I am delighted that the Manappuram Foundation is now going live with its own website. In the nine years since it was established in 2009, the Foundation has broken new grounds, and established new standards in how CSR activities can be made truly meaningful.
Until recently, all CSR spending by corporate in our country was strictly voluntary in nature. However, in 2013, India became the first country in the world to make CSR spending compulsory for corporations meeting certain criteria regarding size and profitability. After CSR became mandatory (at 2 percent of the average profits of the past three years), many corporates were taken by surprise and scrambled to put together some CSR initiative or the other, merely to comply with the law of the land.
At Manappuram, we are proud that we have been doing things differently. For us, CSR is not a fashion statement. We also don’t see it merely as a legal requirement to be complied with for the sake of compliance. Indeed, we set up the Manappuram Foundation as a charitable trust back in 2009, well before CSR became mandatory, because we were, and continue to be, serious about CSR. We wanted to push ahead with our vision of a corporate entity that would create social value, sustainability as well as market value, to further the interests of all our stakeholders.
Initially, our focus was on doing something for the area around Valapad in the Thrissur district of Kerala, where we belong to and where we have our HO. We were clear that we would take up only such projects that would be relevant to the local community and create a real difference.
In the nine years of its existence, the Manappuram Foundation has initiated many worthwhile projects—in healthcare, education, skill training, empowerment of women, care for the elderly, grants to meaningful projects etc.—that have enriched the lives of some of the poorest in society. It has been successful in making a visible difference to the local community.
And now, we have decided that Manappuram Foundation will extend its reach and work with communities across all the states where Manappuram Finance is present. (Incidentally, with over 4200 branches, we are present in 28 states and UTs across India.) And, in the years to come, we hope that the Manappuram Foundation will also have a pan-India presence, to match the stature of its parent.