Pasadena Community Foundation Funds

Neil and Sonia Singla Endowment

Sonia and Neil Singla at their Pasadena home

Sonia and Neil Singla created created their named endowment in 2020 to support PCF’s local grant making efforts. They are long-time Pasadena residents with Midwestern roots and a strong sense of community. Sonia is a physician and scientist whose work focuses on the treatment of pain. Neil is the founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Lotus Clinical Research, which he started in 2001 together with Sonia, who serves as Medical Director. They are parents to three children.

The couple supports numerous nonprofit organizations and initiatives, with health care and education topping their passions. Sonia serves on PCF’s Board of Directors, where she has experienced the impact of endowments. The couple created the Sonia and Neil Singla Endowment in December 2020, as Sonia says, because “it offered the chance to make a difference in perpetuity. I’ve seen firsthand what PCF has been able to accomplish thanks to funds from endowments, including the important work with PCF Scholars and seeing the incredible COVID-19 response. An organization can only be as nimble as its endowment – and PCF’s endowments have really helped it respond to current needs.”

Paying It Forward as Children of Immigrants
Sonia and Neil are both children of immigrants – each family is from India – and the couple credits their parents for instilling in them the fundamental values to achieve the American Dream: hard work, education, and civic engagement. Sonia’s father served in the Indian Army for over 15 years before emigrating, initially to Canada, where Sonia was born. The family soon settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where Sonia and her two siblings were raised and enjoyed a quintessential middle-class life. Sonia reminisces that her father, who worked for 40 years at the Ford Motor Co., never said no to overtime, valued all things American, and managed to send three kids to parochial school and then off to college without debt, with help from her mother, who worked as a nurse.

Neil likewise benefited from his parents’ determination to use their skills in their new country. Neil’s mother was the first female in her medical school in India and became an OB/GYN there. After the family emigrated to Dayton, Ohio, she wanted to start a family, so picked the field of pathology knowing that there was little night call. After her children were in high school, she opened her own family medicine clinic and served her neighborhood community for 20 years.

Sonia has spent time thinking about her parents and the ways in which their assimilation, hard work, and an ethos that embraced both community and nation helped shape who she is as an adult. “I always understood how hard they worked, but maybe didn’t appreciate it until I had my own kids. I recognize now that my path, my successes, and my community work were paved by their efforts: It’s a strong sense of ‘pay it forward.’ I think about how we as children of immigrant parents feel, in our every waking breath, a debt of gratitude for their sacrifice. They give us a better life, and we spend the rest of our lives trying to realize that.”

Created December 2020

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