Mikhail Shelkov – Founder of the Empathy Foundation

Mikhail Yevgenevich Shelkov, entrepreneur, philanthropist and majority shareholder of the VSMPO-AVISMA Corporation, established the Empathy Foundation in 2019.

Shelkov Mikhail, according to Forbes, ranks 29th among the top Russian philanthropists. He also serves on the supervisory boards of socially significant projects and organizations, including the Gorchakov Foundation, MGIMO and the Russian Motorboat Federation. As a graduate of MIPT, Shelkov continues to support his alma mater: for many years, he has been a partner of the Phystech Union and a member of the supervisory board of the Phystech Lyceum and the School of Natural Sciences. Since 2018, Mikhail Shelkov has been a private investor in the creative cluster Oktava, in Tula.

The foundation began with the idea of helping teachers, but never limited itself to that. The founder is delighted to support talented school children, students and other projects in the fields of education, science, culture and art.

Currently, Mikhail Shelkov’s Empathy Foundation focuses on several programs. Since 2020, it has been providing financial support to over 500 educators in Sverdlovsk Region each month, organizing free educational courses for teachers. In 2021, it launched a competition for teachers in Tula Region. The foundation supports talented students, helps school children learn new disciplines for free, and conducts an engineering accelerator program. It also provides targeted support to a correctional school, orphanages, active teachers and top-performing students in Sverdlovsk Region.

Mikhail Yevgenevich Shelkov on teachers and the launch of the support program for educators in Verkhnyaya and Nizhnyaya Salda, Sverdlovsk Region:

Foundation's Areas of Focus

Working with Teachers
Working with Youth

Working with Teachers

“Teachers are the foundation of our society. We want to strengthen this foundation and create a new format for in-demand modern teachers who can set high standards for themselves and their students. By assisting talented young teachers as well as experienced educators in the regions, we not only preserve and develop education but also cultivate a new generation of in-demand graduates and future professionals who will shape our ‘tomorrow’,” noted Mikhail Shelkov, who established the foundation.

That is why some of the foundation’s most extensive projects are aimed at supporting teachers:

  • Support program for teachers in Sverdlovsk Region
  • “Teaching as a Calling” competition for teachers in Tula Region
  • Free educational programs and professional development courses

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Working with Youth

Empathy supports active and talented youth because the organization’s founder believes that the educational process is a team game, where teachers provide help and guidance. It is important for students to see themselves as authors of their own education and take an active role in the process. To this end, Mikhail Shelkov’s foundation organizes the following:

  • Scholarships and grants for gifted graduates and students (MGIMO, MIPT)
  • Engineering accelerator program for students from two cities in Sverdlovsk Region – Masterskaya: Salda 2.0
  • Educational courses in various disciplines, such as programming and space exploration
  • Psychological Workshop – a collaborative project for teachers, parents and students

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Mikhail Shelkov firmly believes that:

“If we didn’t have worthy teachers, we wouldn’t have engineers or astronauts. This means businesses are simply obliged to participate and to do what they can in order to give teachers what they deserve. I expect other regions will follow suit.”