Manu Chandaria feted with Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Manu Chandaria feted with Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

A screen grab from a video of businessman Manu Chandaria speaking when he received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy at a ceremony held in New York on October 13, 2022. PHOTO/COURTESY

Business mogul Manu Chandaria was on Thursday feted with the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy when the Carnegie family of institutions celebrated their 20th anniversary in a ceremony held in New York.

This comes after Carnegie, in August, honoured Chandaria, Lyda Hill, Dolly Parton, Lynn Schusterman, Stacy Schusterman, and the World Central Kitchen for their contributions to bettering the world.

Manu's Chandaria Foundation was specifically lauded for "advancing opportunity and addressing critical needs in Africa through investments in health-care infrastructure, secondary and higher education, poverty relief, and environmentalism."

"The goal of the medal is to inspire a culture of giving by honoring innovative philanthropists and by elevating the importance and relevance of philanthropic contributions to our society," said Carnegie on its website in August.

Speaking when he received the award, Chandaria underscored that philanthropy is more than just giving money to people who need it, noting that people can still be philanthropic by contributing to society in any way they can.

"Philanthropy is not just about writing a check and giving it away. It is about serving  the community. Whether it is by giving money, by working for the community or by looking after them, whatever way that's what I call philanthropy," he said.

Manu proceeded to take a walk down memory lane, narrating to the audience how the Chandaria Foundation came to be.

It was in the 1950s and Manu had just returned to Kenya after spending three years in the United States studying at the University of Oklahoma.

A few months after jetting back into the country, Manu approached his father with a proposition to set up the Chandaria Foundation.

His father was not as enthusiastic.

"He (Manu's father) looked at me and he said is something wrong with you and I asked what is wrong with me," said Manu.

"My dad said that I had lived in the States for too long and I replied that I had only been there for three years to which he responded by saying we are not Carnegie, Rockefeller or Ford. There is a big hole over here and 36 family members at home, fill it up first then you can think about it."

After being turned down at the first time of asking Manu proceeded to focus on his business endeavours.

The proposition was not discussed again until five years later when Manu's father finally warmed up to the idea. Their family business had also gained traction at the time.

"After five years he came back and said I like your idea. Here is 10 percent of my company for Chandaria Foundation," he said.

He likewise challenged those in attendance to consider supporting any philanthropic institutions or forming some of their own, highlighting that any contribution can make a difference.

"When you go home think about it, create a foundation, start from today and it will work because it is nothing but giving in all the ways that we can. Thank you so much Carnegie for giving me the time," he said.  


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