Endowment fund for Delhi IIT
The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, on Thursday became the first among tech schools in the country to launch an endowment fund on the same lines as Ivy League universities and other top American institutes.
The fund, launched by President Ram Nath Kovind, has been started with a donation of Rs 255 crore, with the IIT setting a target of $1 billion (nearly Rs 7,000 crore) by 2025. Of the Rs 255 crore, Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal, both former students and co-founders of Flipkart, have donated Rs 125 crore.
All the 23 IITs in the country have corpus funds based on donations from alumni but such donations — unlike endowment funds — have been for specific purposes like starting scholastic projects or building a laboratory or any other facility.
The donations are also limited, ranging, for instance, between Rs 30 crore and Rs 40 crore a year for IIT Delhi.
Endowment funds look at a bigger corpus, a target Rs 1,000 crore a year, for instance, that the IIT has set itself. Basically an investment fund, the institute concerned, IIT Delhi in this case, will decide on expenditure from this fund in consultation with the alumni board.
“The endowment fund will be based on donations, mostly from alumni. The interest accrued on the funds will be utilised for the growth of the institute,” Professor Ramgopal Rao, the director of IIT Delhi, told The Telegraph.
According to a press statement issued by the President’s secretariat, Kovind said endowments had globally become integral to the financial health of educational institutions.
“While we are still far from the size and importance of endowment funds of Institutions such as Harvard, Yale or Columbia, it is the right first step in this direction. By giving through endowments, alumni are not just giving to their institution but they are also supporting and nurturing future generations of learners,” the President said.
Among the Ivy League and other top US institutes, Harvard has the highest endowment fund of $39 billion followed by Yale ($29 billion), Stanford ($26 billion), Princeton ($25 billion) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ($16 billion).
Rao said IIT Delhi would start a dedicated company with professionals to handle alumni relations and also take care of investment of funds. The tech school will spend five per cent of its endowment fund this year for starting the company, the director added.
The institute will use the interest from the endowment fund for its growth only after the corpus reaches Rs 1,000 crore, a target expected to be achieved in two years.IIT Bombay director Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri said the tech school in Powai, Mumbai, had similar plans.
“We also are working on it. We shall formally launch our campaign in March/April next year once our background job is done,” Chaudhuri said.
Prof. Gautam Barua, director of the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Guwahati, and former director of IIT Guwahati, said the government should “continue” to fund the institutes while they increase their endowment funds.
Barua said the Ivy League institutions had increased their endowment funds through constant engagement with former students and industry.
“The Indian institutions can replicate the same model. Now corporates would also prefer to donate because they have to spend 2 per cent of their profit on corporate social responsibility,” he said.