Asia's richest person Adani pledges $10b for social causes

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MUMBAI (BLOOMBERG) - Gautam Adani, Asia's richest person, and his family have pledged to donate 600 billion rupees (S$10 billion) to a slew of social causes, to mark his 60th birthday.

The donation will be managed by the Adani Foundation for bolstering health care, education and skill development, Adani told Bloomberg in an interview on Thursday (June 23). "This is one of the largest transfers made to a foundation in Indian corporate history," he said, adding that this commitment also honours the birth centenary year of his father, Shantilal Adani.

The Indian tycoon, a first-generation entrepreneur who turns 60 on Friday, joins the ranks of global billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett who have committed large parts of their wealth for philanthropy. Adani's pledge is almost half of what Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates donated to their foundation in 2021.

Among Indian tycoons, Azim Premji, former chairman of Wipro Ltd, has a charitable trust with the largest endowment estimated at US$21 billion (S$29 billion), while Tata Trusts, overseen by Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons Ltd, made donations of over US$102 billion at current value, according to a 2021 report by Hurun India and EdelGive Foundation.

With a net worth of almost US$92 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Adani has added a little more than US$15 billion to his wealth this year on the back of a runaway rally in his companies' shares, making him the biggest wealth gainer globally.

"We will invite three expert committees in coming months to formalise strategy and decide allocation of funds in these three areas," he said. The committees will have members from the Adani family in supporting roles, the tycoon said, adding the plan was to add one or two more focus areas in the coming months.

The Adani group, which started off with a small agri-trading firm in 1988, has now spawned into a conglomerate that spans coal trading, mining, logistics, power generation and distribution. More recently, it has forayed into green energy, airports, data centres and cement. Its billionaire-founder has also committed to invest a total of US$70 bi...

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