Four Indians named among Forbes’ ‘48 Heroes of Philanthropy’

March 6th, 2009 - 10:32 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 6 (IANS) Four Indians have been listed among Forbes’ “48 Heroes of Philanthropy” who opened their cheque books for a cause even as the global financial crisis is hammering fortunes all over Asia.

Indian telecom czar Sunil Mittal, NRI businessman Anil Agarwal, HCL Technologies chairman Shiv Nadar and Rohini Nilekani, wife of Infosys Technologies Co-founder Nandan Nilekani, made it to the list compiled by the US business publication.

The list features 48 individuals, four each from India, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, besides another four from Australia and New Zealand.

“The global financial crisis is hammering fortunes all over Asia, but the past year was still a good one for philanthropy as tycoons and more modest donors tried to maintain their charity commitments, Forbes said announcing its third annual ‘Heroes of Philanthropy’ list

“Many opened up their chequebooks to help the victims of the Sichuan earthquake and the Myanmar cyclone in May. Many more donated to health, education, cultural and other causes,” it noted.

Anil Agarwal, 55, chairman of mining outfit Vedanta Resources, Forbes noted pledged $1 billion to build a new university in the eastern state of Orissa.

Apart from arts and sciences, medicine and engineering, it plans research centres for bio- and nanotechnology, crop genetics and alternative energy.

Sunil Mittal, 51, chairman and group chief executive of Bharti Enterprises, set up the Bharti Foundation in 2000 and contributed $22 million.

It also set up telecom-technology colleges on the campuses of the Indian Institutes of Technology in New Delhi and Mumbai, and has funded 26 computer centres and more than 100 libraries aimed at poor children, especially girls.

Shiv Nadar, 63, Chairman and chief strategy officer, HCL Technologies, started the SSN Trust, named after his late father, in 1994.

Its $30 million endowment is used mainly to fund SSN Institutions, which are aimed at providing affordable higher education, offering $1 million in scholarships each year.

Rohini Nilekani, 49, along with her husband, pledged $5 million to Yale University, where both their children are students, to start the Yale India Initiative, an India studies programme that she believes will be “the most comprehensive in any US university.”

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