Sanjiv, when did you first start to think about giving to other people in a systematic way? Why?
I was raised with it and as far back as I can remember my parents always left 10% of the family income for “people who needed it more than us“. I come from a middle class family in India. My mother was the Principal of a high school and my father worked as an administrative officer in the Army Headquarters in Delhi as a civilian. I remember their joint income when I was growing up was under 50 dollars – which is what made in the 60’s and 70’s in India a middle class family. I continued this tradition thoughout my work life and then when I started the first Café in Prague in May 1991. Later, I had the good fortune of increasing it to over 20% of profits and last few years we have been using over 30% for sustainable philanthrophy. From 2015 our intention is to raise the bar further and commit over 50% of Zatisi Group profits to sustainable philanthrophy. Good Angel is one of the projects that fits perfectly into this structure.
Do you remember your first encounter with Good Angel?
When Andrej Kiska first presented the concept to a group of entrepreneurs in Prague in 2011.
Was it easy for you to decide to support, alongside Jan Černý, Petr Sýkora and a few other philanthropists, operational costs of Good Angel with CZK 1 mil a year?
I remember thinking at that time also of being one of the founders of Good Angel in the Czech Republic – principally because of the concept of – “EVERY LAST PENNY – TRANSPARENTLY”. The fact that each individual can see exactly which family they help and the families that get the funds can transparently see who the funding is coming from is a unique concept that is unparalled in any other non-profit organisation. It also makes a huge social impact. So when you came up with the idea a couple of months ago, it was a no brainer to decide.
You can't possibly help everyone in need, so how do you decide where you / Zatiší help?
Most of the help of Zatisi goes to Africa and Asia – simply because each dollar spent affects many more people or children. To give you an example: a school with 80-100 children in full board and living on the premises can be operated with CZK 1 million a year – a similar level of support that we provide for Good Angel. For the same amount of money, you could also build a new school in Ethiopia or Kenya or the Democratic Republic of Congo. We provide a similar level of funding to Ikerezi in Rwanda which is a sustainable project where farmers grow Petunia and 3 other kinds of flowers for the perfume industry. This project will be self sufficient by 2017 and will support over 1000 families by then. But you know all this because you have been involved with the Surya Project in Northern India.