The Bharti family, which has built one of India’s leading business enterprises, has decided to pledge 10% of its wealth, including 3% of their stake in group flagship Bharti Airtel telecoms brand, to support the activities of the Bharti Foundation, the group’s philanthropic arm, one of the few professionally managed philanthropic bodies in India.
With this commitment, the Bharti family envisions to significantly step up the scope and reach of the foundation’s activities, and further enable it to develop and execute innovative development models to support the aspirations of India’s underprivileged including students of Satya Bharti Schools.
Set up in the year 2000, the Bharti Foundation has grown in scale and stature, and evolved well beyond customary cheque book philanthropy to design and implement innovative development models, particularly in the area of education.
Led by a full time CEO and COO, the foundation’s team of over 200 highly motivated professionals and about 8,000 teachers work across multiple programs in the areas of education of some 240,000 underprivileged children in rural India. It has also supported the creation of the Bharti School of Telecommunication, Technology & Management at IIT Delhi, the Bharti Centre for Communication at IIT Mumbai and the Bharti Institute of Public Policy at ISB Mohali.
It has also instituted a number of scholarship programs, the most prominent being scholarship for Indian students studying at the University of Cambridge, UK.
The Bharti Foundation is a leading contributor to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan that is addressing the sanitation needs of poor households in the country. The foundation has built some 18,000 toilets in Punjab’s Ludhiana making it an Open-Defecation-Free (ODF) district benefitting about 90,000 people. It has undertaken another similar initiative to make Amritsar District in Punjab ODF with a target to build 50,000 toilets in collaboration with the Punjab Government. With this, Bharti will become the first corporate to facilitate ODF status for two districts in India.
“Today is a major milestone in the journey of the Bharti family,” remarked Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises and chairman of the Bharti Foundation. “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.”
“Firm believers in Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of trusteeship, we have always reckoned that ownership of business is a social responsibility, and wealth creation cannot 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 added.
“We feel grateful every day for our good fortune and feel the instinctive and overwhelming urge to give back to the society and create opportunities for others,” Sunil Bharti Mittal further remarked. “The Bharti Foundation has done some exceptional work in supporting 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. We hope in the years and decades to come, the foundation will be able to unlock its full potential as a change agent and enable millions of fellow Indians fulfil their dreams.”
The Bharti Foundation also announced plans to set up Satya Bharti University for Science and Technology to complement its existing programs in the area of education. The University will have a strong focus on future technologies like AI, Robotics, AR/VR, IoT, in addition to offering degrees in Electrical & Electronics Engineering and Management. It will be a non-profit centre of excellence and will offer free education to a large number of deserving youth from economically weaker sections. It will also promote and fund advanced research with global linkages. It intends to add leading global industry partners, i.e. Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft and SoftBank among others.
“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,” said Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice-chairman of Bharti Enterprises and co-chairman of the Bharti Foundation.