March 2017

Tata Trusts - An ongoing evolution

Tata Trusts has played a pioneering role in transforming traditional ideas of charity and introducing the concept of philanthropy to make a significant difference to communities. Many of the initiatives undertaken by Tata Trusts have been far ahead of their time, while having contemporary relevance to the nation.

A snapshot of some of the major milestones on the long and illustrious journey that has helped transform the country into a power to reckon with in various fields:


Jamsetji Tata launches the Empress Mills, the group's first large-scale industrial venture; introduces hitherto-unheard-of benefits such as sanitary hutments and filtered water for workers.

1886 - 1892

Jamsetji introduces visionary schemes that include apprenticeship, creches and primary classes for employees' children, free medical help, gratuitous pension, provident fund, maternity benefits, compensation for accidents, as well as the endowment scheme to help promising students.

1896 - 1911

The visionary becomes the pioneer in real estate (organised flats), hospitality (the Taj Mahal hotel) and industry (Tata Steel). His son, Sir Ratan Tata, helps aid Mahatma Gandhi's struggle in South Africa. Sir Dorabji Tata and Sir Ratan Tata help further the Founder's vision for education by setting up the Indian Institute of Science.

1919 - 1932

The Founder's vision lives on. The Sir Ratan Tata Trust, and later, the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, come into being to help aid, amongst other things, international research in blood diseases and empowerment of women through higher education. Sir Dorabji Tata sponsors the Indian contingent to the Antwerp Olympics.

1936 - 1990

The years see the expansion of the Trusts, their role in setting up and/or funding education and research institutions, such as the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Tata Memorial Centre for Cancer Research and Treatment. It also sees new trusts such as the Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust, the Tata Education Trust, to name a few, come into being.

1991 - 1998

The JRD and Thelma J Tata Trust is established to promote women's welfare. Small grants programme, to provide assistance to small welfare-oriented organisations, is launched.

2000 Onwards

The Trusts come into their own, launching many initiatives and associate organisations that tackle disparate welfare and development issues including (but not limited to) livelihood, education, mental health, malnutrition, innovations, etc. Collaborations with different state governments, partnerships with leading philanthropic organisations, institutions, non-profit organisations and CSR arms of conglomerates strengthen initiatives being undertaken by the Trusts.

Current outreach

The renewed mission of the Trusts is to positively and sustainably impact 100 million beneficiaries by 2021. With close to 900 projects being implemented — either through its over 450 partners or through direct implementation — the Trusts cover millions of households in 170 districts, across 17 states of India. True to Jamsetji Tata's vision, the community remains centre stage in all Trusts' plans.