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NRI Florida Dr. Couple donate $18.5-million to University
An $18.5-million donation and a state match, totaling $34.5-million, will allow USF to build the Patel Center

CHARITY - Philanthropic physicians make US, India proud

The University of South Florida, has received donation worth $34.5 million, the biggest in its 49 years, from an Indian-American doctor couple. It is a one of its kind in the history of the university, and would help the name of the university to figure in the list of research universities in the world. Dr Kiran Patel and his wife, Dr Pallavi Patel have given the gift to construct the Kiran C Patel Center for Global Solutions on USF's Tampa campus

NRI, Dr.Patel who is 57 years old is a member of the board of trustee the University of South Florida. He will, together with his wife Dr, Pallavi Patel, donate $18.5-million. The donation from Patels will make the university entitled to get state matching funds of $16-million according to the university officials. So together the donation would be worth $34.5-million.
The idea behind building this center is to allow foreign researchers to meet and study topics on issues like international trade. The Patel center will be the first of its kind in the state. The researchers would get an opportunity to discuss different global concerns such as health, economic development, safety, environmental sustainability and culture.
The Patel Center on Fowler Avenue across the street from the Museum of Science & Industry hopes to include four pavilions for resident research scholars, a conference hall to accommodate 500 to 600 people, classrooms, research offices, and also a center for the visiting dignitaries. It will have an executive director, visiting fellows and graduate students.
The university is rejoicing at the gift from Patel who was born in Africa and educated in India. He has earned a name for himself and made millions as a health care executive in Florida. According to the President of USF Judy Genshaft, this donation would help the university to reach among the nations top 50 research universities. The huge donation will help to make the university distinct from the others across the globe. This is a very rare chance and the university should take up this challenge to make the best of it.
With the funding from the Patel family and fellow donors Ted Couch and Citigroup, the Charter School and Pediatric Clinic was opened in October 2003, on the campus of the University of South Florida. The school is specifically designed to meet the needs of susceptible children, having problems at home and/or developmental problems that make it difficult for them to succeed in public classrooms. This school offers additional support and assistance to these children, enhancing their chance of success and ultimately allowing them to make progress into the standard school system.
USF became the first public university in the country to establish a charter school. The school has integrated different teaching methods, an all-inclusive interdisciplinary syllabus, and continuous assessment of the student development with full involvement of parents to support at-risk students. It takes advantage of the knowledge of teaching staff and doctoral students of USF on psychology, social work, speech and language therapy, math, sciences and education. They work in collaboration with other agencies including social services, mental health, childcare providers and health services.
The Dr. Pallavi Patel Pediatric Clinic is also located within this 14,000 square foot facility. Presently the school has housed its 155 students at the Museum of Science & Industry across the street. The Principal Geri Kelly is exited about the donation. He feels that a bigger and better space will enable children to spread out. He is confident that they will then be able to do “great things”
Patel has also contributed $3 million to the Pepin Heart Hospital’s research institute, which will be named after him. The Kiran C. Patel Research Institute will be affiliated to USF.
Dr Kiran Patel and his wife, Dr Pallavi Patel did their advanced specializations in New York at Columbia University: he in cardiology, and she in pediatrics after arriving in US on Thanksgiving Day in 1976. They then moved to Tampa Bay in 80s and set up their practice.
Kiran’s private cardiology practice in Tampa Bay not only earned him great respect as a physician but also led him towards his unique dream of the future of medical care – managed healthcare. He started a physician’s practice ownership and Management Company that helped to expand practices in 14 places serving some 8000 patients in different aspects such as including family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and cardiology. This led to their involvement with Wellcare HMO, Inc., and Kiran became chairman of the board. WellCare grew to become the second largest HMO in Florida under is guidance serving more than 200,000 members. In 1999, Dr. Kiran C. Patel acquired the New York HMO, which was in trouble, and brought the two companies together under the name WellCare Management Group. It served more than 400,000 members, employed some 1200 people and had a turn over of over $1 billion.
Kiran Patel was inducted to the University Of South Florida Board Of Trustees by Florida’s Governor in 2003. In the following year, he received the Cultural Contributor of the Year Award from the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
Currently, Dr. Pallavi is focused on her growing family medicine practice. She supervises 10 clinics of Bay Area Primary Care along with her two daughters and son-in-law. Dr. Pallavi also serves as President of a non-profit organization called the Patel Foundation for Global Understanding, where her husband is the Chairman. The Foundation is involves in a wide range of activities from health to education, arts and culture
In 2003, the Patels sold their share in the management care business so as to devote more attention to their philanthropic ventures. In the course of the year, Dr. Kiran Patel became the President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI). This enabled to take up many humanitarian projects in India with the aim of improving access to medical facilities, construction of hospitals, etc. Earlier, during the Gujarat earthquake, Dr. Patel had helped in uniting the efforts of the Tampa Bay community and AAPI that resulted in rehabilitation of villager’s homes and construction of an orphanage, a school and four hospitals. This year, when the fourth hospital was being inaugurated, a tsunami devastated the Eastern shores of South India. The couple have matched the contributions of the Tampa Bay community have now placed in action secondary relief plans to build schools
The couple together sponsors a U.S. Scholarship fund for underprivileged youth attending college. They are also involved in the funding of IMAGINE – a project teaching philanthropic entrepreneurship to young leaders, USF CHART-India Program that aims at HIV/AIDS prevention, awareness, research and treatment in both rural and urban India.
“My father is my inspiration for the philanthropy,” Patel says. “He always would like to do the best he could in his own power financially as well as with his time.” This son and his family have definitely followed the path of philanthropy that his father showed by example.
In 2003, the Patels formed the nonprofit Foundation for Global Understanding, which is run out of a suite in an office park in Tampa. “Many people have a desire to do things, but sometimes they don't have the means to do it. For me, I always had the desire, and I was doing whatever I could. My dad had started a foundation, and I had piggybacked with that. Now, means-wise, I'm in a better position. So my thought is to structure something that when we are both gone will be in existence and doing whatever we want it to do. We are blessed because we have three kids. Two of them are physicians, and a son who graduated from Babson College in Massachusetts, so they're not going to need my money. My kids always say that they don't need my money, have been acting independently and staying on their own two feet, he says
“There is a saying that if you can preserve your wealth for three generations, you must have done something good. You know, we believe in karma, but most of the time what happens is once you achieve material wealth, you divert from spirituality, ethics and morality, and that's the downfall of people. The first generation must be somebody who works very, very hard to get somewhere. That may be passed on to the next generation because of the circumstances they grew up in. But by the third generation, when they are loaded with a lot of money and material resources, they forget how hard it is, how difficult it is. If the work ethic remains the same, if you put in enough energy, you're bound to be successful. Not every time, but at least it will not be a pathetic failure where you end up in real bad situations: drugs, alcohol and women. So my emphasis was always to try to ensure (the children) were well-grounded in these ethical and moral aspects.”
He adds: “I think religion in everybody's life is important. There are very few people who are atheists. But going to church and being spiritual are two different things. I don't believe that merely because you kneel down and pray or bow down that you are a spiritual man. I think how you act is more important in your day-to-day life. What are your actions? Do they speak of spirituality? That's more important than the symbolic visit on a weekly basis or reading the Bhagawad Gita, Koran or the Bible. Our general focus should be on health, education and the culture aspect. And empowering people must be top priority. If you can get them a good education and good mind, I think you're getting them there.”


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Dr. Kiran Patel, with his wife, Pallavi, says that as the world shrinks we need solutions across national boundaries. At the $62.5-million Patel Center, foreign leaders will gather and researchers will study global hunger and international trade.