Making a difference across generations

Left to right: Sahil, Serena, Nita and Upkar Arora

Like many people, Upkar and Nita Arora felt they had taken care of basic planning — they had wills, insurance and health powers of attorney. But then, an urgent medical issue raised the stakes.

“It forced us to revisit our goals,” says Upkar, “and really talk about how to have an impact with our estate.” They especially wanted to engage their children in the family’s future philanthropy.

They chose Hamilton Community Foundation as their partner “for three reasons,” says Upkar: the quality of its leadership, its innovation and creativity in addressing root causes of inequity, and its responsiveness and ability to act quickly in their particular circumstances.

Nita and Upkar worked with HCF to create the Arora Family Fund, and with input from their daughter and son — both in their 20s — put together its statement of purpose. The fund will focus on improving the lives of individuals in disadvantaged communities, including the needs and inequities that have surfaced so clearly in the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to tackle barriers that marginalized populations encounter, and create opportunities for inclusion and success.

“Serena and Sahil are active in social justice issues and both suggested changes to what we were proposing,” says their father. “They are equal members of the fund’s advisory committee with Nita and me.”

Philanthropy is a family tradition: earlier generations on both sides of the family instilled the values of giving and volunteering. “It’s etched in our upbringing,” says Upkar. The couple always expected to use their estate, whatever size it might be, to take care of community needs as well as their children. But this recent experience shone a different light on it.

“Why wait until after you’re gone?” says Upkar, “especially when community needs are so significant. By doing something now, you can see the difference you’re making and engage the whole family in carrying on the tradition of giving.”