As many as 25 India-focused non-profits have come together on a common, collective platform to make the case for philanthropy channelled towards India’s development, by organising the first ever India Giving Day.
Being organised under the banner of India Philanthropy Alliance, these top NGOs have declared March 2 as India Giving Day to not only raise funds, but also to show a spirt of collaboration and to highlight their common commitment to India’s development – irrespective of the specific causes each of these organisations is striving or advocating for.
Some of the top participants in India Giving Day are Agastya USA, Akanksha Education, Akhand Jyoti USA, American Friends of HelPAge India, American India Foundation, Antara International, Armman, Arogya World, and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (USA).
“One of the things we're trying to emphasise is not so much the amount of giving, but the number of donations. Because we wanna make sure that the young person who takes from their allowance and gives $10 feels valued,” Alex Counts, Director of India Philanthropic Alliance, told PTI in an interview.
The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum has announced its support for the initiative.
“75 years ago, India gained independence, that generation gave us an India of new hope – it’s time we support them and give them a new sense of hope," USISPF president Mukesh Aghi said in a video message. Aghi is a board member of American Friends of HelpAge India.
A 2018 survey suggested that the Indian diaspora gives about a billion dollars philanthropically annually in the US.
“However, I think that's only the tip of the iceberg. I think it can and will grow to about $3 billion in the next five to 10 years. One of the things we're trying to do through India Giving Day is to speed that process up and to have that increase in giving, which would be the equivalent of adding entirely a second Gates Foundation, $2 billion a year,” Counts said.
“I would like to see the Indian diaspora get there quicker, and I'd like to do, have it be more impactful, and I'd like to see the giving be done more joyfully,” Counts said. And to observe the 75 years of India’s independence, he said that the first $75 of every donation will be matched up until the point they expend $25,000.
“75 is taken intentionally to be in honour of India's independence celebration,” he said.
Coinciding with the first ever India Giving Day, the IPA chief said multiple on-line and in-person events would be held across the country.
“I'm hoping for thousands of donations, millions of dollars, but it's just a down payment on what we hope for in the future,” Counts said, adding that IPA plans to make it an annual event.
Counts is not of Indian origin but has taken a lead in organising India-focused NGOs to bring them under one umbrella for increased coordination, collaboration and communication to advance their collective mission.
“So that we can hopefully do more together than what we just could do independently, to advance our collective missions, which are really about a poverty-free India and an ecologically sound India and contributing to those goals,” he said.