As the founder of EdelGive Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Edelweiss Group, a leading financial services conglomerate with an asset base of $4.8 billion, Vidya Shah seeks to build a bridge between the users and providers of philanthropic capital by exporting the skills and strategies of the for-profit world to the social sector. Inspired by the notion that philanthropy is best served when organizations work collaboratively, EdelGive puts a significant amount of focus on building a tight network of nonprofits, philanthropists, foundations, and corporations to scale impact and benefit many more people in need. “We have never viewed our effort through the narrow lens of a one-to-one relationship of funder and fundee,” she wrote in Edelgive’s 2015 annual report. “Rather, we have engaged quite doggedly in creating a community of people interested in learning and working together.”
Vidya graduated from the Bombay University, and received an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. She spent the first decade of her career with ICICI Bank, Peregrine, and NM Rothschild advising corporations on M&A transactions. She was one of Edelweiss Group’s early employees and later became its CFO.
Vidya began her philanthropic journey by writing checks, like many others. However, she soon found herself traveling and personally searching for nonprofit projects in education, livelihoods and women empowerment. In 2008, she founded EdelGive, as a way to bring more structure-and a more embedded approach--to Edelweiss’ philanthropic initiatives.