In the Community

Thiru Thangarathinam on Family, Philanthropy, and Improving Mental Health in Arizona

July 31, 2023

Thiru Thangarathinam, the CEO of Salesforce Business Unit at Mastek, started from humble beginnings, worked his way up, and is now giving back to Arizonans in a big way through his family trust.

“I came to Phoenix 23 years ago from India with nothing, and the community embraced me,” Thangarathinam said. “My mission is to give back and uplift Arizona.”

The Thiru Family Trust (Trust) will be donating $3.5 million to the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Foundation for Community & Health Advancement (the Foundation) over 30 years. Those dollars will go right back into the community through grant funding.

“I was able to build a business here in Arizona. Without this community, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I don’t separate community from what I do, and it’s important to invest in Arizona through the Trust.”

The Trust provides annual contributions to the Foundation that will increase yearly until 2052. The generous gift will be used to tackle the Foundation’s flagship focus – mental health.

“Mental health resonates with me from two different perspectives. The first stems from my journey of starting a business and experiencing all the challenges and stressors that come with it. At the time, I wasn’t equipped with the necessary tools to strengthen my mental health and because of that, my physical health deteriorated. The second perspective resonates with us all – the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Thangarathinam has two sons and witnessed first-hand the impact the pandemic had on youth mental health.

“I could see the damage the social isolation caused my now 14- and 11-year-olds. I believe it’s going to take time and resources for everyone to recover from that, especially kids because they grow through interaction.”

In 2023, the annual gift the Thiru Family Trust provides will allow the Foundation to prioritize youth mental health by growing its new Thiru Family Trust Momentum Maker Grant opportunity. Each year, this grant will identify a specific area of mental health-related need. This year, the Thiru Family Trust Momentum Maker grant will award a single grant of resources and funding valued at $75,000 to focus on improving mental health in schools because crises like the pandemic exacerbated stress and anxiety for students, teachers, and staff.

“This is where my kids are growing up and going to school. I’m proud to support a grant that aims to impact Arizona students’ mental health in a meaningful way.”

Thangarathinam is no stranger to philanthropy. He’s been involved with Phoenix Children’s Hospital and organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona for years. He decided to broaden his philanthropic efforts by partnering with the Foundation to reach and impact all 15 Arizona counties.

“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona has a deep focus on community across the state. I know the Trust donation to the Foundation will be used to advance community health and serve the greater good. As a family, we feel honored and grateful we’re able to provide resources that will improve mental health in our communities.”

What does Thangarathinam do for his own mental health? Unplug (as much as a CEO can).

“I used to check my phone first thing in the morning. Now I don’t look at it for the first couple of hours. Unless it’s urgent, everything in life can wait. I have better awareness and strive to be intentional with my time.”

Words of wisdom for us all!

To learn more about the Momentum Maker grant, visit: Momentum Maker Grant.



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