Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath signs Giving Pledge, commits to donate 50% of his wealth

Kamath, the only Indian signatory on the list this year, and the youngest philanthropist among pledgers from India, has committed to use his money towards causes including climate change, education and health care

Divya J Shekhar
Published: Jun 6, 2023 01:57:44 PM IST
Updated: Jun 6, 2023 02:00:55 PM IST

Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath signs Giving Pledge, commits to donate 50% of his wealthAbout 241 philanthropists from 29 countries have signed the Giving Pledge so far and Nikhil Kamath, co-founder of Zerodha, is the youngest Indian philanthropist on the list. Image: Nishant Ratnakar for Forbes India

Nikhil Kamath, 35, the co-founder of Zerodha, India’s biggest stock brokerage in terms of volume of trade, has signed the Giving Pledge, an initiative that was founded by Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates in 2010. The Pledge is a global commitment made by wealthy individuals and their families to give away a majority of their wealth towards charitable causes, either during their lifetime or in their wills.

“Despite my age, I am committed to positively impacting the world,” says Kamath in his pledge letter. “The mission of creating a more equitable society aligns with my values and aspirations.” He has committed to give away 50 percent of his wealth, and is interested in contributing towards areas including climate change, education and health care.

Kamath is the youngest Indian philanthropist on the Giving Pledge, and the only Indian in the list of signatories this year. The other Indians who have signed the Pledge in the past include Rohini and Nandan Nilekani, founder of Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies and co-founder of Infosys, respectively; Azim Premji, chairperson of Wipro; Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD, Biocon; Anil Agarwal, founder and chairman, Vedanta; PNC and Sobha Menon of Sobha Developers; and health care barons Dr BR Shetty and Dr CR Shetty.

About 241 philanthropists from 29 countries have signed the Giving Pledge so far. Other billionaire signatories include LinkedIn Co-founder Reid Hoffman along with his partner Michelle Yee, Tesla CEO and Twitter owner Elon Musk, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, and Canva Co-founders Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht.

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Kamath, along with his brother and Zerodha co-founder Nithin Kamath, donated Rs100 crore of personal wealth in 2022, as per the EdelGive-Hurun India Philanthropy List 2022, which was a 300 percent increase from the year before. He has launched the Young India Philanthropic Pledge (YIPP), where signatories, all under 45 years of age, will pledge 25 percent of their wealth with a minimum spend of Rs1 crore per year. The brothers, in 2021, had announced to pledge a quarter of their personal wealth to philanthropy, with plans to give back Rs750 crore over the next three years.

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“It cannot be that 10 percent of the country has what should belong to 90 percent of the people,” Kamath, who also heads asset management company True Beacon, had said in an interview to Forbes India in 2021. His philanthropic philosophy, he had said, was to encourage people to start giving earlier in life. “These days for youngsters, when we start making x amount of money, and then we make 5x and 10x, our lifestyle is not changing incrementally. It is just money in a bank account,” Kamath said. “So might as well utilise that money in a manner that both makes you feel good and helps people around you.”