When Prabir Mehta and his family moved to Richmond from Gujarat, India, in 1988, they came with nothing. He watched while his parents worked different jobs, doing whatever it took to support him and his brother.
“They’re my absolute heroes,” he says. “They planted that seed and showed me that the individual can make a difference.”
Creative and idealistic, Mehta attended Virginia Commonwealth University, where he studied music, philosophy and urban planning. He also quickly became known around town as a talented pop musician and songwriter with touring bands such as the Substitutes and today, Goldrush.
A decade ago, Mehta got involved as the first board president at the nonprofit Gallery5, where he’s remained on the board ever since. There, he began to find his niche as a facilitator and someone who could provide creative input while opening up opportunities for others.
He started a marketing and consulting company called My Glasses Rule, which provides content creation, marketing and event planning for groups including the Science Museum of Virginia, Gather, Classical Revolution RVA and WCVE public radio — where he’s produced the weekly science minute on “Morning Edition” for the past three years.
“I more or less only work with nonprofits or community organizations,” Mehta says. Among many projects, he’s created an annual music festival, Ghost of Pop, to benefit the shelter and supportive housing provider HomeAgain and GiveThanksRVA, an effort to raise money for local charities.
After being badly injured in a mugging while on his bike last year, Mehta received a dose of good karma after years of giving back to the community. While he was in the hospital without insurance, supporters quickly raised more than $10,000 online, which helped him continue to pay his home bills while recuperating. Since the incident, he’s dealt with all the traumatic feelings that come with being a victim of violent crime.
“First I had to get a car, but now I’m able to physically walk around and bike again,” he says. “At first it was hard, but I’ve really put mandates on myself where I promise I’m going to walk 3 miles and run into people. You have to deal with it. I refuse to have the first 34 years of my life be a lie. I have to take this bad thing and make something good out of it.”