Philanthropy’s Best Kept Secret…And its Impact on India

Philanthropy’s Best Kept Secret…And its Impact on India

June 18, 2021 | Author: Duane Wilson, Vice President of Strategic Development

I’ve discovered one of the best kept secrets in the Social Impact world – it’s called The Gratitude Network, and I know about it because I myself was selected as a 2020 Gratitude Fellow.  And even better – this organization is already impacting children and education throughout India.

Gratitude Network began in 2013 to support under-represented and underserved children, through the dynamic and innovative leaders who guide them, receive the necessary support and resources they need to achieve long, bright futures. Last year, Gratitude received over 1300 applicants from around the world for our fellowship. Through this rigorous review process, which includes judging for impact, exceptional teams, business model, financials and impact on children/youth, we selected 33 to be “Fellows” for 2021. Gratitude Fellows receive a 1-year program of deep, intense 1:1 coaching and access to over 60 strategic advisors to help them scale their business model to achieve results they only dreamed of.

To date, Gratitude’s year-long fellowship program has accelerated the development of over 145 social impact leaders worldwide. Sixty-three percent of our current fellows identify as women and 89% are people of color. Each Gratitude Network fellow has ties to a youth-oriented program focused on education, health and wellbeing, or children’s rights.  This short video link featuring the 2021 Gratitude Fellows, is a sample of the inspirational organizations that make up our Fellows and Alumni. 

Here’s the great news – more than 16 of our past/present Fellows are supporting most major regions within India.  For example, Jyoti Thyagarajan, the Founder of Meghshala in Bangalore, has with the help of Gratitude Network expanded her teacher/student program across India and grown to over 2,500 schools!  

Today, I’m proud to have joined the Gratitude team as Vice President of Strategic Development, so I’ve seen how our programs impact children and youth-focused organizations globally. My most cherished moments of my Fellowship experience are the educational and heartfelt virtual gatherings with peers across the USA, Africa, Asia and India. 

Gratitude Network believes leveraged philanthropy can alleviate systemic challenges and help generate positive impact on the lives of children around the world. This is the vision our Founder, Randy Haykin continues to champion each day as a Jefferson Award Winner, which was televised in the Bay area: Here is the recent story.

This month, the Gratitude Network brings our current cohort together, along with the Gratitude Staff and Board, Coaches, Expert Advisors, and Supporters for four days of learning, interacting, networking, and fun – we call it the “Leadership Summit.”   The theme for this year is “Learning and Leading Together,” and we invite anyone reading this blog to join for a special session on Saturday, June 26th to meet (live and in person) most of this year’s Fellows.  You can  register here

Gratitude is proud that we are supporting many Indian social entrepreneurs who are impacting children and youth.  And, we are teaming up with Indiaspora to get our message out.  We are looking for individuals and families who can help us bring our message and mission to the Bay Area Indian community. 

We hope you will join us on this journey by attending an event, or getting in touch with me personally to learn more about our Gratitude India programs. Join us in positively impacting the lives of the nearly 40 million (and counting!) children globally who receive assistance every day as a result of our fellowship program!

Our application window for the 2022 cohort opens in early July.  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn to be kept up to date on all things Gratitude.


Duane Wilson is an experienced leader in nonprofits, startups and youth empowerment initiatives. After launching his first business in high school, he continued to grow as an innovator during his many activities in college and beyond. His roles in guiding organizations and teaching youth inspired him to author “Jackie and The Dreamstalk” a children’s book for young entrepreneurs. Service is a personal calling and Duane has received a variety of awards for his contributions. One of his treasured recognitions was becoming a Gratitude Network Fellow.