Narayana and Sudha Murthy Start Infosys Foundation

I take pleasure in giving. I feel that I have a reasonably good amount of money for all of which I don't have much use. So I thought I should share it with my poorer countrymen . - Sudha Murthy, wife of Infosys' Narayana Murthy

I have always said that the real power of money is the power to give it away. - Narayan Murthy

And then JRD turned almost a soothsayer to say, 'If you make lots of money you must give it back to society as you have received so much love from it.' - Sudha Murthy

The vast majority still does not have freedom from hunger, from disease and from illiteracy. Our adult literacy is only 58 percent, 26 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, 24 percent of Indians are under nourished, we have been ranked 127th out of 175 nations in the human development index. Clearly my young friends, we have a long way to go. - Narayana Murthy in a speech at IIT Mumbai

She quotes Thatthareya Upanishad to entreat her listeners to set aside a portion of the income for their educational institution, another for the poor. All this of course, after looking after one's own family. 'But draw a line at what you need. Take your partner's consent. See that you do not make the receiver your dependent. Give as naturally as you eat, sleep or breathe. ... But what truly helps is the passion for the work.' No, no, compassion doesn't mean tears and talk, she is quick to add. It is not holding meetings and getting your name in the papers. - Rediff on Sudha Murthy

Infosys Foundation: Charity that Sudha Murthy Built

'Infosys Foundation came into being with the objective of supporting the underprivileged in our society...The Foundation Trustees comprise of Ms. Sudha Murty (an educationist, a writer and a computer engineer), Chairperson; Ms. Sudha Gopalakrishnan and Mr. Srinath Batni (Director, Infosys Technologies Ltd.). The Foundation primarily aims at improving the health, education and basic facilities, benefiting a large number of individuals and institutions.' ( Infosys Foundation )

Follow the Money at Infosys

Since its inception in 1996, by March 31, 2004 the foundation has given grants totaling about (less than) 40 crore rupees. (From 2000 to 2004 the grant amounts were 2.80, 5.26, 3.75, 5.53 and 12.00 crore rupees respectively). At then end of 2004, the market value of Infosys was over 56,000 crore rupees. It means that it contributed less than 0.1 percent of its market value wealth to Infosys Foundation over the past 8 years.

Murthy family (N.R. Narayana Murthy, Sudha Murthy, daughter Akshata Murthy, son Rohan Murthy) held about 7.5 percent of Infosys shares during this period. It means that their share of grants to Infosys Foundation was about 3 crore rupees (7.5 percent of 40 crores). Similarly, this amount is less than 0.1 percent of their 3,750 crore rupees (6.6 percent) stake in Infosys shares at the end of 2004.

Note: For coverage on their almost non-existent contribution to charity from personal funds please follow link titled Charity: Narayana Murthy Style, at the bottom.)

3 Crore Rupees is a Lot, isn't it?

Note: 100 lakhs = 1 crore. 10 lakhs = 1 million. 1 crore = 10 million. 1 US dollar (during April 2005) = 44 rupees. 100,000 US dollars = 44 lakh rupees. 1 million dollars = 4.4 crore rupees.

Murthy family's share of contribution to Infosys Foundation over 8 years: 3 crore (rupees) (USD 700,000)
Average over one year: 40 lakhs (USD 100,000)

Rohan Murthy's Cornell university tuition (one year): 13 lakhs (USD 30,000)
Over 4 years: 52 lakhs (USD 120,000)
Estimated cost of tuition, lodging and boarding over 4 years: 1 crore (USD 240,000)

Akshata Murthy's Stanford MBA tuition (one year): 18 lakhs (USD 41,000)
Over two years: 36 lakhs (USD 82,000)
Estimated cost of lodging, boarding, tuition : 60 lakhs (USD 130,000)
Estimated cost of undergraduate education (economics) at exclusive Claremont McKenna College, California: 1 crore (USD 240,000)
Total estimated cost of educating Akshita Murthy in the USA: 1.6 crore (USD 370,000)

Median price of a new home in Silicon Valley, USA: 3 crore (USD 700,000)
Median price of a new home in Palo Alto, California (heart of Silicon valley and where Stanford university is located): more than 3 crore( USD 700,000+)
Median price of a new apartment in Manhattan, New York: 5 crore (USD 1,200,000)

3 crore divided by 100 crore Indians: 3 paisas/Indian (0.07 cents) over the last 8 years
Publicity, good will and ego-gratification: PRICELESS (USD PRICELESS)

Cost benefit Analysis of 'Charity'

Investors: 'The leading US companies now prefer investing in Indian companies that have defined social responsibility cells.' - Sudha Murthy, also clarifying that the Infosys Foundation was only active in states where Infosys had set up software development centres. (The Economic Times)

Branding: Helps to attract good employees and keep attrition rate low.

'Purchasing Goodwill': Many customers prefer to do business with companies perceived to have social responsibilities. Government officials are receptive to new requests for more land etc.

Association with the famous: They are not going to miss out on associating their names with Tata family or Bill Gates, by mentioning them as often as possible. '...When asked by her colleagues as to what she (Sudha Murthy) wanted on her retirement, she could only say: 'A black and white portrait of Jamshetji Nusserwanji Tata and another of JRD Tata in his famous blue suit.'' (from Tata website on Sudha Murthy ) 'I look forward to meeting him...the last time we met, he enquired how the Infosys Foundation was doing. (Economictimes reporting Sudha Murthy talking about Bill Gates). Oh boy!.

Political and Social Benefits: For Narayana Murthy, a possible President of India or failing that Ambassador to the USA; for Sudha Murthy possibility of becoming a future Prime Minister of India (beating that Hindi-speaking white goddess will be difficult, though. (Future potential fight between Priyanka Gandhi and Akshata Murthy for that coveted position should be interesting.)) or failing that to be simply known as the latest reincarnation of Goddesses Lakshmi, Parvati and Saraswati, all humbly rolled into one.

In summary, for Sudha and Narayan Murthy, 'charity' is just a small cost of doing business, with benefits much larger than the costs.

For Murthys Charity Begins at ...

Home. (Surprise!)

And ends at ... home. (Surprise!)

'We didn't want to give it all to our kids and ruin them any more than we have,' says American Century founder James E. Stowers, who with his wife, Virginia, is No. 5 on our list. 'If the kids have so much money they don't even have a reason to get out of bed in the morning, we're hurting them.' The Stowers are leaving most of their fortune to the Kansas City (Mo.) medical center they founded. When his children drive by, Stowers jokes, 'they look at the building and say, 'There's my inheritance.'' ... The six children of our No. 43 giver, Ann Lurie, have rejected many of the symbols of wealth, with a few of them favoring wardrobes from thrift shops. 'If you saw my children, you would think they needed to be fed or something,' says Lurie, who has set up foundations in each of their names so they can contribute as they choose. 'They want to be seen as making their way in the world.' [BusinessWeek : The Top Givers : Today's philanthropists aren't leaving the good works to future generations -- they're making their mark now ]

Narayana and Sudha Murthy's children - Akshata Murthy and Rohan Murthy - need not have any fears that their parent will leave then with almost nothing. At the end of 2004, thanks to homeward charity of their parents, they owned 50.6 and 49.6 lacks shares of Infosys respectively, making each of them worth more than 1,000 crore rupees. Moreover, the rate at which their parents are spending, or better stated - not spending, their assets, they have a virtual assurance that most of their parents money will be theirs after they are gone - currently valued at about 1,700 crore rupees.

Murthy Family Comes Ahead of Charles Feeney

Charles F. Feeney had about USD 1,600 million in assets, Murthy family has about half of it. Difference is that Mr. Chuck Feeney gave away 99.9 percent of it, leaving himself with about the remaining 0.1 percent (USD 1.5 million) The Secret Givers : These big-time contributors try to share their wealth while shunning the spotlight, while Murthy family gave 0.1 percent to Infosys Foundation and were left with the rest 99.9 percent of their wealth (about 850 million dollars or 3700 crore rupees.)

Moreover, while Narayana Murthy was busy lecturing others on virtues of giving and be known as famous philanthropists along with his wife Sudha Murthy, who never missed a photo op to be seen with the underprivileged or with the rich and famous, and made sure her books are donated to libraries and 'infoscions' for their character building, Charles Feeney went virtually unnoticed, because he wanted it this way. What a loser!

A few internal links

Charity - Narayan Murthy Style

Cornell loves Narayana Murthy (Infosys)

Narayana Murthy starts Infosys on 10,000 rupees!

Narayan Murthy was too poor to attend IIT after clearing IIT-JEE with fairly high rank

CBS 60 minutes on IIT

People >
Narayana Murthy >
Infosys Foundation

And then JRD turned almost a soothsayer to say, 'If you make lots of money you must give it back to society as you have received so much love from it.' - Sudha Murthy

(Last Updated: June 30, 2021)