“Charity is simply writing checks and not being engaged. Philanthropy, on the other hand, is being engaged; not only with your wealth but getting people and yourself truly involved in doing things that haven’t been done before.Ultimately, building stronger and empowered communities, ” are the wise words of Vijay Eswaran in a recent interview. Vijay Eswaran is a seasoned entrepreneur and a renown Asian philanthropist. Philanthropy is defined as the goodwill of people to other people seeking to promote the welfare of a society or improve the physical or social condition of a situation. In modern days starting a foundation is the most efficient way to get started with philanthropy if you really want to be involved in making social impacts.
Giving away money is not as complicated. But to all philanthropists, making a change with the money given is the ultimate objective. Therefore, writing a cheque or approving grants does not constitute being a philanthropist; getting positive results from donations does. Newcomers in philanthropy often feel the pressure of having to create positive results from donations. However, in their blind giving, many of the newbie’s good intentions do not yield any desirable results.
Philanthropy as we know it is something deeply personal. This is partly why people and organizations feel the need to give back to the society, and chose different causes to support. To many, philanthropy brings incredible joy and peace and makes sense that they invest broadly. However, it is advisable that a portion or your philanthropy be invested strategically. If you are among those whose efforts in the past have not had as significant an impact as you would have wished, do not despair.
Trying to tackle an issue single-handedly often does not lead to any desirable results. As a newbie, looking for and working with more experienced, well established and highly passionate institutions or people, might be better for you. Before you master the art, it is better to look for a more experienced funder whom you can partner with and slowly learn from.
Vijay Eswaran, a philanthropist originally from Malaysia, is dedicated to giving like-minded people a chance to make a difference in the society through their philanthropy. Vijay Eswaran through his RHYTHM (Raise Yourself to Help Mankind) foundation has developed a long-term strategy where he is willing to give funders who lack the platform or expertise a chance to learn from more experienced partners. In this way, they reach out to fewer experiences philanthropists and give them a chance to learn from those he has known in the more than ten years he has been in the game.
In the foundation set up by Vijay Eswaran, all members are given a chance to pledge the resources they feel will be sufficient for the course. Whether its time, expertise or money, all is appreciated. The top partners in the foundation contribute $1 million to their cause and ensure their contributions go to the most deserving institutions. “It is heartwarming to watch philanthropists from different walks of life come together, engage in deep dialogue around projects and make their donations more strategic,” says Vijay Eswaran. To him sharing ideas and viewpoints around the table and collectively funding an idea is critical to the success of the projects. “Being a small organisation we would not have been able to make a difference in the society, but with the combined effort, the impact is visible,” adds Vijay Eswaran.
Funder collaborations are however not only suitable for newcomers. Large and well-established foundations as well get a lot from collaborations. An advantage that is derived from such collaboration is that you can hire specialists in the area of interests to help better streamline the objective of the institution. Occasionally you could have consultants pass by and chip into what might have eluded you. It is also a distinct advantage in bringing together market leaders from different industries, and melting expertise from all the foundation members to create a robust and well thought out philanthropic action plan. This will add onto how well thing goes to get a positive, significant impact on the ultimate goal of philanthropy.
The more stable your foundation’s goals look, the more philanthropists will be willing to join. Various foundations start with as little as three members and are now the biggest in the world. “When it comes to foundations, one thing is however certain; you need to give your foundation time to grow. For more and more people to join you, they need to know that you are committed to the cause,” comments Vijay Eswaran. As time goes by, philanthropists interested in the same cause will be watching the strategic plans you make and how well they are executed. After continued positive impact then will new people be willing to join you.
Collaboration, in a big way, is a distinct way for the new as well as experienced philanthropists to go into the world and make a difference. They can share their unique skills and knowledge to accomplish more together than they would separately. Vijay Eswaran notes that there is a time when society’s problems are too big to fix alone. With the limited resources available, it works much better having someone to take the journey with.
About Vijay Eswaran
A man we stand to respect today is philanthropist Vijay Eswaran. He is the executive chairman and co-founder of the QI group. Born in Malaysia in 1960, he studied in London school of economics and graduated with a degree in socioeconomics in the year 1984. He got a Chartered Institute of Management Accountants certification in the UK and later moved to America to complete an MBA in Illinois University.
After completing his studies, Vijay was hired to expand the operations of an MLM company in Malaysia. Later in 1998, after various high profile jobs, Vijay teamed up with Joseph Bismark to found a business, QI group in Hong Kong.
Vijay Eswaran has taken the path to share the knowledge he has acquired in many years of experience. He is a respected motivational speaker and lectures on a vast number of subjects from business to spirituality. He is also a published writer, his books including “In the Sphere of Silence”, “18 Stepping Stones”, “On the Wings of Thought” and ”In the Thinking Zone.”
Vijay Eswaran is passionate about philanthropy as he’s established on Twitter. He established RYTHM (Raise Yourself to Help Mankind) foundation as the social corporate responsibility ark of the QI group. He also founded Vijayaratnam Foundation, the Malaysia chapter of QI group. It focuses on four main areas that are education, community development, arts and culture and the environment. His innate love for an empowered society continues to see him touch lives and empower people through philanthropy in ways he could never have imagined. Follow Vijay on Facebook here.