Why I decided to give half my wealth to charity
Earlier this year, I joined a group of like-minded individuals who care deeply about the community. They want to contribute at least half of their wealth to make the world a better place.
I had the opportunity to get involved in social service early on in my life, during my school days to be precise. I have since felt strongly the need to share what I have with people who have been deprived of opportunities. This desire persisted. But for many years, I was diverted by my career in the corporate world. Seven years ago, I decided to consciously focus my energies on the social sector, while continuing to be actively engaged in the corporate sector.
Since then, I have been involved with various organisations — specifically, Asian Venture Philanthropic Network, Give India, and Social Venture Partners that provided me with access and knowledge to actually “make a difference”. My exposure and engagements with them have fuelled my drive and desire to give back to society.
I believe that all I have got in my life is because of the goodness of others — the doctor who brought me into the world, my parents who nurtured me, my teachers who inculcated the knowledge and values in me, my wife who supported me, and friends who stood by me.
I have my commitments and responsibilities as a husband and a father of three children, aged 23, 18 and 13. Beyond them, my responsibility is to the larger community. While my children are still young, the thought did occur to me that it was perhaps too early to execute my promise to society. However, instead of holding me back, the thought of trying to create a better world for my children encouraged me, for they are the inheritors of the future. Everyone who is blessed with more than they need should consider making a promise to give back. We should all strive to make the world a better place for future generations.
It is important for each one of us to realise that we can make a difference in our own way. Each person’s contribution is not only important but also essential; it does not matter how big or small that contribution is. Everyone in the world has something to contribute — whether it’s their time, wisdom, access to networks, or their resources. It’s not always the financial contribution that matters. Participation matters equally. Giving ourselves and our experiences to those who need will make all the difference.
Govind Iyer is Partner, Egon Zehnder International and a #LivingMyPromise Signatory
#LivingMyPromise invites Indians with a net worth of Rs1 crore and above, to commit half of that wealth to charitable causes (of their choice) whilst alive or in one’s will. It is not an organisation, but an ecosystem of like-minded people with a purpose of making a difference, collectively. For more information, visit www.livingmypromise.org