PNC Menon and his wife Sobha, founder of real estate company Sobha developers and Biocon Ltd founder Kiran Mazumdar Shaw are among 17 new billionaires who have pledged large amounts of their wealth into an international philanthropic foundation.
The Giving Pledge is a philanthropic initiative started by legendary investor Warren Buffet, former Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and his wife Melinda in 2010, with the intention of encouraging the wealthiest families to give majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. With the addition of 17 new names to the list, there are a total of 154 signatories from 16 countries.
Menon, who is estimated to be worth $1.53 billion was the 91st richest Indian in 2015.
Taking the pledge, Oman-based businessman Menon said in a letter addressed to Bill Gates on April 23, that it was the responsibility of those who have been blessed with wealth to ensure that they maximize ways to help the less fortunate ones.
“With my pledge, I hope to inspire others from India and all corners of the world to partake in philanthropy. Based on my experience, the act of giving creates a degree of happiness that is immeasurable, and I am fortunate that my wife and children share in this belief.”
63-year-old Shaw, who is the founder of a biopharmaceutical company took the pledge and in the letter wrote that her philanthropic efforts were largely directed towards making a difference in the global healthcare in the developing world.
“My philanthropic efforts are largely directed towards making a difference to global healthcare especially in the developing world. I am particularly concerned about the unbearable financial burden that debilitating diseases like cancer impose on patients in poor countries. I am also conscious of the fact that two thirds of the world’s population have little or no access to an acceptable quality of healthcare”.
Wipro founder Azim Premji was the only Indian on the list so far, who had pledged to give away half of his wealth.
According to an official press release, founder of Salesforce.com Inc Marc Benioff and co-founder of Airbnb Joe Gebbia are some of the others who were inducted into the group on Wednesday.