Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto started Tanoto Foundation in 1981 to support poverty alleviation efforts. Both Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto believe that everyone has the same right to have adequate and productive life and education is the key to support that right. However, the provision of education can’t be carried out successfully if it is not supported by other factors such as community empowerment and enhancement of quality of lives. Through empowerment, individual, household, and community economic potential is maximized. The efforts to improve education and empower people are also supported by development of infrastructure and facilities so community members can further enhance the quality of their lives.
To support the education sector, Tanoto Foundation implements School Improvement Program in more than 200 elementary schools in Riau, Jambi, and North Sumatra. Through coordination and collaboration with Ministry of Education and Culture at the national level and Education Office at provincial and district levels, this Program is carried out by involving local community and establishing sustainable models. Furthermore, the Program consists of six components which include development of schools that are safe, healthy, and environment-friendly, support for libraries establishment, development of model schools, support for early childhood development center, capacity building efforts for teachers, and establishment of Education Forum.
Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto believe that education continuity is very important in supporting one’s effort to realize his or her full potential. Based on this belief, one of Tanoto Foundation’s programs is focused on enabling qualified students from all types of background to receive scholarships. These programs include National Champion and Regional Champion Scholarship where Tanoto Foundation works with nine and 28 universities, respectively. Tanoto Foundation also provides scholarships for teachers from remote areas so they could have access to higher education and subsequently improve the quality of education for students in their schools. Tanoto Foundation also collaborates with PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper to provide scholarships for students to attend Paper and Pulp Technology Academy in Bandung, West Java. Meanwhile, junior secondary students in North Sumatra are also supported. Finally, as a form of support of Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto for the members of Royal Golden Eagle big family, Sayap Garuda Scholarship is available for the children of the employees.
Based on the experience of Sukanto Tanoto as a successful entrepreneur, Tanoto Foundation also carries out Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series regularly. Working with University of Indonesia Faculty of Economics Graduate Program in Management, these events are held to support development of entrepreneurships in Indonesia.
As for support for improvement of higher education quality, Tanoto Foundation has established a collaboration with The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania that enables studies and researches on ASEAN, with particular focus on Indonesia to be carried out. In addition, Tanoto Professorship Award and Tanoto Student Research Award are available for researches that are beneficial for communities. Meanwhile, the provision of supporting infrastructure and facilities for higher education is done through collaboration with Prasetya Mulya Business School (Tanoto Library,) PPM Manajemen (Tanoto Library,) Gadjah Mada University (Tanoto Floor,) Bogor Agriculture Institute (Tanoto Forestry Information Center,) and North Sumatra University (Auditorium and Student Center).
Complementary to the effort to improve quality of education, Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto also believe that the effort to empower the community and enhance their quality of lives is also required to support poverty alleviation.
Empowerment program is carried out together with national and local NGOs and corporate partners. The activities with corporate partners include Integrated Farming System and support for small and medium enterprises, vocational training, and plasma farmers’ capacity building.
For enhancement of quality of lives, Tanoto Foundation and its partners work together to support development and improvement of access to clean water and electricity, and health facilities. In times of natural disasters such as the ones in Aceh and North Sumatra, various types of assistance were provided through the rapid disaster response program.
"We have to look after our people. That does not mean only our employees. It includes the community." – Sukanto Tanoto, Founder of Tanoto Foundation.