Philanthropy Ecosystem Discussion in India

Philanthropy Ecosystem Discussion in India

By Sarah Brown-Campello, Network Coordinator

On February 22nd, WINGS hosted a meeting in Mumbai India titled Landscape of Support to Philanthropy in India: Challenges and Opportunities. This meeting, co-hosted by GuideStar India in the EdelGive offices, brought together roughly 40 individuals representing diverse areas of India’s philanthropy and social impact ecosystem including, from traditional foundations such as Tata Trusts and the National Foundation of India, to networks such as Samhita and Vani, to other players supporting the field, like CSIP Ashoka, Dasra, GiveNow, and the Indian Development Review.

Meeting participants frankly discussed the challenges and state of the field in the region, and what opportunities might exist for a future entity connecting these different players. Participants generally agreed on three specific gaps: an 1) absence of knowledge, 2) absence of networks, and, 3) absence of norms = three big gap areas.

The meeting culminated in an open discussion about future possibilities, including possibly developing a national entity to better connect different players. Other issues at the meeting that are very relateable to other countries and regional contexts include challenges in funding philanthropy infrastructure, scaling successful practices, long-term investment in the field, and transparency/trust issues between many different players including government, foundations, and NGOs.

This process is moving forward with a small group from the meeting following up and collaborating on possible next steps for this process. In the months to come, CSIP Ashoka & WINGS will launch an “ecosystem scan”, or mapping of the ecosystem of support to philanthropy, of India.

This meeting connects to a larger framework of WINGS’ mission to support the development of philanthropy where it is needed most, with a similar regional meeting that happened in Latin America & the Caribbean in September 2017. We hope that these processes can feed and inspire similar approaches and activities in other regions.

Below is a quote from Amit Chandra about the state of the field:

“[India has a] Lack of infrastructure organizations: it is the number one issue that the sector faces. In the corporate world, everything falls into place because they have access to great talent and access to resources. Unless we think about and address these issues, we cannot unlock the capital and potential [of philanthropy]. We have to systematically map the landscape. It is our responsibility to think about the gaps and highlight them to people who can do something about it. Often people are shooting in the dark, and people don’t know what the gaps are. We have a responsibility to think about these gaps and identify who are the peers to can be nurtured and can service the sector. [We must] Provide the roots so that can grow into bigger plants and trees. We need to think about these issues structurally. Knowledge sharing is extremely valuable but we need to do this in a systematic way. In that sense the mapping will help. The media space needs investment, HR is also a space where investments need to be done, but we need this in a more systematic way.”

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