Four Indians named among Asian Heroes of Philanthropy

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Azim PremjiForbes Asia today announced its ‘Heroes of Philanthropy’ list for the fourth year running, with four Indians among the top 48 philanthropists.

Giving poor children access to education is a top priority for Indian philanthropists, said Forbes.

Shiv Nadar, Wipro, HCL

Billionaire Shiv Nadar of HCL Technologies takes the brightest children from the poorest villages of rural India and sends them to boarding school, noted Forbes.

Azim Premji, Wipro

Another tycoon, India’s biggest philanthropist Azim Premji of Wipro, transferred nearly USD 2 billion of his wealth last December to an irrevocable trust that focuses on education and children’s health and nutrition.

GM Rao, GMR Group

Infrastructure-based GMR Group founder Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao, 61, pledged USD 340 million in March, his 12.5 per cent personal stake in the business and one-eighth of his family’s share, through an irrevocable endowment to the GMR Varalakshmi Foundation.
It works primarily to educate and train poor youths in 20 locations in India and two in Nepal.
Rao started his philanthropy early in career, when he ran a small business and built a school in his village.

Vivek Oberoi, Actor

Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi leverages on his star power to give back through his foundation.

The 34-year old has donated USD 3 million to date and helped raise USD 25 million to support education, health and disaster relief.

The list shines the spotlight on some of the Asia-Pacific’s high-profile and interesting givers to society.

Four philanthropists were picked from each of the 12 markets in the region, making it a total of 48 being celebrated this year, Forbes said.

From helping victims of natural disasters to providing scholarships to the poor, wealthy tycoons and modest donors continued to dig deep into their pockets in the past year to fund projects worthwhile to them.

Jackie Chan, China

“Some are big tycoons, even billionaires, who have a large vision of how best to help society and have donated millions of dollars to back up that vision. Others are little-known citizens who are extremely generous with their limited funds.

“Our goal is not to rank the biggest givers by dollar amounts or percentage of assets, those figures would be impossible to collect. Instead, the aim is to call attention to a mix of notable people and causes throughout the region and to encourage more giving,” explained Forbes Asia Senior Editor John Koppisch.

Among the most prominent givers on the list is Hong Kong celebrity Jackie Chan. The 57-year old action star used his fame to transform himself into one of Asia’s premier philanthropists.

He launched the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation in 1988 and offered scholarships and other help to young people. Over the years, the scope has been broadened to include medical services, help for the poor and quick response to natural disasters.

Chan’s impact is multiplied when he lends his name and puts his boundless energy behind a cause.

Cho Tak Wong, China

Another notable donor this year is Chinese entrepreneur Cho Tak Wong of automotive glass maker Fuyao Group.

The 65-year old handed out USD 153 million last year to a mix of charitable causes, including helping farmers in South-West China affected by drought.

But the billionaire’s real contribution to society will be seen when he fulfills his 2009 pledge to give away 70 per cent of his family’s shares.

(PTI, 23 June 2011)

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