Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Sri Lankan parents and raised in Australia, Malini Saba is a caring woman. When she moved to the U.S. at age 19 she only had $200 to her name. She and her then husband got a small apartment by some noisy railroad tracks near the Stanford University campus and spent for years with the place shaking every time a train went by. Her husband was a student at Stanford so Saba attended lectures there for free.
They were poor and times were hard, but Malini Saba had a growing interest in business and investing. She would sneak into places where investment bankers gathered and talk to them. When she saved a little money, she used their advice and began investing in the real estate, commodities and telecommunications sectors. By the time she founded her investment company, Saban, she had stock in Sycamore Networks, Netscreen Technologies, PayPal Inc. and about 20 other Silicon Valley tech companies. Her company also invested in real estate in Australia and India and oil and gas companies in China.
These days Malini Saba considered one of the top investors in the world of South Asian origin and is a very wealthy woman. She’s also a committed philanthropist. To change how at-risk, low-income women and children see their role in society and themselves, she founded the non-profit ‘Stree: Global Investments in Women‘ in 2001. With the support of Jordon’s Queen Noor and Bill Clinton, the former U.S. president, Stree helps women gain access to healthcare and legal empowerment. It also helps grassroots movements in Africa, Central America, Eastern Europe and India to connect with public policy powerbrokers.
Malini Saba is also known for giving generous gifts to charitable causes. She pledged $10 million to help victims in India and Sri Lanka whose communities were devastated by the tsunami in 2004. Saba help build El Camino Hospital’s Heart Research Center in Mountain View, California with a $1 million donation. It is the first facility of its kind in the world that’s dedicated to South Asian people. Her non-profit donated almost $500,000 to earthquake victims in Ecuador, provides scholarships for school-aged girls in Ghana and thousands of blankets and tents for the homeless in New York City.
Stree also supports orphanages in Laos and Sri Lanka and helps provide safe places to live, healthcare and educational opportunities for children throughout the developing world.