Sir Dorabji Tata Trust was established by Sir Dorabji Tata who donated all his worldly possessions to the Trust. Now known as the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Allied Trusts, the entity comprises the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, the Jamsetji Tata Trust, the R.D. Tata Trust, the J.R.D. Tata Trust, the Tata Education Trust, the Tata Social Welfare Trust, the J.R.D. and Thelma J. Tata Trust, the J.N. Tata Endowment for the Higher Education of Indians, the Lady Tata Memorial Trust and the Lady Meherbai D. Tata Education Trust.

Five of these Trusts have sharply defined mandates. While the J.N. Tata Endowment offers promising Indian students loan scholarships for postgraduate studies abroad, the J.R.D. Tata Trust gives scholarships for studies in India. The Lady Tata Memorial Trust offers scientific scholarships, both national and international, for supporting research in leukaemia and blood related diseases and towards the alleviation of human suffering from other diseases. Additionally, a Young Researcher Award is given annually for a 5 year post doctoral research project. The Lady Meherbai D. Tata Trust scholarships are offered to young Indian women graduates for pursuing higher studies abroad and the J.R.D. and Thelma J. Tata Trust focuses on the health and education of women and children. The rest of the Trusts share a common agenda. The Jamsetji Tata Trust, the Tata Education Trust, the Tata Social Welfare Trust and the R.D. Tata Trust focus on overall developmental issues.

Nevertheless, an underlying principle for all the Trusts is a firm commitment to empowering the financially weak or socially backward sections of society.

The Trusts’ initiatives are based on three streams of philanthropy:
• Grants to institutions set up or significantly facilitated by the Trusts
• Grants to Non Government Organisations (NGOs) and other civil society institutions
• Assistance to individuals
• The Trusts also support research projects which are preferably action oriented, which contribute to knowledge-building, research that strengthens concrete development interventions. This could be research, dedicated to capacity building of the implementers; the refinement of existing programmes; cost-effective solutions to felt problems; and understanding the impact of the supported projects. The Trusts favour highly specific, applied research by implementing partners who devise better solutions to pressing problems, merged with their larger project support.