Charity Begins @ Home

A young software engineer has a plan to teach Silicon Valley to change its tightfisted ways

In Nipun, he sees promise.

"Nipun is saying there has to be more to life than endless consumption, and he is offering the hope that your worth as a human being does not have to equal your net worth," Mahon says. "I am optimistic about Nipun. He's eloquent and passionate with his message, and those are the kind of people that get listened to. Look at Gandhi, Mandela, Walesa; these are individuals who could articulate what a lot of people were feeling, and who could create a critical mass. These men did incredible social good against some incredible powers. It has to start somewhere in Silicon Valley, and it's starting with a very earnest and capable person."

While Nipun is clearly the leader of his movement, he publicly downplays his importance. "I'm just a simple guy, and if people are inspired by my actions, great," he says. "But ultimately, the change has to come from within them." He tries to emulate his role model, but seems to feel that to acknowledge any comparison to Gandhi would border on blasphemy. "I'm not a fully selfless person," Nipun protests. "I'm a normal guy. I go to movies, I hang out with friends, I socialize. I like dancing. I'm not just talking about Charity Focus all the time."

Nipun Mehta.
Anthony Pidgeon
Nipun Mehta.

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RELATED LINKS

Charity Focus
Includes an online portfolio, e-mail newsletter sign up, and info on volunteer opportunities.

Half of wealthy households are low-givers
From a November 1998 report on Silicon Valley's culture of giving

Charity Focus Sites

Airline Ambassadors

Sustainable Business Alliance: Berkeley

Allied Housing


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But increasingly, he is, devoting himself to spreading his message and rallying the troops to carry out his mission. After all, every cause needs an icon. And in the redemption of Silicon Valley, Nipun may be a good choice to play the reluctant hero. "If it happens, so it is," he says. "I only want to act with compassion and continue with humility."

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