Embracing Sustainable Models: A Philanthropist’s Journey Towards Lasting Impact

Tej Kohli
4 min readJul 24, 2023


As a passionate philanthropist, my journey in the realm of social impact has been a rollercoaster of discovery and learning. Along the way, I’ve come to recognise the transformative potential of sustainable models that go beyond mere short-term fixes.

Rethinking the Traditional Charity Approach

The traditional charity has undoubtedly been a powerful force in addressing immediate needs. However, my experiences have shown that it can sometimes fall short of achieving long-term, sustainable impact. To tackle social problems at their core, we must shift our mindset from quick fixes to holistic, systemic solutions. This change in perspective allows us to address root causes and empower individuals and communities to break free from dependency cycles.

Integrating Economic Viability: A New Frontier

Embracing sustainable models means understanding the value of economic viability in driving positive social impact. Rather than solely relying on donations and grants, these models leverage innovative business strategies to generate revenue and sustain their social initiatives. By blending profit with purpose, we demonstrate that financial sustainability and social impact can indeed go hand in hand, unlocking the untapped potential for change.

Social Entrepreneurship: Profit for a Purpose

One notable sustainable model gaining momentum is social entrepreneurship. These mission-driven initiatives are dedicated to generating social and environmental impact while maintaining financial sustainability.

From offering ethically sourced products to providing valuable services to underserved communities and creating employment opportunities for marginalised individuals, social enterprises prove that profitability can be a powerful tool for creating meaningful change.

A key example of this is the intraocular lens factor that the co-founder of the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation, Dr Ruit, started in Kathmandu. Across the Western World, manufacturing the lens that is required for a cataract operation can cost up to $200, which exacerbates the cost of the surgery itself. However, these lenses of the same quality and function can be produced and sold at a much lower cost creating a sustainable model of manufacturing and cure.

The Challenge of Impact Investing

While impact investing shows great promise, it is crucial to acknowledge some of its challenges. In certain cases, outcomes and impact measurement from the companies involved may be lacking.

We must ensure that impact investing doesn’t become a mere publicity stunt, but instead, truly contributes to solving societal and environmental issues. By emphasising rigorous impact measurement and evaluation, impact investing can reshape the investment landscape and drive meaningful global change.

The Power of Collaboration

As a philanthropist, I’ve come to appreciate the significance of collaboration in addressing today’s complex challenges. Public-private partnerships, cross-sector collaborations, and collective impact initiatives bring together diverse expertise, resources, and perspectives to tackle pressing social and environmental issues. Through collaboration, we can harness the collective power of stakeholders, achieving a greater impact than any individual entity could accomplish alone.

The Path to Effectiveness: Measuring Impact

In our quest for lasting impact, impact measurement and evaluation play a pivotal role. Understanding the true impact of sustainable models is essential to refine strategies for greater effectiveness. By adopting rigorous impact measurement practices, organisations can ensure accountability, transparency, and continuous improvement, ultimately maximising their social and environmental impact.

As a philanthropist, my journey towards sustainable models for social impact has been transformative. I’ve witnessed the power of shifting mindsets, integrating economic viability, and embracing collaborative approaches.

By recognising the challenges of impact investing and emphasising impact measurement, we can create a ripple effect of positive change that reaches far beyond our immediate endeavours. Together, let us continue exploring and supporting sustainable models for social impact, making a lasting difference in the lives of individuals and the future of our planet.

Tej Kohli is a philanthropist, technologist and investor.

Find out more about Tej Kohli: Tej Kohli the technologist investing in human triumph

Learn more about the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation: tejkohliruit.com

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Tej Kohli

Tej Kohli is an investor & philanthropist who is the co-founder of the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation. To find out more visit tejkohli.com or tejkohliruit.com