The Power of Giving: Mikhail Shelkov’s Story of Educational Philanthropy

Mikhail Shelkov is a successful Russian businessman who has made significant achievements in his career. He was born in Moscow in 1968 and graduated from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology with a degree in molecular and chemical physics. Нe began his career in the banking sector and quickly climbed the career ladder. He became the head of Eurosibbank at the age of 26 and later moved to a senior position at the Russian Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

In 2001, Shelkov became the head of the Prominvest investment company. In this position, he was responsible for the management of a number of enterprises critical for the national economy. He also became the majority shareholder and deputy chairman of the board of directors of the full-cycle titanium corporation VSMPO-AVISMA – the world leader in titanium production. Its products are purchased by a quarter of all countries on the globe. What is more, he is also the proud owner of Samara Metallurgical Plant (SMZ), a leading global aluminum producer.

Shelkov has been included in the Forbes Top-200 Russian entrepreneurs starting in 2017. He has since risen from the very bottom of the list to the 29th position. He is a successful businessman, but he is also a philanthropist. He is the founder of the Empathy Charitable Foundation, which supports educational, cultural and social projects.

The entrepreneur is an inspiration to others. He is living proof that anyone can achieve great things if they are willing to work hard and never give up. He is a role model for young people and shows them that it is possible to succeed in business while also giving back to the community. Shelkov’s story is a reminder that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

Empathy Foundation

The Empathy Foundation is a non-profit organization, established in 2019 by Mikhail Shelkov, deputy chairman of the board of directors of the PJSC VSMPO-AVISMA Corporation. The foundation’s mission is to support socially significant projects in the fields of education, science, culture and art.

In an exclusive interview, Shelkov articulated his vision, stating, “Our teachers hold the future of our society in their hands.” Rather than creating elite schools that serve only a privileged few, Shelkov believes in the power of universal access to education and only educators can make this work.

One of the foundation’s main programs provides financial support to teachers in the Sverdlovsk region. Since 2020, the foundation has provided more than $2.3 million to teachers in the region. Through the foundation’s program, every teacher in the towns of Verkhnyaya and Nizhnyaya Salda is eligible to receive an additional monthly 50% bonus to their salaries. Since its inception, this program has already disbursed over $600 000, benefiting 550 teachers and providing them with the much-needed financial stability to excel in their profession.

The “Teaching as a Calling!” competition, conducted in collaboration with the Tula authorities and the Empathy Foundation, is focused on celebrating the pedagogical skills of talented teachers. The competition aims to support and uncover the creative potential of these exceptional educators, ultimately driving innovation in the classroom.

Recognizing the importance of continuous professional development to prevent burnout and enhance skills, the Empathy Foundation regularly initiates free refresher courses for teachers. These programs cover a range of relevant topics that teachers themselves determine, encompassing everything from IT to soft skills. The success of these programs is evident, with an ever-increasing number of teachers actively participating and benefiting from the opportunities provided.

In addition to transforming the education system, Shelkov’s foundation is diligently focused on aiding talented school children and students. The Empathy Foundation’s most ambitious projects in this realm have garnered significant attention. For instance, in 2021, the foundation launched the “Workshop – Salda 2.0” youth engineering accelerator, where school children worked on projects to improve their cities. The foundation also supports the “Gifted Girls and Brainy Boys” Olympiad, which provides scholarships to gifted children from the various regions in Russia.

The Empathy Foundation is having a meaningful impact on educators and learners in Russia. Through their efforts, they are elevating the standard of education in the nation and equipping youth with the necessary tools for success in the modern era.

Oktava Creative Industrial Cluster: A Hub for Creativity and Innovation in Tula

The Oktava Creative Industrial Cluster is a unique project in Tula, Russia, that combines cognitive and creative components. The brainchild of philanthropist Mikhail Shelkov, the cluster was created to provide a space for all active residents of the city to gather for recreation, learning and creativity.

The cluster is located on the site of the former Oktava acoustic equipment plant, whose microphones are still used by popular singers and artists around the world. Shelkov’s vision was to preserve the industrial atmosphere of the site while also creating a modern, welcoming space for people of all ages.

The cluster is home to a variety of facilities, including a multimedia interactive Machine Tool Museum, a sound studio, a technical library and a co-working space. There are also numerous workshops and clubs for children and adults, as well as a variety of events and activities that are held on a regular basis.

The Oktava Creative Industrial Cluster has quickly become a popular destination for residents of Tula and its guests. It is a place where people can come together to learn, create and be inspired. The cluster is also an invaluable resource for the local community, providing a space for businesses and people to grow and connect.

Shelkov’s vision for the Oktava Creative Industrial Cluster is an inspiring one. He has created a space that is both educational and entertaining, and which is open to everyone. The cluster is a valuable asset for Tula, and it is sure to continue to grow and thrive in the years to come. His work is making a real difference in the lives of people in Russia. He is an inspiration to others, and his work is helping to build a brighter future for the country.

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