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Investment guru pledges quarter of fortune for charity

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August 04, 2011
Indian Express

Leading investment guru Rakesh Jhunjhunwala joined a global list of billionaires calling for greater philanthropic contributions from the wealthy when he pledged to donate one quarter of his personal fortune to charity.

Making the announcement at the second annual 'First Givers Summit', a gathering of high net worth individuals organised by GiveIndia on Monday evening, Jhunjhunwala said: "I don't think leaving all your wealth for your children is necessarily a good thing"

Jhunjhunwala, CEO of Rare Enterprises and already backing several philanthropic initiatives, was in 2010 ranked 51st among India's richest, with an estimated wealth of $1 billion. "Whatever I am worth over the next few years, I will give a quarter of that to charitable causes. And I will do it in my lifetime," he said to applause. Speaking to Newsline later, he said, "I hope to give $ 1 billion to charitable causes by 2020. I have thought a lot about the meaning of wealth and there is no meaning to it if I am not able to give to good causes."

At the summit, Jhunjhunwala spoke about his association with the Agastya International Foundation, a Bangalore-based trust working to take science education to rural school children through mobile laboratories with functional science experiments. Having pledged Rs 50 crore over nine years to Agastya, Jhunjhunwala said he believes he is "not giving enough".

The summit hosted a few dozen donors who have committed to donate a minimum of Rs 5 lakh per annum and spend at least 40 hours every year on their chosen area of philanthropy. GiveIndia said the summit is the beginning of a year-long engagement to educate these individuals on philanthropy and help them decide how much to give, how to give and what to give for.

N Vaghul, chairman of GiveIndia Foundation, said Rs 3 crore had been mobilised soon after the first such summit last year - not a very large sum, but "very large for those who benefit from it", mainly select high-impact projects being operated by established NGOs.

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