Having guided companies like SOTC Travel Limited and later Kuoni Travel Group through exceptional growth as CEO, Ranjit Malkani is now putting his business acumen into play in the world of philanthropy. Along with his wife, Anjal, he is setting up his own philanthropic foundation, which he views as a different kind of entrepreneurial endeavour.
While the Malkanis have been giving to various causes and NGOs for several years now, they have now paused and taken a step back to create a clear vision for their philanthropy and a plan to achieve it.
Inspired by the teachings of Buddhism, the Malkanis’ vision for their foundation is to help people overcome their suffering. Based on the Buddhist belief that no suffering is greater than another, they have not limited their focus to any particular sector or cause.
Instead, they are concentrating on creating extensive and sustainable change by supporting and enabling early-stage nonprofits to scale and improve their systems and processes. In practice, this could mean helping a nonprofit that is running schools to expand its work nationwide or to adopt technology and offer courses online to increase its reach and improve learning outcomes.
They also brought their experience in business to bear in planning their future giving in a structured way. This involved creating a brief purpose document that captures not only the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of their philanthropy but also how much funding they could commit to the sector as well as the internal functioning of their foundation over the next decade.
This clarity served as an important guide for their giving decisions. In these ways, the Malkanis have merged a future back and today forward mindset by detailing the change they want to see and what they can do today to work towards it.
To this end, over the next seven years the Malkanis plan to invest in building the capacities of a handful of nonprofits, to be selected with Dasra’s assistance, according to a report by Bain & Co. The foundation will help these organisations reimagine their capabilities through a structured goal-setting process.
It will then involve philanthropy advisers and provide the resources necessary to implement these goals. Ultimately, the foundation aims to fund these nonprofits for five to seven years—and propel them to create greater long-term change and become self-sustaining.
The Malkanis’ understanding of the value in adopting a “future back” approach stems from their belief that philanthropy warrants the same rigour as a business. Guided by the knowledge that any successful business begins by clearly defining its product or its market before going on to develop a strategy, the Malkanis understand the importance of beginning philanthropy with a strong vision for change.
They set out to elucidate their vision with the help of what they call the “four Ps”: the purpose of the work, the process to get there, the people who will partake in the journey and the principles that will guide interactions with the nonprofits and the sector.