With the world still recovering from the pandemic, this year’s Dasra Philanthropy Week (DPW) from March 15-18th aimed to bring together leaders from the development sector around the world, and philanthropists onto a virtual platform to strengthen the dialogue around India’s post-COVID development and rise as a giving community to make #ABillionThriving across India in a just, diverse, and inclusive manner. Now in its 12th edition, DPW brought in over 1,700+ attendants from 26 countries across the world – making this edition truly global.
Over the course of March 15-18th, 25 sessions and talks were led by 110+ leading figures in family giving & development, such as:
- Dr. Yusuf Hamied – Chairman, Cipla
- MR Rangaswami – Founder, Indiaspora
- Olivia Leland – Founder & CEO, Co-Impact
- Hari Menon – Country Director, India, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Amitabh Kant – CEO, NITI Aayog
- Shri Hemant Soren – Hon’ble Chief Minister of Jharkhand
DPW showcased that despite COVID exacerbating the deep-seated inequalities and economic fragilities afflicting Indian society, family philanthropy in India – from both domestic and diaspora givers has risen up to the challenge. Dasra & Bain’s latest India Philanthropy Report, launched at DPW, showcased the rapid growth of family philanthropic giving towards India – tripling its corpus to USD 1.8 billion between 2019 and 2020 – leading sector experts to believe that the next decade is the golden age for family philanthropy.
Family philanthropy for India stems from deeply ingrained in the country’s customs and traditions. Prominent Indian family-owned businesses found their genesis in the “Made in India” movement around the nation’s independence. These families, now prevalent across the world – build on India’s family values and deep sense of community, to continue creating economic opportunities and investing in philanthropic opportunities to aid India in achieving its SDGs.
Discussions during key sessions also highlighted the changing behaviors in diaspora giving, with the pandemic forcing givers to reflect on how they can give more strategically and effectively. Diaspora givers are spending more time to understand where the true needs are, and where they can make a difference the most, through trust-based circles consisting of their peers and intermediaries who provide on-field insights that insulated diaspora givers crucially need now more than ever.
“Privilege is something that I reflected on a lot – it shields us from the realities of this world, and from the true meaning of what philanthropy should signify. Perhaps we should listen deeply and learn from the leaders on the frontline – this is particularly true for us diaspora who aren’t even based in India. We must use our privilege to change how we approach the problem and fund strategically to achieve the systemic change we all talk about.” – Sonal Sachdev Patel, CEO, GMSP Foundation
While public health remains the immediate concern, DPW’s learning labs focused on sub-themes for which family philanthropy should be guided towards – as we rebuild lives and livelihoods affected by the pandemic, including:
- Supporting key sectors that could result in catalytic impact: adolescents, water, sanitation & hygiene, vulnerable informal workers
- Promoting collaboration between stakeholders to create systemic change
- Harnessing data to power insight-led giving in India
Discussions around data as a tool to empower the most marginalized communities across India found traction within the diaspora audience. In particular, the audience found themselves sharing views on the need for more publicly available data and discussing the value of systems for community-centric data collection, in order to be leveraged to tackle challenges raised by COVID more effectively.
We would like to thank our enthusiastic Indiaspora attendants who took part in our sessions, especially those that took place at odd Pacific/Eastern hours! If you would like to learn more about the event and its key highlights, do visit www.dasraphilanthropyweek.org
Tushaar Carvalho is an Associate at Dasra’s Strategic Philanthropy team. He works alongside Dasra’s Indian diaspora givers based in the US & UK. Tushaar has a Masters in Development Science from the London School of Economics. He can be reached at email@example.com