That interpersonal approach to giving is what also characterizes the Dalal Family Foundation’s philanthropic relationship with Middlesex College, which began in 2017 when it established an endowed scholarship for students seeking business degrees. The Dalal Family Foundation has given generously over the past 5 years, providing both immediate scholarship awards and long-term investment to preserve an endowment for future students.
The focus on business programs was a natural fit for the Dalals who, as a family of entrepreneurs, started their company, TLI Home, a leading manufacturer, importer, and supplier of on-trend home décor products serving leading North American retailers, more than 25 years ago.
“As a family business, we understand how critical business management, entrepreneurship and marketing are to commerce. You can have engineers and a lot of other professions, but at the end of the day, you need a business to be employed in those professions and you need to be able to market yourself and your services,” explained Nayan, the company’s CEO.
About the same time TLI Home was formed, Nayan established the Dalal Family Foundation. The family’s business and foundation are intertwined with each informing the other. The Dalal Family Foundation is essentially the corporate giving arm of TLI Home.
“I’ve been saving a portion of the profits from my business for many years to build the corpus for my foundation. Our family belief is very simple: it’s profit with purpose and growth with goodness,” he said.
“When I see the impact of our foundation’s work, that really inspires me to continue to work hard in my business. The company’s success allows us to do more foundation work and give it more stability. So, essentially, the foundation gives a whole different meaning to my professional, business journey.”
The foundation maintains offices in South Plainfield, NJ and Mumbai, India, and focuses on five key areas for support in the U.S. and India: education, women empowerment, disability, senior citizens, and medical benefits.
Investments in education like scholarships for Middlesex College students, according to Nayan, can have a broad impact beyond the individual recipient.
“One person can impact the whole family and the community and society at large. Education is a stepping stone for any journey. So, it’s beautiful to invest in students.”
The Dalals take the long view with regard to their relationship with the College, which in many ways has come full circle.
While the Dalal Family Foundation’s relationship with Middlesex College began in 2017, the Dalals themselves have a personal connection to the College that goes back to when they began their lives in New Jersey more than three decades ago.
“TLI Home was born in Fords, in the basement of our townhouse. We had a choice to have our office in New York or New Jersey, and we chose South Plainfield because it is very centrally located, just 60 minutes from New York City, the community is very diverse, and it’s a wonderful place to raise a family.”
It was around this time that Nayan’s wife, Bindu enrolled at Middlesex College to prepare to become a registered dietician.
“That’s how we got introduced to what was then Middlesex County College,” Nayan shared.
Fast forward to 2016, the Dalals visited campus when their elder son, who was in high school at the time, played a tennis tournament at the College’s Edison campus.
“The campus was so beautiful and we became nostalgic and thought about our mission to support education, and said ‘why not?’ Charity begins at home. Our roots and connections are with Middlesex College.”
Impressed by the College’s campus infrastructure, programs and welcoming environment, the Dalals were inspired to add their support toward the College’s growth.
“The generosity and spirit of giving back of the Dalals is inspirational. A strong educational foundation can change lives. I am thankful for alumni like Bindu Dalal and for successful business owners like Nayan and Bindu Dalal who believe in the transformational power of education and that charity begins at home,” said Middlesex College President Mark McCormick.
For the Dalals, the commitment to and investment in Middlesex College goes well beyond a one-time gift.
“We value our partnership with Middlesex College and the Middlesex College Foundation,” Nayan said. “We have a great relationship, and it is only going to grow in the years to come. As Middlesex College grows, we are there to support their growth in every way we can.”