India's Mrs. Gates Learns Philanthropy from American Donors

Rohininilekani  As NY Times columnist Tom Friedman's world flattens, organized philanthropy has joined the newest list of American exports gaining ground. Consider the case of Rohini Nilekani, the Bangalore-based wife of Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani. Time Asia reports that "Rohini owns 1.67% of the Indian outsourcing company, and her personal fortune soared to about $300 million along with the meteoric rise of its stock." According to Time Asia:

With little guidance available for the country's would-be Rockefellers, Nilekani became a self-taught philanthropist, building two foundations from the ground up".The source of her inspiration? "We're learning from the Bill Gates Foundation, and ones like it," she says, referring to the Microsoft co-founder's famously hands-on, results-driven charitable institution. "It's about accountability and sustainability now. We want to make improvements on a level that no one else has done before."

Gates may be the "new kid in town" when it comes to organized philanthropy but it is his example, not necessarily that of the traditional foundation giants, that is influencing Nilekani and others like her. Yet another signpost pointing to the end of philanthropy as usual"

Susan Herr

Posted at 12:18 PM, Sep 07, 2006 in Global Philanthropy | Permalink | Comment