The Missing Piece
Reflecting on that advice on his late-night commutes home from work, Doshi realized he was missing the commitment to service and social impact he had found at UVA.
On Grounds, Doshi was involved with student organizations like Student Entrepreneurs for Economic Development, or SEED. The group provides consulting services to local and global nonprofit organizations and encourages students to develop startups with a social or humanitarian mission.
“At UVA, the reason I felt great about myself and my life was the many opportunities I had to give back,” he said.
In 2013, within six months of that realization, Doshi – still in his early 20s and holding a full-time job – founded Brighter Children, a nonprofit organization that currently provides scholarships to more than 500 schoolchildren around the world.
The idea was simple: partner with primary schools around the world and raise money to provide scholarships for impoverished children, covering fees, school supplies, books, uniforms, meals and other critical needs. Right now, the organization has partner schools in Colombia, Honduras, India and Kenya.
“Education has always been important to me, and I was shocked that more than 60 million children worldwide do not go to school,” Doshi said. “It’s worth stepping into their shoes, thinking about how it would feel to walk for an hour to school because you can’t afford a bus ticket, or to sit on a damp classroom floor because there are no chairs, or to do your homework under a streetlight because your home does not have electricity.
“These children are equally capable of making an impact in the world. But if they do not learn to read and write, they will miss the boat,” he said. “We want to give them the freedom to dream big and tools to shape their own destiny.”
Creating a Network of ’Hoos
To make Brighter Children happen, Doshi turned to his fellow UVA alumni.
The majority of the members of his founding team were UVA graduates, and many of them are still involved five years later. One of them, Sarah Seo, was also working in investment banking when Doshi proposed the idea. It immediately appealed to her.
“I had always liked volunteering, and I wanted something more than just working all the time,” said Seo, who graduated from the Commerce School in 2013.
Seo is one of three UVA graduates still on the nonprofit’s board of directors, along with Doshi and Suzy Peng. Brighter Children’s advisory board features more ’Hoos, including McIntire School of Commerce professor Amanda Cowen.