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Philanthropy

Published on: Feb. 9, 2024, 11:22 a.m.
‘To be felt and not heard,’ AMM Foundation shows the way
  • Sir Ivan Stedeford Hospital, Avadi, Chennai

By K.T. Jagannathan

The left hand should not know what the right hand gives, so goes an old adage. The art of giving is a twice-blessed one; it blesses the giver and blesses the receiver, too. In the modern world, marketing is the name of the game. But there are a few who do their jobs quietly and without any publicity. One such institution is the AMM Foundation, which has been active for 100 odd years.  

These days, we need a law to make the corporate world a responsible citizen!  The law now makes it mandatory for companies to set apart a portion of their profits towards CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities. But ask M.A. Alagappan, chairman of the AMM Foundation, and he would tell you that the art of giving back to the society has been an integral part of the Murugappa group much before the enactment of the law that mandated corporates to spend 2 per cent of their profits on CSR projects. “We would like to be felt and not heard,” says Alagappan, who has been associated with the foundation for nearly a decade now, after his retirement from the business activities of the Murugappa group.

The AMM Foundation has been getting 1 per cent of the group companies’ CSR funds. The funds are allotted on the basis of project proposals from the foundation. “The foundation’s guiding principles are rooted in the concepts of magamai (where a small portion of the income is set aside for philanthropy) and one of the Murugappa group’s articulated values, which is social responsibility,” says Alagappan. The activities of AMM Foundation are aimed at serving the society. “We never want to leverage it,” he makes it clear.

Established in 1924, with the inauguration of the AMM Hospital, Pallathur, Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, the AMM Foundation now manages several institutions and projects across India. Under the healthcare division, the foundation manages five hospitals – AMM Hospital (Pallathur), Sir Ivan Stedeford Hospital (Avadi, Chennai), AMM Arunachalam Hospital (Nellikuppam, Cuddalore), Valliammai Achi Hospital (Kadayalumoodu, Kanyakumari) and Coromandel Hospital (Kakinada). “In addition to this, there are mobile health vans in six remote locations in India,” informs Alagappan.

In the field of education

The foundation manages five educational institutions in Chennai – Murugappa Polytechnic College (Avadi), Sir Ramaswamy Mudaliar Higher Secondary School (Ambattur), Vellayan Chettiar Higher Secondary School (Tiruvottiyur), TI School (Ambattur) and AMM School (Kotturpuram). Apart from these, the foundation enables higher education support through the AMM Murugappa Chettiar Centenary Scholarship programme and the reach of practical science education through the mobile science van and the Murugappa Science Centre in Sivaganga and Pudukottai districts in Tamil Nadu.

The Shri AMM Murugappa Chettiar Research Centre works in areas related to food and nutrition through sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and environmental protection for rural community development. Also, to bring water back to the area, the foundation had recently begun a water rejuvenation project called Nanneer in the Sivaganga region. Currently seven water bodies have been restored under this project.

  • Alagappan: serving the society

    Alagappan: serving the society

Numbers tell a tale or two as to what the AMM Foundation has been doing over the years. Patient footfalls across five hospitals in 2023 were 624,764 in 2023. The foundation has some six mobile health van locations, through which over 84,000 people have benefited during 2023.

A unique thing about the foundation is the active participation of the women members of the group in its activities. Top women members of the family were prominently featured on the audio-visual, articulating the works of the foundation, which is celebrating its centenary. Each one of the women spoke with passion and in eloquent English. Insiders inform that the ladies in the group are intensely involved in the not-for-profit activities that directly touch upon the lives of the downtrodden. Be it in running hospitals or schools, the women folk in the family are right up there to provide the hand-holding. 

What comes out clearly is the purpose behind the activities of the foundation and passion with which they are carried out. Surely, the ladies in the group are doing more than their bit to solidify the efforts of the foundation.

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