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Celebrating the spirit of giving back


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December 26, 2014
Forbes India

Celebrating the spirit of giving back
It is heartening to see the manner in which our philanthropy award winners are identifying problems and addressing them in a focussed manner

forbes_indiaA t Forbes India, chronicling the fascinating stories of entrepreneurial capitalism is an integral part of what we do. How entrepreneurs set up businesses, grow them and create wealth for shareholders has been at the core of our coverage over the years. However, there’s another facet to it, an equally important one which we like to bring to the fore from time to time.

We believe the stories of entrepreneurial capitalism cannot be complete without understanding the impact businesses have on society as a whole. Some of the biggest wealth creators around the world are also big advocates of giving back to society. Think Bill and Melinda Gates, think Warren Buffett. Thankfully, this trend is growing even in India, where many business owners, frontline corporate leaders and even ordinary professionals are beginning to find their calling in doing something for society.

The Forbes India Philanthropy Awards, now in its third year, celebrates this spirit of the business community and ordinary individuals. The Awards seek to recognise this other facet of business—that even while creating wealth, businesses have a larger role to play in catalysing social change and improving the quality of life of the underprivileged. The Awards recognise a cross-section of people and institutions—from Indian business owners to non-resident Indians, business families to corporate foundations and professionals. This year, the eminent jury which picked the winners was chaired by Narayanan Vaghul, former chairman of ICICI Bank, and had MV Subbiah, former chairman of the Murugappa Group, Jayant Sinha, now Union minister of state for finance, and Rohini Nilekani, well-known philanthropist and founder-chairperson of Arghyam, as the other members. Our knowledge partner GiveIndia enabled the entire process. As you will find in this issue, the eight winners they selected are each making a major difference in their chosen areas. What is heartening is the manner in which these winners are identifying the problems and addressing them in a focussed manner, aiming for the greatest impact.

As the curtain falls on 2014 and the debate on the possibility and timing of better days dominates public discourse, our Life section brings you a range of what we like to call Achievable Utopias. A number of thinkers across disciplines discuss some of what can be realised, in 2015 and beyond. And it emerges that the extent of achievement possible is not insignificant. That is a good note on which to ring in the new year.

I wish you a peaceful and prosperous 2015.