Sukanto Tanoto is a business giant often known for his natural resource empire. As chairman of RGE, he manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas – all industry giants in their own rights. With over 60,000 employees under his charge and assets worth 18 billion dollars, Sukanto Tanoto is an oft-cited success story who inspires with his grit, determination, and spirit. While many have heard of his success in business, much less has been mentioned of his philanthropy.
How Tanoto Foundation started
The 68 year-old, often characterised by success and all its trappings, wasn’t born into all that he has today. As a seventeen year-old, Sukanto Tanoto had his education cut short – it left him with little choice but to strike it out on his own as he started his own business. While that has arguably turned out well for him, Sukanto Tanoto has always counted his unfinished education amongst his greatest regrets.
Sukanto Tanoto’s belief that everyone should have an equal right to do better in life ultimately laid the foundations for his philanthropy. Together with his wife, Tinah Bingei Tanoto, they started building kindergartens and schools in Besitang, Sumatra, back in 1981. As life-long learners themselves, the power couple deeply believed in the power of education, and have geared their philanthropy as such. Today, Tanoto Foundation (TF) prides itself on being a leading philanthropic organisation that has done much good for society.
An eye on tomorrow
Lestari Boediono, TF’s Head of Corporate Communications, most recently affirmed this, as she revealed the foundation’s plans to focus on grooming the next generation of Indonesian leaders. Through TF’s multitude of programmes, over 6,700 scholarships at 35 different universities have already been given, said Lestari at the fast breaking event in Medan.
The scholars of TF’s programmes are not just paid to study either; scholars are often provided with supplementary capacity-building training workshops, and often participate in networking sessions through the annual Tanoto Scholars Gathering. The scholars are also encouraged to pay it forward to spread the good to more people. The aim ultimately, said Lestari, is to fulfil the vision and mission thought of by Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto – to educate, empower, and enhance the quality of lives.