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Indian Donor and Philanthropic Community Common Charter on COVID-19

Strategic Philanthropy | COVID-19 | Apr 7, 2020

Three respected leaders from the field of philanthropy and corporate sector in India have issued a joint appeal to the CSR Foundations, funding and philanthropic organisations to urgently come together and focus their efforts in protecting the most vulnerable people—the elderly, the sick, the physically challenged, the poor and informal sector, migrant workers—affected by the COVID19 crisis in India.

The joint appeal, signed by Rishad Premji, Wipro Chairman, Rohini Nilekani, well-known philanthropist and founder-chairperson of Arghyam, and Vidya Shah, CEO of EdelGive Foundation, has called for extraordinary and urgent measures to address the emerging crisis in the immediate term and over long run. “As funders rally around the public health response and drug development, we must also help workers and their families ensure they can continue to put food on the table, economic opportunity on hand , have the ability to stay home from work when they or a loved one are sick, and weather the economic and social storm that lies ahead,” they stated in the joint appeal. “This will call on all of us — philanthropy, government, business community and non-profit groups — to act in extraordinary ways, calling on muscles we have not used since the Great Depression, Global Financial Crises, or perhaps never have in recent history,” the appeal further states.

The appeal strongly underlines the need for CSR foundations and philanthropic organisations in India to join hands for a two-fold response to the global health pandemic. In the immediate term, it invites the large donor community in India to pledge for providing more effective support to and strengthening of their civil society partners by introducing flexibilities and undertaking measures in their grant-making and monitoring mechanisms. The flexibility measures include things like loosening or eliminating the restrictions on current grants, converting project-based grants to a framework funding or unrestricted support, accelerating payment schedules, and not holding grantees responsible if conferences, events, and other project deliverables are postponed or cancelled. It also called for making new grants as unrestricted as possible, so non-profit partners have maximum flexibility to respond to this crisis.

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