Bhallas’ Act of Charitable Giving Sets Iconic Example for Others to Follow

Sugar Land: Theirs has been a long journey and life has been mostly kind to them as they pursued challenges and passed through its various stages. Along the way, they have met people – the nasty and the good – which helped shape their worldly view and perspective of human nature.

And though they left their ancestral land of India decades ago to come to the US, both Dr Raj and Kanwal Bhalla never forgot the Indian values that they so dearly treasured – of love for family and friends, discipline to forge an identity, culture, food, religion and most of all, to help their fellow men and women.

Dr. Rajinder Pal Singh Bhalla, a veterinarian in the Indian Army, came to the US in 1960 for a year of study and then went back to India.  After Raj retired from the Army, the couple came back to settle with their two young boys in Long Island, New York. Raj went to work at Charles River Labs in Port Washington, Long Island while Kanwal owned and operated an Indian restaurant called Paul’s Mughlai for ten years.  Seventeen years ago, Raj was transferred to Houston and they later retired in the Sugar Land area.

Inducted as a Freemason from an early age, like his father and brothers, Raj became a Master Mason in June 1964, and soon after moving to the area, found a Masonic Lodge in Richmond where he has been honored for his acts of service, generosity and brotherhood. He also found kindred spirits and organizations within the Indian community with whom he worked on many projects and has been an indispensible part of the fabric of the community.

This year, realizing that the corona virus had badly damaged many organizations and depleted many of their resources, the Bhallas decided that the time was right to share their good fortune with those around them. This August, they decided to donate a million dollars to many of their favorite charities, in the hopes that it would encourage others to do so too.

“We decided to do so not to seek any publicity, but in order to encourage and to stimulate the spirit of giving amongst others”, explained Raj Bhalla after they had made the disbursements. “We are not rich by any means but we believe in helping others with whatever we can”. In doing so, they have joined a list of other luminaries who made the same decision – Bill Gates, Ted Turner, William Buffett and Charles Fenney who recently gave away the last of his $8 billion fortune.

Chief among the charities the Bhallas donated to was $500,000 to the Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation who were completely taken aback by this unexpected gift from a total stranger.

Others who received gifts were Sugar Land Legacy Foundation: $100,000; India Culture Center Houston: $100,000; Morton Hall Preservation Society: $100,000; Hearts Fur Paws:$10,000; Kidney Cancer Coalition Inc: $10,000; Ekal Vidyalaya: $5,000; YLDP: $5,000, Indian Senior Citizens Association: $5,000; Indian Muslims Association of Greater Houston: $7,500; Fort Bend Charities: $2,500; Bihar Association of North America: $2,500; Punjabi Culture Center: $5,000; Foundation For Children Cancer Research & Support: $2,500; Arya Samaj of Greater Houston: $10,000; Indian Film Festival of Houston: $5,000; Shri Sita Ram Foundation: $2,500; Baptist General Convention of Texas: $5,000; Indian Performing Arts Samskriti: $5,000; Houston Food Bank: $5,000; Sewa International: $10,000; Hindus of Greater Houston: $5,000; New York Public Radio: $10,000; JDRF: $5,000; Foundation for India Studies: $5,000; Zoroastrian Association of Houston: $5,000; Kennett Education Foundation: $25,000; Gurdwara Sahib of Southwest Houston: $15,000; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: $15,000; Daya: $5,000 and Indian Doctors Club Charitable Foundation: $12,500.