Three Indian businesspersons from the South have made it to Forbes’ 12th annual philanthropy roundup, which saw 40 entrepreneurs, executives in the Asia Pacific region.
Kochouseph Chittilappilly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of V-Guard Industries and Nandan and Rohini Nilekani, co-founder Infosys; founder, Arghyam have been honored for their philanthropic actions, making donations not through their businesses but with personal funds.
Indian Tycoon Kochouseph Chittilappilly donated one of his kidneys to a total stranger. He founded V-Guard in 1977, having borrowed one lakh rupees from his father. V-Guard, which makes electrical and electronic goods, today, clocks annual revenue of roughly USD 335 million. In 2000, he ventured into amusement parks and is behind the very popular Wonderla amusement parks under the company Wonderla Holidays.
Kochouseph, as he was turning 60, wanted to do something larger with his life. In 2011, two months after he turned 60, he donated his kidney to an ailing trucker, who was a complete stranger. This became a turning point of his life. And he has since then been addressing a major issue in the country – Organ Donation
“Since then, Kochouseph has handed over the running of his two listed companies, V-Guard Industries (revenue: USD 320 million) and Wonderla Holidays (revenue: USD 38million), to his two sons and chosen to mostly focus on philanthropic pursuits. In 2012 he set up the eponymous K. Chittilappilly Foundation to which he donates the major part of his annual earnings, including dividends (USD 1.2 million in 2017),”.
The Foundation takes care of the costs involved in dialysis treatment for more than 3000 poor patients every year. It also supports those suffering with filariasis, a parasitic disease spread through mosquitoes that causes elephantiasis. Kochouseph also donated USD 700,000 recently to Kerala during the flood to provide immediate assistance and rebuild houses.
He has also promised to give away a third of his fortune in his lifetime and has transferred some shares of his listed units to a trust earmarked for charity.
Nandan Nilekani and his wife Rohini known for their philanthropy in India signed the Giving Pledge in November 2017.
Nandan co-founded one of India’s largest IT companies Infosys. Despite leaving the company back in 2009, he returned as the non-executive chairman since August 2017 following a bitter boardroom battle between the then management team and the founders.
Nandan also has to his credit Aadhar, which he built into of the largest personal identity schemes. He was the chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) at the time.
In 2017, he and his wife pledgedto donate 50 percent of their wealth in November 2017 under the Giving Pledge.
Rohini has founded several non-profits across education, sustainable water, etc.
She, along with her husband set up EkStep, which is an open learning platform that improves learning opportunities for children. Rohini also founded AArghyam a foundation focused on providing safe, sustainable water for all. The foundation has funded numerous groundwater management and sanitation projects across the country. And that’s not all, in 2004; Rohini co-founded and funded Pratham Books, a non-profit publisher of children’s books.
“Through my work, I hope to enable more creative collaborations across divides and silos. Today’s complex social issues demand participation from all entities that have a stake in positive change. As a citizen and a philanthropist, I wish to be vested in that positive change,” Rohini is quoted as saying on the website of her foundation.
Their past contributions also include USD 5 million to the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in Mumbai, Nandan’s alma mater, and a USD 21.4 million endowment to Arghyam.
Other Indians in the list included Puneet Dalmia, Managing Director, Dalmia Bharat, Anand Deshpande, Chairman and Managing Director, Persistent Systems, Kishore Lulla, Executive chairman and CEO, Eros Group, Sunil Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises and Abhishek Poddar, Managing director, Matheson Bosanquet.— The News Minute