Last month, Meera Mehta celebrated her 13th birthday by inviting her friends to her home. But unlike other children of her age, Mehta asked her friends to substitute gifts with money, which she raised for the Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care Trust as part of the 9th annual Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM).
Days before the marathon, United Way of Mumbai, which is the official charity partner of the marathon, has already raised Rs 12.2 crore for 222 non-profit organisations.
"We are expecting to raise Rs 14 crore by Sunday, which is the day of the marathon. The Mumbai marathon is the largest philanthropic event of the country," said Jayanti Shukla, executive director, United Way of Mumbai.
Last year, the marathon had raised Rs 12.16 crore for 179 non-profit organisations. While last year, there were 158 corporate teams, the number has risen to 223 this year.
This year, Procam International, the marathon organiser, introduced an easy-to-use model for raising charity funds.
"We wanted more people to make their contributions and support a cause. Thus, we introduced online donation pages and made the entire submission procedure simpler," said Vivek Singh, joint managing director, Procam International. "The marathon is organised with the hope to strengthen and promote communal harmony," he added.
Like Mehta, singer Shaan will create awareness about the ill effects of tobacco by raising money for the Salaam Bombay Foundation. "The marathon is a great platform to raise awareness about social causes. Like Meera, even I will ask my friends to donate some money on my upcoming 40th birthday, for the next marathon," said Shaan.