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“Acknowledge your boons, be grateful, and give back”

Suresh Kumar, Partner and CIO, Grant Thornton India, on incorporating social responsibility in a corporate environment and its importance in today’s world. By Shweta Gandhi

Apart from being Partner and CIO at Grant Thornton India, Suresh Kumar also heads the CSR activities in the company, a role he finds very satisfying and one he voluntarily signed up for. Suresh has been actively involved in social causes, especially those involving children and the elderly, for many years. “We all should work towards the betterment of the organisation, but we should also take a step back and realise that our society has given us the privilege to be where we are today,” says Suresh. “So we should give back in thanks and do whatever we can.” Suresh thinks writing a cheque isn’t the best way to give back—for him,  a better way is by giving time. Suresh is also equally committed to his company, a fact that saw him being awarded as an ERP Icon at CIO Power List 2016. Here, he tells us about how he has built on his interest in social causes at Grant Thornton India.

A cumulative effort to bring about change
“At Grant Thornton we have a global program called GT In The Community. One of our core values is giving back to the community in which we live and work, and we encourage our Partners and employees to engage in social activities. Annually, we have one or two days that we identify to celebrate CSR day. Grant Thornton has 13 offices across India, and on the CSR day, employees need not do any other work—they just have to participate in CSR activities. All our offices choose a local NGO and the staff goes and spends the day there to provide support. They have full liberty in choosing what activity they wish to do—it could be anything from organising painting and singing competitions to making a long-term commitment to provide support. This year it will be celebrated on September 22.”

Imparting education to the underprivileged
One of the key supports we provide is education for the underprivileged. Last year, many employees adopted long-term measures to support the funding for the education of underprivileged children. Even in our office, we provide benefits to the support staff working at the bottom of the pyramid and sponsor their children’s education. We also provide consulting to NGOs on how to take care of their finances and operations. Globally, we have tied up with The Global Fund For Children (GFC). Earlier this year, we attended a program conducted by GFC in Kathmandu, Nepal, where we interacted with NGOs from all over Asia and gave them advice on finance and governance.”

Interactions with NGOs
“I am personally involved with a social venture called Samvedna Senior Care for the last three years. Based out of Gurgaon, it is dedicated to fulfilling the emotional needs of senior citizens. Samvedna provides a place where the elderly can talk, share and live life happily. They also take care of people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. I am actively involved with them, and help them in whatever way I can. I have also been associated with CRY for the last 15 years and with Goonj for the last 10 years. This work gives me peace of mind and immense satisfaction, and I look forward to contributing more in the coming years.” 

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