October 11, 2016

Rohini Nilekani embraces high-risk ideas in philanthropy

These videos are part of our Remarkable Givers series. A full list of videos with Rohini Nilekani can be found below.

A former journalist and television anchor, Rohini Nilekani has been frequently recognized as a leading philanthropist in India. She also spent several years as a journalist, first with Bombay Magazine and later with Sunday magazine. She's written for leading publications like India Today, Indian Express, Mint, and Times of India. She is the author of several children's books, including the popular Sringeri Srinivas series, as well as Stillborn: A Medical Thriller and Uncommon Ground, a non-fiction work drawn from her former work as a TV anchor, where she moderated conversations between corporate and social leaders.

Alongside this work, Rohini has contributed tens of millions of dollars, in addition to her time and leadership, to advance social causes across water, education, the environment, justice, and governance. She is an anchor donor to the Independent and Public Spirited Media Foundation, which funds independent digital-media entities that pursue high-quality journalism. She also founded the nonprofit Arghyam, which supports organizations that have implemented water and sanitation projects that benefit more than 5 million people across 22 states. And she's been the guiding force behind Pratham Books, which publishes high-quality, inexpensive children's books so as to put "a book in every child's hands."

Rohini and her husband, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, also fund and direct EkStep, a non-profit venture that aims to improve the reading and math skills of millions of children through a free digital platform. Reflecting on her expansive approach to philanthropic investing, Rohini told Forbes India that she likes to "try out high-risk ideas... I am not trying to fail but I am fine with trying out mad stuff."

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