While historically preferred sectors such as education and healthcare continue to be supported, new-age entrepreneurs are now beginning to focus on under-represented causes within these sectors, including life skills, teacher training, special needs education, tuberculosis, palliative care, eye care and cancer care, among others.
As per the latest India Philanthropy Report (IPR) 2023, co-created by management consulting firm Bain & Company and Dasra, a strategic philanthropic organisation, several of these ‘inter-generation’ and ‘now-generation’ funders (19% or almost one in five) are also diversifying their giving portfolios to include emerging areas such as arts, culture and heritage, and others (36%) are supporting livelihood enhancement and skill development.
While ‘now-generation givers’ are professionals and entrepreneurs with first-generation wealth, ‘inter-generation’ givers refer to the current generation of traditional family philanthropists, as per the report.
“Within family philanthropy, we see now-generation and inter-generational donors as harbingers in reshaping giving by overcoming existing sector barriers owing to disruptive mindsets. Their aspirations extend beyond historical funding preferences, with over 90% of such donors from our sample wanting to be increasingly involved in emerging causes such as climate action, GEDI (gender, equality, diversity and inclusion), and ecosystem strengthening. Further, more than 70% of such donors displayed catalytic giving potential with a greater appetite for investing in pooled funding vehicles and a desire to take advantage of cross-learning opportunities. It is critical to support these promising cohorts while also inspiring others to invest similarly in order to strengthen India’s philanthropy ecosystem,” said Jishnu Batabyal, partner in Bain & Company and co-author of the India Philanthropy Report 2023.
“Inter-gen and now-gen givers are reshaping the landscape of Indian philanthropy owing to their disruptive mindsets. We are seeing a clear shift from giving based on personal motivations to bolder aspirations of building a stronger India. This is reflected in their giving behaviours that integrate an intersectional lens through a focus on gender, equity, diversity and inclusion, climate action, and a greater interest in strengthening the philanthropic infrastructure. These positive directional shifts have the potential to trigger a new era of bold and innovative philanthropy in India,” added Neera Nundy, co-founder and partner, Dasra.
Interestingly, 31% of the ‘inter-generation’ and ‘now-generation’ donors are giving to climate action and resilience efforts. This includes giving to fields such as wildlife conservation, environment, water treatment, sanitation, forestry and renewable energy. Some donors in this area include writer, author and philanthropist Rohini Nilekani; Zerodha co-founders Nithin and Nikhil Kamath; and Raintree Family Office founder Leena Dandekar.
“Our philanthropy centres on the climate crisis, which intersects with various sectors and has a far-reaching impact on them. Our outlook has evolved from supporting initiatives in the domain to also investing in building relevant narratives for increasing awareness throughout the ecosystem and driving meaningful change through policy advocacy,” explained Nikhil Kamath of Zerodha.
The next generation of givers is collaborating and giving together to critical challenges such as climate, gender, health and nutrition, among others, said Arnav Kapur of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“ACT Grants, GROW fund, YIPP, Rebuild India Fund, etc, are examples of vehicles that can support the growing momentum of collaborative philanthropy,” he added.
“While the traditional focus of philanthropy on solving the immediate and pressing needs of the underprivileged through funding interventions in health and education is essential, the time has come for philanthropy in India to evolve to the next level. As the philanthropic pie grows larger with increasing wealth creation, philanthropists would do well to start approaching their philanthropy in a more strategic manner by channeling their funding towards projects which catalyse systems change and deliver much higher social returns,” said Aditi Ray, director, Accelerate Indian Philanthropy (AIP), an organisation created as a peer network of philanthropists to accelerate and quality and quantity of giving in India.
According to an AIP report, ‘Getting Nonprofits in India Scale Ready’, currently, more than 70% of philanthropic funding goes to education, 15% to disaster relief, and 7% to healthcare. “However, we are increasingly finding that among our network of philanthropists, especially the next gen, there is greater interest in funding and supporting under-represented areas such as sports, arts and culture, and support to marginalised communities. Even within healthcare, more niche sub-sectors like mental health and elderly care are garnering greater interest,” added Ray.
Giving aspirations are extending beyond historical funding preferences, as evidenced by the India Philathropy Report, which indicate that 90% of funders want to invest in emerging areas such as art. “We have seen outstanding examples of people working in education, healthcare, gender issues, drinking water, etc. Arts and culture, somehow, have never seen that kind of prominence in support, as let’s say, healthcare or education have. I am not saying healthcare and education are not important. I’m saying it’s important also to include this, because this is our foundation, this is our anchor. But to be fair, we are seeing more and more companies pitching in,” Serendipity Arts Festival founder-patron Sunil Kant Munjal had told FE ahead of the festival’s 2022 edition.