, like the Remala Foundation, that understand the importance of initial support for pilot projects — like the one the Remalas funded for chikungunya research at IDRI — are key.