The Bharti Family on Thursday pledged a part of their personal wealth for philanthropic purposes as well as announced a plan to set up a world-class university to offer free education to deserving youth from economically weaker sections of the society.
The family has decided to pledge 10% of their wealth (approx Rs 7,000 crore), including 3% of their stake in Bharti Airtel, towards supporting the activities of Bharti Foundation, the Group’s philanthropic arm. According to Forbes, the Bharti Family’s total assets are worth $10.1 billion.
The announcement comes on the heels of Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and wife Rohini promising half of their wealth to philanthropy through the ‘Giving Pledge’ network. The “Giving Pledge” was created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet in August 2010 to encourage billionaires to dedicate their wealth for philanthropy.
The Nilekanis are the fourth Indians after Wipro head Azim Premji, Biocon chairman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Sobha Developers chief Emeritus P N C Menon to sign up for ‘The Giving Pledge’ network.
Announcing the commitment, Sunil Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said, “Being first generation entrepreneurs, we feel absolutely privileged that this nation gave us the opportunity to imagine and build world-class businesses. Bharti’s DNA has always been about creating a deep positive impact on society through our businesses, and we are proud to have contributed to the India growth story.”
Mittal said the group had always reckoned that owning a business was a social responsibility and wealth creation could not be an end in itself. “Even when we were small in size and relatively modest with our business goals, we always aspired to be part of the wider nation building process,” he said.
Highlighting the achievements of Bharti Foundation, he said, “The foundation has done some exceptional work for uplifting the underprivileged and it stands out as a shining example of how professionally managed development arms of businesses can build innovative and sustainable models that make real and measurable difference on ground.”
The Bharti Foundation also proposed to set up Satya Bharti University for Science and Technology, which will have a strong focus on future technologies like AI, robotics, AR/VR, IoT, in addition to offering degrees in electrical and electronics engineering and management.
“Having built a successful model for primary and senior schooling under Satya Bharti Schools, Bharti Family plans to build Satya Bharti University – a world-class institution, to support the higher education aspirations of India’s youth. Our aspiration is to develop it into a centre of excellence not just in India but globally,” Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice-Chairman, Bharti Enterprises and Co-Chairman, Bharti Foundation said.
It will be a non-profit centre of excellence and will promote and fund advanced research with global linkages. It intends to add leading global industry partners, i.e. Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Soft Bank among others, he said.