New Delhi: Wealthy Indians are among the top philanthropists in emerging economies and some of them are even devising giving strategies to maximize impact, a study has found.
“Philanthropy in India is at a nascent stage,” said Nidhi M. Reddy, one of the writers of the report titled “Catalytic Philanthropy in India”. “Philanthropists are still geared towards a charity mindset, rather than where they can play a role in engineering large-scale social change.”
The study surveyed 200 high net worth Indian families and conducted in-depth interviews with 45 individuals . It was conducted by the Centre for Emerging Markets Solutions at the Indian School of Business (ISB) and FSG Social Impact Consultants.
Azim Premji, chairman of Wipro Ltd
Indian philanthropy suffers from some redundancy, the study found, with most philanthropists preferring to set up programmes through their own foundations, rather than investing in pre-existing non-governmental organizations, or programmes already in place that tackle social issues.
To be sure, there are many who differ, the study said.
Azim Premji, chairman of Wipro Ltd; Anji Reddy, founder-chairman of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd; Rohini Nilekani, wife of Infosys Ltd co-founder Nandan Nilekani; and Hemendra Kothari, chairman of DSP BlackRock; and their foundations are cited in the study as examples of philanthropists who have adopted strategies that have the potential to catalyse large-scale social impact on issues such as public education, skills development, water and wildlife conservation.
Some of the strategies common among the so-called catalytic practices included collaboration across sectors, particularly the government, use of non-traditional tools such as mass media and research and development projects, and use of data to drive and measure change.
“The size of issues in India can be very daunting, and a lot of people default to ‘what can I really do?” Lalitha Vaidyanathan, managing director of FSG, said at the launch of the report. “But by taking this approach, philanthropy is uniquely positioned to create large-scale change.”