When Forbes India was launched in 2009, our mandate was not just to chronicle the best of India Inc and enterprise. We were equally cognisant about the impact business could have on society. Beyond measuring the wealth of the rich and famous, we sought to understand if our billionaires had some other purpose for their wealth. Did the organisations they built believe in creating shared value for all its stakeholders?
It is in the pursuit of these answers that we instituted the Forbes India Philanthropy Awards in 2012. Now in its third year, these awards have helped tell tales of both individuals and organisations who have not just given their money, but also lent adequate time and effort to various causes that help solve the country’s biggest problems, such as education, sanitation, environment, water and health care.
India’s entrepreneurs have built global organisations and amassed billions of dollars as their personal wealth. But, even more significantly, many are using their clout beyond the enjoyment of the best things in life. They are actively putting their wealth to good use, setting up charitable organisations, adopting causes and are ensuring a certain level of professionalism to their philanthropy that they maintain in managing their businesses. And here’s the heartening news: Their numbers are rising. In the following pages, we tell eight stories—of individuals and organisations—who have given their time, wealth, ideas, knowledge and expertise to help solve some of the most pressing problems of our time. These are the winners of the Forbes India Philanthropy Awards 2014, chosen by our eminent jury comprising Narayanan Vaghul (jury chair and former chairman of ICICI Bank), MV Subbiah (former executive chairman, Murugappa Group), Jayant Sinha (currently minister of state for finance) and Rohini Nilekani (founder-chairperson, Arghyam). The jury led by Vaghul picked the winners after much deliberation, discussing each of the 40 nominees, along with our Knowledge Partner GiveIndia, across eight categories. The outcome is that our winners form a diverse group, including entrepreneurs, professionals, billionaire families, organisations, a teacher as well as NRIs. But what is common to all of them is their belief in the power of purposeful giving. Not only have they decided to contribute, they are also doing so with a clear focus. And that, we found, is making all the difference.