India:The past year has brought with it the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme adversity, impacting several lives and livelihoods across the country. Amongst the most severely affected, were grassroots organisations who were at the frontlines of rescue and relief efforts while barely managing to survive or sustain themselves. As a result, today, many of these organisations are grappling with depleted reserves of funds, organisational fatigue and the risk of forced closure, as community needs and vulnerabilities compound and deepen.
During this challenging time, EdelGive continues to place its hope in collaboration and collective action to mobilise goodwill, expertise and resources to ensure a recovery that is not only timely, but also holistic.
In this context, EdelGive Foundation launches the Grassroots, Resilience, Ownership and Wellness (GROW) Fund, a first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at building the capabilities, resilience and future readiness of grassroots organisations, in turn facilitating their efforts to effect change at the grassroots. Anchored by EdelGive Foundation along with a collection of reputed funders, the GROW Fund aims to strengthen 100 high impact grassroots organisations over 24 months, through capacity building, and support of key organisational functions.
On 6th July, 2021, as a lead up to the launch, EdelGive hosted the first roundtable on GROW which produced an array of invaluable insights that are helping to frame our ideas and ambitions for the Fund. The conversations reinforced the urgency of making philanthropy more inclusive and accessible to small and mid-sized NGOs connected with disadvantaged communities, intertwining a trust-based approach and data-led style of philanthropy, laying emphasis on organisational development for sustainability, and designing for scale through long-term, partner-led partnership and funding approaches.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Manan Trust, Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies, MacArthur Foundation, A.T.E. Chandra Foundation and Ashish Kacholia, along with the Edelweiss Group have joined as core funders to the initiative. Eminent businesspersons known for their commitment to philanthropy such as Sanjay Purohit and the Bikhchandani family have also committed to this cause, and are supporting the Fund. EdelGive also looks forward to welcoming many more individuals and organisations to GROW in the months to come
Applications to the GROW Fund are now open, and the Fund’s 100 grantees will be selected through an open and transparent online application process. Each application will be judged objectively, based on both qualitative and quantitative information submitted on broad parameters such as financial strength and fundraising capacity, compliance, reach, impact and coverage, as well as critical gaps in funding. EdelGive will be working with the COVID Action Collaborative (CAC), GOONJ, Jan Sahas,
OXFAM, ACUMEN ACADEMY, ARTHAN, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), Council for Social & Digital Development and Social Lens as outreach partners, to ensure equal representation from the North, South, East and West zones of India.
“GROW was conceptualised keeping in mind the operational struggles, emotional fatigue and mental health of every grassroots organisation during the prolonged pandemic and its accompanying hardships. Our aim is not only to support these organisations for their core costs and functioning, but also to ensure that their voices are heard so that their issues are effectively solved.” – Vidya Shah,
Executive Chairperson, EdelGive Foundation
“Through the GROW Fund, we intend to institutionalise our belief in grassroots organisations and the communities they work with. In this context, we believe that grassroots organisations are the best placed to find, not only the most effective but also the most sustainable solutions to the plethora of issues and hardships faced by underserved/marginalised communities in light of the pandemic.” – Naghma Mulla, CEO, EdelGive Foundation
With GROW, we focus on designing solutions at scale and then distributing the ability to solve. The idea is to erect structures – including technology-based structures – to enable people to solve in context. I believe that this is how we, as a society, can move away from working to put out fires as they arise, and move towards a resilient framework of response that can be employed across the board.” – Rohini Nilekani, Founder and Chairperson, Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies
“Systemic issues cannot be solved by planning interventions for causes and/or organisations individually. The GROW Fund lays emphasis on solutions that are capable of supporting partnerships, communities and institutions at a systemic level.” – Amit Chandra, Founder, A.T.E. Chandra Foundation
“From filling in the gaps in public services, to dealing with the consequences of our policy responses and amplifying the voices that are left unheard in the corridors of power, it has fallen to grassroots organisations to try and minimise the catastrophic impact of this pandemic on our fellow citizens. With GROW, we aim to take on the mantle of protector for these organisations by ensuring their resilience, sustainability and future-readiness. – Ingrid Srinath, Director, Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy (CSIP), Ashoka University
Come be a part of the GROW Fund’s journey to build sustainable organisations that can maximise their impact on ground and enable a robust civil society in India!