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Anita Verma-Lallian ’07 and Jennifer Verma ’13, two sisters with strong Marshall ties, are leveraging their business background and their global connections to make impact 9,000 miles away from their Arizona hometown. Jennifer, who graduates this May with a degree in urban planning and a masters in business administration (and is the younger of the two), may have followed in her older sister’s academic footsteps, but she was the one who pushed to found a charitable foundation to benefit underprivileged students in India.

Learning about the philanthropic efforts of business leaders like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and seeing how Disney, where she interned last summer, handled their charitable efforts, the younger Verma sister was motivated to establish the Verma Charitable Foundation with her sister Anita.

Beyond their formal education, it is their parents, say the sisters, who inspired them. Kuldip Verma and Binu Verma, an engineer and a physician, respectively, immigrated to the United States from India and went on to create Vermaland, LLC, one of the largest land banking companies in Arizona. This success allowed them to provide their children with educational opportunities — which the sisters wanted to pay forward. The Verma Charitable Foundation, established by Anita and Jennifer to honor their parents, was established with donations of real estate valued at $1.2 million from Verma Legacy Trust, a subsidiary of Vermaland, LLC.

“Our parents have been a huge inspiration to us and we wanted to do something to honor them and give back, to help other students out and give them opportunities that they may not otherwise have,” said Anita.

Jennifer and Anita—who works as director of marketing for Vermaland—will be managers of the trust. Their parents, trustees of the Verma Legacy Trust, will be involved in running the charitable enterprise. The aim is to sponsor underprivileged students in India either through donations to local charities or through forming their own charity there. Family members located in India will assist with the process. Given their donation, the Verma family is hoping to be able to help at least 100 students.

The foundation will also promote cross-cultural understanding by establishing a center in the US to expose the local Phoenix community to Indian teachings.

“I thought this would be a great opportunity for our family to make an impact in India,” she said. “Why not do something with our family business so we can give back to those who are less fortunate?” said Jennifer.

Source : USC Marshall School of Business