Dr. Satya Mitra has worked hard to find the answer to what his purpose of being is.

Dr. Mitra turned to his guru, who serves as almost a priest within his community. Dr. Mitra said that gurus give life direction and guidance advice to people. The guru told him to share his success and help others around him. 

On vacation, Dr. Mitra and his wife, Sheema, were mugged while in Brazil. Sheema was brutally beaten up. This sparked the start of a movement for Dr. Mitra. He didn’t want that to happen to others. “It was so that nobody goes through the same situation as my wife,” he said. “That kind of was the beginning.”

And that’s when it hit—the answer to his purpose. Helping those in need in his local and global communities. Dr. Mitra and his wife started a school of self-defense for women, educating with a free course that has already trained around 500 women and girls in Worcester.

“I always think that our life is not just for ourselves,” Dr. Mitra said. “We have a responsibility for someone else, maybe an individual, maybe your city or state or the whole world […] Some people are doctors. Some people are engineers. But everybody has a responsibility to deliver.”

Dr. Mitra came to the United States in 1976 in hopes of pursuing a career in biomedical research in Louisville. Six years later, he moved to Worcester to work at a research institute. He went on to eventually serve as a tax consultant, financial planner, and investment advisor.

“The culture was so different from the south to the northeast,” Mitra said. “Many friends of mine wanted me to get involved with money-making ventures.”

Today, Dr. Mitra is the President and CEO of The Guru Tax & Financial Services, Inc. He’s a member of the Planning Board of the City of Worcester as well as a board member of many local organizations in the local community including the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Worcester State University Foundation, Tower Hill Botanical Garden, Worcester Rotary Club, and PACE Universal Foundation, CA.

Dr. Mitra and his wife started the Joy Guru Humanitarian Services, Inc., to honor the guru who told him he could use his success to help the rest of the community. “Joy” means “victorious” in Dr. Mitra’s native language, and of course, in English it also means “happiness.”

“We thought maybe we should start a formal foundation to help more, not only the self-defense class,” he said. “We wanted to help blind people, homeless, poor students […] We’re really blessed that we’re able to continue to help in different functions and activities and need.”

Beyond the self-defense classes, the foundation provides services for the blind, to combat poverty, help the homeless, empower women and girls, and promote good citizenship. 

For Dr. Mitra, the eye exams and help that the foundation provides to the visually impaired mean the most. Growing up in India, his father became blind as an adult. While the medical cause of his blindness was treatable, there was not enough money to afford the help. Dr. Mitra’s father died without regaining his sight.

Today, Joy Guru initiatives provide audio journals to help inform and empower the visually impaired.

“There is a huge speaker in the senior center in Worcester so that the elderly can listen to the news while these volunteers read it,” Mitra said. “It’s just such a joy to see these people—who otherwise can’t do things like read—are able to know about what’s going on in the world.”

Dr. Mitra has supported surgeries for the elderly in Kenya and India who have been blind for years. “For one lady, after the surgeon was done, he asked me to come and the daughter to stand in front of the lady,” he recalled. “He took off the eye bandages, and she saw her daughter. The joy she had on that day—that moment still makes me cry.”

In May of last year, Joy Guru Humanitarian continued its work in India by donating $50,000 to hospitals to help serve COVID-19 patients. The money went toward purchasing oxygen concentrators, humidifiers, PPE, and many other essential medical supplies. 

“They were not quite prepared for it, and all of a sudden people didn’t have oxygen while people were gasping for air,” Dr. Mitra said, adding that he was able to help support a hospital in Kolkata, India. “When you see that you’re far from home and are still able to help people with that kind of support […] our goal is to help our community—whether it is worldwide or in our City of Worcester.”

Dr. Mitra and the foundation combat poverty by providing food, clothing, medicine, and education to the poor and disadvantaged. They support the homeless population in the same way, hosting programs such as the 12 Days of Christmas, a feeding program to serve hundreds of meals with holiday spirit.

In addition to these services, the Mitra’s and the Joy Guru work to promote the idea of giving back to society and impacting communities in a positive way. He said he’d like to “restore hope” in everyone, ultimately providing and supporting initiatives in the area to help others. In September, for example, Joy Guru donated $50,000 to welcome Afghan refugees to Worcester. The organization is also planning a Charity on Wheels, Coast-to-Coast program in the spring, which would include stops across the country to organizations like homeless centers and schools to contribute money and support where there are needs.

“If there’s one goal that I want to give to every entrepreneur is that the true essence of entrepreneurship is giving back to the community,” Dr. Mitra said. “If we are making all of the money today and enjoying our own lives with the earnings we have, I don’t think that is the truest success of entrepreneurship. True success is when you share your success with the community.” 

To give back to Joy Guru Humanitarian Services, a-tax deductible donation can be made at joyguru.org or sent to 446 Main Street, 16th Floor, Worcester, MA 01608. 


Monica Sager is a correspondent for the Chamber. To reach the Chamber’s editorial staff, please contact Dominique Goyette-Connerty by email here.

This story was originally published in the February 2022 edition of Chamber Exchange: The Newspaper, a quarterly publication of the Chamber. All newspaper editions are archived here.