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India’s top Philanthropists
1920-2020: Jamsetji Tata, Premji
The first-ever list of Edelgive Hurun India Philanthropist of the Century puts Jamsetji Tata ahead of the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, Henry Hughes and George Soros. The list was released to rank the world’s most generous individuals from the last century.
Tata Group’s founder Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata has emerged as the biggest philanthropist in the world over the last 100 years, according to a list prepared by EdelGive Foundation and Hurun Report.
The first-ever list of Edelgive Hurun India Philanthropist of the Century puts Jamsetji Tata ahead of the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, Henry Hughes and George Soros. The list was released today to rank the world’s most generous individuals from the last century.
It may be noted that the ranking is based on Total Philanthropic Value -- calculated as the value of the assets adjusted for inflation along with the sum of gifts or distributions to date. The data for the report was derived from publicly available sources and in certain cases, directly shared by the foundations.
The report pegs the current valuation of India's pioneer industrialist Jamsetji Tata’s donations at $102.4 billion over the past century. He is followed by Bill and Melinda Gates ($74.6 billion), Warren Buffett ($37.4 billion), George Soros ($34.8 billion) and J D Rockefeller ($26.8 billion).
“Whilst American and European philanthropists may have dominated the thinking of philanthropy over the last century, Jamsetji Tata, founder of India's Tata Group, is the world's biggest philanthropist," Rupert Hoogewerf, the chairman and chief researcher at Hurun said in a statement.
Most of the donations given by Jamsetji Tata were in the education and healthcare sectors. He had set aside two-thirds of ownership to trusts engaged in philanthropic activities. The report added that Jamsetji Tata started giving donations as early as 1892.
“The total philanthropic value of Tata is made up of 66 per cent of Tata Sons, estimated at $100 billion, solely based on the value of listed entities,” the report said.
While Jamsetji Tata is the only Indian in the top 10 list, Azim Premji’s name is there among the top 50. Premji, the former chairman of Wipro, is ranked 12th on the list, and he has decided to give away at least half of his fortune by signing the Giving Pledge in 2013. It is worth mentioning that Pemji had earlier topped the EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy List for 2020.
The highest number of people who made the list are from the United States (39), followed by the United Kingdom (5), China (3), India (2) and Portugal and Switzerland (1 each). Only 13 of the 50 philanthropists who have made the list are alive.
The total donations given by the 50 people mentioned in the list over the last century has been pegged at $832 billion — $503 billion came from foundations endowments and $329 billion came from donations.
Rupert Hoogewerf said he was surprised that the names of the world’s richest man and the third richest man Elon Musk were missing from the list.
“It is surprising that Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have not made the cut in this list. The stories of the world’s biggest philanthropists of the last century tells the story of modern philanthropy. The legacies of the world’s earliest billionaires such as Carnegie and Rockefeller, through to the Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s of today, show how wealth created has been redistributed,” said Hoogewerf said.
“Today's billionaires are not keeping up with philanthropy, making money much faster than they are giving it away," he added.
HCL chairman Shiv Nadar has been named the most philanthropic Indian for 2016, according to the ranking of the most generous individuals by Hurun Research Institute. Nadar donated Rs 630 crore to various charitable activities, including healthcare, through the Shiv Nadar Foundation, out of which Rs 458 crore was spent on infrastructure projects--building for additional capacity creation for Shiv Nadar University. Nadar, 71, was ranked fifth last year and is currently worth Rs 73,000 crore.
Former Infosys chief executive Kris Gopalakrishnan & fa mily, and Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani were ranked second and third, with contributions of Rs 313 crore and Rs 303 crore respectively. Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla (49) was the youngest philanthropist in the list, donating Rs 21crore.
Conspicous by their absence in the top donors list were Wipro chairman Azim Premji and Infosys co-foun ders Nandan Nilekani and N R Narayana Murthy . Hurun managing director Anas Rahman Junaid said the calculations were done based on fresh contributions made by donors in 2016. “India being a young country will take a few more years before consistent philanthropic donations from entrepreneurs happens. We would have missed some of the major donors. However, based on the information received, 2016 has been a dull year for Indian philanthropy ,“ Junaid said.
Nadar's contribution made up 27% of the total wealth given away . The list also shrank to 27 Indians from 36 in 2015 and 50 in 2014, based on a minimum contribution of Rs 10 crore and above.
2018: next-generation philanthropists
They were born with a silver spoon in their mouth and have grown up seeing their grandfathers and fathers giving to charities in a big way. As philanthropy in India sees a shift, next-generation philanthropists (NGPs) are being looked upon as torch bearers to take forward the giving legacy of their families.
NGPs are a critical group of individuals who inherit wealth from their families, have a legacy of giving and have now taken the plunge into philanthropy.
The number of ultra-high net worth individual (UHNWI) households has more than doubled to 1,46,000 in fiscal year 2016 from 62,000 in FY 2011, according to the India Philanthropy Report (2017) by Bain & Company and Dasra. The landscape of philanthropy in India is changing as many multi-generational philanthropic families transition responsibility and decision-making power from one generation to the next. India will witness one of the largest transfers of wealth — close to $128 billion — from one generation to the next in the coming decade, according to a Karvy Private Wealth report.
Deval Sanghavi, co-founder of the strategic philanthropy foundation Dasra, said, “NGPs will have a significant role to play in India’s development story, given the quantum of wealth being transitioned from one generation to the next.”
In a report by Hemendra Kothari Foundation, Dasra and Synergos, shared exclusively with TOI, NGPs are extremely active, impact-driven and bring their entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy. When TOI spoke to a section of NGPs to understand their vision and approach to philanthropy, what emerged was a desire to fund research-driven solutions.
Ready to invest own time, skills too
Ayushi Patni, daughter of Amit Patni, who plays a key role in the philanthropic initiatives of the Patni family, has grown up seeing her grandfather and mother set up charitable hospitals. “The only thing I found lacking was that it was not done in a structured manner. That is something which I would definitely emphasise on in the future as and when I take it forward. As a millennial, we believe in real-time data. I want to make sure what I give is used correctly,” said Patni, who has decided to not only fund higher education for a bunch of students, but also help them realise their ambitions.
NGPs are breaking away from traditional forms of giving and are investing not only their wealth but also their time and business skills in the sector. Investor banker Hemendra Kothari’s daughter, Aditi Kothari Desai, who is executive director & head (sales and marketing) at DSP BlackRock Investment Managers, believes she is quite similar to her father when it comes to giving. “For the prior generation, the focus was more on infrastructure — building a school or college. Today, we talk about foundations. We give to social entrepreneurs. That is a change that has come from my grandfather and his father’s generation to us. While they worked on the hardware, we work a lot on the software,” said Desai, who is also a trustee of the Hemendra Kothari Foundation and Wildlife Conservation Trust.
Considering that majority of the funds are given to education (55% of the top 49 givers in India give to education), child welfare, old-age and disaster relief, it has created supply-side gaps in several other sectors. Mariwala Health Initiative (MHI) decided to embark on a different cause — mental health. When Rajvi Mariwala, daughter of Marico founder Harsh Mariwala, is not donning her canine behaviourist hat, she is spending time fulfilling her responsibilities at MHI.
As against the previous generation’s socially conscious welfare-based approach, Mariwala is keen on looking at aspects like inclusion and inter-sectionality in the causes she funds. “It’s not enough for me that you are doing some great work in the area of mental health. I expect more detailing about whether I am serving a population from the OBC or how do I account for women being more active on mental health services,” said Mariwala.
One of the biggest barriers for raising money for mental health is that it is an unknown field. But Mariwala is determined to take mental health awareness to a different level. MHI is trying to figure out how it can encourage more NGOs to use it.
Philanthropic firms are looking upon NGPs to take on the mantle quickly as India is estimated to face a financial shortfall of approximately Rs 533 lakh crore ($8.5 trillion) if it is to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030.