If I’d started questioning what I was doing

canada goose uk black friday The guest list was as glittering as it was esoteric. Supermodel Lily Cole, clad in a feather trimmed shirtdress, chatted animatedly with former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman; Dame Vivienne Westwood posed alongside fellow fashion designer Milla Jovovich; EasyJet boss Sir Stelios Haji Ioannou shared a table with Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) and soul diva Joss Stone, who wowed in plunging scarlet. canada goose uk black friday

So much for the glitz. Sprinkled among the other stars, such as Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova and Carol Vorderman, were business big hitters, who helped raise the average net worth of the evening’s participants to a recession defiant billion apiece. And they had all come to London’s Dorchester Hotel on a windy weeknight, braving protesters waving banners saying ‘Tax the rich’ thanks to Renu Mehta.

Renu, 39, may not be a household name, but the super rich have her on speed dial. She is queen of the new breed of ‘philanthropreneurs’, the founder of the Fortune Forum, a campaigning organisation that acts as a kind of charity marriage broker, matching up good causes with billionaires.

Her pulling power exceeds that of other do gooders because those billionaires are mostly her friends anyway. And it doesn’t hurt that she has been blessed with the glossy glamour of an Indian Penlope Cruz. She is, as Sir Bob Geldof puts it, ‘one hot chick’.

A couple of weeks after her Dorchester event, which canada goose uk outlet was held to launch a campaign to persuade the government to offer 50 per cent tax breaks to stimulate charitable giving, we meet in the trendy Hoxton Hotel, a stone’s throw from her charity HQ. She sails in on vertiginous rose pink sandals and clutches a matching Chanel bag, with glossy dark hair cascading down her Donna Karan clad back. canada goose mens uk ‘I’ll have the monkfish,’ she announces briskly. It is only a few years since she was a card carrying socialite, and it shows.

Renu is the daughter of Indian textiles magnate Vijay Mehta. Brought up in the family home in Chigwell (she has a faint but unmistakable Essex girl accent), Renu studied at the London College of Fashion, then modelled for 18 months before joining her family’s fashion firm Sphere, which supplies stores such as Topshop. ‘It was a very cushy number,’ she confesses. By night, she was a fixture in the hottest new clubs and restaurants.

cheap canada goose uk ‘One thing I did have was an amazing set of friends a powerful, privileged group I thought I could do something with’ cheap canada goose uk

canada goose coats on sale Despite the champagne fuelled schmoozing and the trips to Paris and Milan, her job had begun to bore her by the time she hit 35. ‘We were doing high fashion and my style is classic rather than edgy, so I wasn’t very interested,’ she says. ‘I wouldn’t say that I was bad at my job I had a great eye for picking up trends but I didn’t feel satisfied with my life. I hadn’t achieved anything meaningful.’ You suspect she’d have plunged into uk canada goose jackets motherhood if she hadn’t been single. Instead, she took the socialite’s other well trodden route to personal fulfilment and decided to do something for ‘charidee’, agreeing to organise an event in support of the Countryside Alliance. canada goose coats on sale

As she freely cheap canada goose admits, she wasn’t driven by a burning passion for the issues ‘I’m not a hunter,’ she says, unnecessarily (you’ve never seen anyone more urban in your life). But she borrowed glam London club Annabel’s for the night and, in three weeks, put together a glittering bash. Eric Clapton and Jools canadian goose jacket Holland were among the 165 attendees, and the event raised around 100,000.

‘I’d never put on an event before, and it was a glimpse of what was possible,’ she says. ‘I thought, if I can raise this much money in one evening, what could I do if I dedicated my canada goose outlet online uk full attention to the causes?’ A month later, she decided to resign from her job to devote herself full time to her new interest.

In fact, her change of direction is not as extraordinary as it might seem. Some 15 years ago her father handed over his successful business to his sons in order to concentrate on peace activism.

As a child, Renu was encouraged to think about the less fortunate and cheap canada goose parka was, she says, spoon fed the philosophies of Mahatma Ghandi. In addition, the fact that her brother Vimal has Down’s syndrome has made her more does canada goose have black friday sales sensitive to the problems of other people. ‘When we went to India, I remember https://www.thebookstop.biz seeing the poverty,’ she says. ‘I understood the gap between the rich and the poor, and I was silenced. You only have to see poverty once I went to Ethiopia, and the scenes were the same, only the colour of the skin was different.’ So she didn’t have far to go for advice on her new career in philanthropy. ‘I said to my dad, “I want to give back, but I don’t know how to go about it.”‘

Vijay recommended that his daughter spend a year reading around the complex issues. She picked out a single book, The World Ahead by Federico Mayor, which gave an overview of conditions in the developing world. ‘I was so moved,’ she says, ‘by the world’s inequity, the fact that half of humanity is living on less than a dollar a day. It’s not too difficult to imagine the horror stories that come with that.’ Having ascertained that the major issues facing humanity are disease, climate change and poverty, she then decided that her organisation would tackleall of them at once.

Canada Goose sale ‘I realised from reading that one book that all of these issues are interrelated,’ she says blithely, ‘so they needed to be addressed together. Governments, charities and the private sector were all working separately, but what we needed was a concerted response.’ Canada Goose sale

Canada Goose online This all comes across as so outrageously naive that I find it hard not to smirk. A 30 something fashionista ridding the world of canada goose outlet calgary all its major problems? It’s a statement worthy of the Miss World contestant she resembles. ‘I do look back and laugh myself,’ Renu acquiesces, ‘but I didn’t have any self doubt. I was just so excited. If I’d started questioning what I was doing, it would have held me back. I wanted just to get on with it.’ Canada Goose online

Having trawled through her impressive address book, she set up her charity with half a million of her own money, and called it the Fortune Forum ‘because it was a network of my fortunate friends.

I felt that one thing I did have was an amazing set of friends a very powerful, privileged group of people I thought I could do something with. But I didn’t know what.’ Then, a month after her Annabel’s party, she was flying home from holiday in Sardinia when one of her ‘uncles’ (billionaire Gopi Hinduja) mentioned that he was going to the Clinton Global Initiative. ‘I said, “That’s it. I’m going to get Clinton to launch the Fortune Forum. I need a big name for the first event.”‘ Luckily another family friend, Sant Chatwal, was a trustee of the Clinton Foundation and was able to shove Renu’s idea beneath the ex president’s nose.

Renu flew to New York, met Clinton’s chief of staff and, for a fee (rumoured to be $400,000), bagged her big fish. After that, filling the tables was easy: Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones and the Sultan of Brunei all attended and the event raised 1.1 million. But half of that was swallowed up by the event’s costs. This persuaded Renu to change her approach. ‘I realised canada goose elrose parka uk that by fundraising I could help a couple of thousand people but by changing policy, I could help millions.’

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economist Sir James Mirrlees, the aim is to entice us (and particularly

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Critics say it’s shameful that the wealthy need incentives to persuade them to contribute, but Renu says they are ill informed. In any case, since the new tax rate was unveiled at the last budget, she’s having to rethink the idea. ‘It’s more crucial than ever to offer incentives because charitable giving is bound to go down when people’s net worth has fallen by as much as 40 per cent during the recession.’.