#DPW2022 | Building Philanthropic Infrastructure A clarion call for India to step up

Mar 22, 2022


While India has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world in the last decade, its growth story needs to be more inclusive. Over the last 5-6 years, the Indian philanthropy sector has shown interesting trends across funder segments – CSR, retail, and family philanthropy. On the one hand, the pandemic affected the inflow of funds to the sector, but it also inspired a spark of generosity among people who had never given before. This cadre of new givers in India’s philanthropy landscape is issue-driven, eager to learn, and demanding more transparency, thus holding the power to transform social impact giving. India now stands at a crucial juncture that calls for greater investment in building a robust philanthropy infrastructure to support different funder cohorts. This session launches the India Philanthropy Report 2022, which provides a comprehensive view of the key statistics and shifts that have defined India’s giving landscape over the last few years and stresses the need to invest in building an enabling ecosystem for all funder segments.


0:01:46.0 Neera: At the crossroads of great change, we are faced with the need for great resolve. To challenge the challenging, to build a resilient world for tomorrow. And while we remain rooted to the realities of our communities, today the systems we create, the conversations we hold, actively question these realities and make space for change. Because, for a billion Indians to thrive, we must relook at our realities as fluid, our potential for change as flexible and interconnected. So this year, we are coming together to embrace that potential of transforming communities through conversions of perspectives and continued action that rebuilds the future with resilience.


0:04:51.0 Neera: I still see some folks coming on in, but I’d like to take this moment and welcome everyone to the 13th edition of the the Dasra Philanthropy Week. And while the last decade has given us great reason to celebrate our economic progress, the devastating pandemic has forced us to confront our current reality. There are two stark realities, in how I see it, becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies, one can call India, and the other perhaps we call Bharat, where 400 million realities have become the largest number of extreme poor globally.

0:05:29.0 Neera: With this backdrop and the fresh wounds of the COVID war, this year’s forum focuses on continuity, community and convergence. Sharing learnings for collaborative actions for greater continuity, keeping communities at the centre and forcing convergence towards inclusive scalable solutions. Accelerating Dasra’s vision. A transformed India where a billion thrive with dignity and equity. With you today, Dasra celebrates it’s 22 years of pioneering an approach to shaping collaborative philanthropy, which we’re thrilled to know now has new players, tremendous innovation and a changing landscape.

0:06:08.9 Neera: Regardless Dasra’s work is guided by a strong belief in prioritizing the lives of vulnerable communities, trusting and respecting the wisdom of local home-grown non-profits and leveraging the power of trust-based networks to build social capital with what we’re calling a Jedi lens. Jedi, equity, diversity and inclusion. Dasra now thrives on two core capabilities, becoming the backbone of collaborative platforms and catalyzing proximate philanthropy towards Dasra’s mission, collaborative action to accelerate social change.

0:06:43.7 Neera: Since 1999, Dasra has strengthened the social sector talent pipeline, which many of you have our alumni with you. We’ve had over 350 Dasra alumni into the sector, fundraised more than $200 million, or 2100 crores to the sector, supported thousands of diverse NGOs across the country and affected the lives we hope of over 90 million Indians. We need a philanthropic revolution and a bold ambition now, and so we’re declaring that by 2030 Dasra will aim to raise a billion dollars, 7500 crores and affect over 500 million lives.

0:07:22.4 Neera: Join us in this urgent call to action # a billion thriving, the nation needs you, Bharat needs you. And so, welcome to this session called Building Philanthropic Infrastructure. It’s a clarion call for India to step up, and we have the privilege and partnership over more than a decade with Bain & Company of launching perhaps the few data pieces on philanthropy in India. It’s my pleasure to invite Radhika, to share the India Philanthropy Report 2022.

0:08:00.8 Radhika: Thanks a lot, Neera, for the opportunity to partner with Dasra, again this year on the India Philanthropy Report. As with previous years, we hope that IPR continues to provide a guide to the overall giving landscape, and also act as both, to the extent possible, releasing the source of truth, as well as provide insights into key trends.

0:08:22.5 Radhika: As Neera mentioned over the last two years overall, giving patterns have also been disrupted by the pandemic, so this year’s report focuses on three primary questions. The first is why does philanthropy and private philanthropy matter, and how has its importance grown in recent years. The second, what are the key long term as well as recent trends in giving. This year, we’ve also taken a stab for the first time in forecasting what might happen over the next five years, and this is something that we hope to come back to in the subsequent years to trace the progress. And finally, what do we need to collectively do as funders, recipients, and broadly the interested ecosystem to unlock giving in line with these projections.

0:09:10.4 Radhika: So of course, this year’s report really comes against a backdrop of a very dramatic year from the perspective of the economy. We have seen at one end both a sharp increase in the networks of UHNI, HNI, individuals, but also increasing distress including metrics like an increase in the share of rural poor for the first time in decades. And therefore, private philanthropy takes on increasing importance in this context. By various common metrics, including the spends of neighbouring countries and the media own zone estimate of requirements, we’re falling short of the spending required against various social sector objectives. And therefore will see a gap in terms of our ability to reach our Sustainable Development Goals.

0:09:57.4 Radhika: And therefore, there is a pressing need for innovation and private solutions to complement public funding towards the social sector. Over the last five years, public spending across sectors has grown at a fairly healthy pace for about 12% year on year. And paradoxically, it is really private funding whose share of the total contribution towards social sector objectives has declined. While it has grown in absolute terms, the relative share compared to the public giving has declined. Peeling the onion, though, each segment within private giving has behaved quite differently.

0:10:36.5 Radhika: Over the last five years, again, we have seen foreign funding toward social causes in India has contracted as a result of various increased restrictions on the deployment of funds and the causes to which it can be given. Domestic revenue giving on the other hand, which includes CSR, retail funding, as well as donations by UHNI, HNI individuals, has grown at 8 to 10 percent a year. Though it has stagnated in the past year through COVID.

0:11:08.1 Radhika: The most recent years trend of stagnation in overall giving is really confirmed also by the experience of various NGOs on the ground who have seen their available funds become challenged as the existing spend pool has got diverted towards COVID related causes to some extent. And we will look at how this has actually played out across giving segments.

0:11:32.5 Radhika: Within the private domestic giving overall, which as I had mentioned, have grown at 8 to 10 percent over the last five years. We are seeing quite divergent trends. CSR accounts for more than a quarter of the total giving now, and this is up substantially relative for the last few years. CSR spending has overall grown at 15% a year, so it’s outpaced the spending growth for the overall private sector, most reliable data, and it’s based on bottom-up assessments of giving of the largest companies, government data, as well as trends that have been triangulated on the back of growth in corporate profits of companies and various databases tracking the economy. So this is one consistent increase that we’ve seen over the last few years. Coming to UHNIs, and these we’re defining as families with a net worth of more than 1000 Crores. There are some interesting patterns in giving that we’ve observed in the UHNI, segment over the last few years. The first is that while it is a very important spend contributor, it’s not as consistent over time.

0:12:44.8 Radhika: If you look at this… The trend in giving for CSR for instance, it has been secularly increasing until the COVID year, but you see that spend from UHNI is a little bit more lumpy, and this is as a result of the fact that the spend is being aggregated and given to causes that are not consistently year on year. It is currently less than 15% for private giving, but given past trends, this number may well bounce back up, driven by some large donors entering the space. The HNI segment is the next one, and this is the least clear dataset. HNIs are defined as households with a net worth of between 7 Crores and 1000 Crores, but this is the segment which is least consistently tracked. It falls somewhere between retail, which is tracked through a sample survey level, and UHNI giving which tends to be reported more clearly. HNI on the other hand, tends to not be reported that well, and therefore, this is based on both an estimate of the number of households that fall into this segment.

0:13:58.9 Radhika: The net worth that they have today, and estimates of giving as a proportion of that net worth that is extrapolated from the experience of the segments above and below. But we anticipate that there is a significant unlock possible here. And finally, if you look at retail, which is right on top, this today is about one-third of total private domestic giving. It has been fairly consistent at this level, and is based on… The data is actually quite scattered, but this is based on multiple triangulations of both survey data on total giving for all unorganized giving, as well as, income tax filings, some information from donor platforms and so on, which track organized giving. At the headline level, like I said, 8 to 10 percent growth over the last 5 or 6 years, but we’re starting to see quite different patterns in giving across these different segments. I’ll now just quickly delve into each one of these in some detail. CSR is the most broad-based of all sources in terms of sectoral allocation, as you can see here, in addition to health care and education, which tend to be preferred segments across the board.

0:15:12.6 Radhika: There is also allocation to categories like sports, rural development, and others, which aren’t so well covered by other donors segments. So CSR has an important role to play in terms of the funding of these segments. The number of companies under the CSR ambit, has steadily increased over the last few years, and our benchmarks suggest a two percent profit mandate, which is unique to India, is a key driver of giving in this space. However, giving still tends to be confined geographically to states and cities where companies have their physical footprint, and so broadening of the CSR giving geographically to reach new communities in states that are the most disadvantaged, for instance, in the north and the east is actually quite a critical imperative here. Over the last year, in line with the trends across other donor segments, we’ve also seen that CSR giving has been more tilted towards healthcare and the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, which were both directing spends broadly to address some of the COVID related exigencies that came up over the last year.

0:16:22.9 Radhika: As a result, we’ve seen sectors like education, rural development, sports, and some others see a reduction in their allocations, but we expect that again, as things come back to normal over the coming years, we will start to see a diversion to historic trends in terms of giving. UHNI giving is the best tracked in some sense across segments, because it can be traced back to a few hundred individuals who are major donors. For competitive focus, this is the chart that you see here removes outliers across countries. So by outliers, we’ve defined, anybody whose donated more than 10% of their net worth in any year as an outlier, and so these have been removed from the analysis for purpose of consistency. And what this then starts to reveal is an interesting pattern of a gap that still exists across UHNI wealth bucket relative to the giving of ultra-wealthy individuals in other countries.

0:17:22.0 Radhika: This isn’t just in developed economies like the US and UK, but also a trend that we’re starting to see quite consistently and strongly relative to China. We believe this is a segment where there is potential to unlock further giving on the back of changes in the demographic mix of the UHNI segment. Equity events, which we expect will start to become more prominent, in particular, in the startup space and this is more a supply-side driver. And then on the demand-side, greater transparency and institutional capability building, which will be quite critical to encouraging a further unlock in giving.

0:18:00.9 Radhika: Unlike CSR, which has a wide, sectoral base, UHNI Giving is quite strongly concentrated on education. So there’s a sharp and consistent focus on the sector, which we believe is the result of a focus on improving long term social parameters. An interesting emerging trend, which is now held over the last couple of years is the increasing salience of technology in related sectors amongst the givers who are the biggest contributors towards UHNI Giving overall. We’re also starting to see an emerging population of a younger base of donors who are around 40 years. These are the people whom we’re calling Nowgen givers. And we believe that as you look forward over the next five years, this Nowgen is going to become increasingly important in terms of overall contribution towards UHNI Giving. And more broadly, as we start to see more structured avenues for giving this Nowgen should also start to play a more important role. The HNI segment, as I’ve mentioned earlier, is in some sense, both the least well tracked across segments, as well as has a unique challenge in that, these givers are often too small to have, family Offices or foundations of their own, but also at the same time have the potential to make much larger contributions that can be absorbed by the kind of crowdfunding platforms that are focusing on the retail segment.

0:19:47.9 Radhika: The chart shows that over the last five years, the number of households which fall into this wealth bracket has consistently increased. And as the demand side barriers to giving are addressed. We believe that the HNI segment has the potential to be a major untapped source of giving today and therefore increasingly important in the years to come. And finally, if I look at the retail segment, it is still largely unorganized. A majority or a large part of household giving at the retail level today is towards religious giving, which we have excluded from this analysis. Of the remainder, the majority of giving about 70% or so, still is towards health care, and is often based on impulse giving, without really a structured approach or a plan towards donating. This is still at an aggregate level largely informal, though, over the last few years, we’ve seen a very slow trend towards formalization, including the emergence of spending that is happening in a very small way through crowdfunding platforms which have seen some traction over the last couple of years.

0:21:11.1 Radhika: As the base of upper middle-income households which are today the biggest source of retail giving increases, we expect that this segment of retail is going to become increasingly relevant to the total giving by. And therefore with with this context, we believe that while total domestic private giving has grown at 8 to 10 percent over the last 5 or 6 years, there could be an acceleration to, in that growth number to anywhere between 10 to 15 percent over the next five years, if we put in place the right set of interventions as is relevant across segment. On the CSR front, we do anticipate continued growth. This is estimated based on the expected rate of growth in corporate profits led by increasing formalization of the economy, as well as the consistent two percent mandate that is currently in place, the assumption being that that continues to hold going forward. On the retail side, the biggest driver of the increase in giving, is expected to be the continued growth of at about 10% a year, in the base of the number of households in that upper middle-income segment that are the most important retail donor segment today. Alongside this, as platforms, crowdfunding platforms become more important as sources of aggregation of spend.

0:22:41.3 Radhika: We believe this is gonna create a new consistent avenue for retail givers. On the HNI front, the most important unlock is going to be the opening of structured giving opportunities. This includes creating access to data on giving opportunities and the channels via which there is a means for the segment to channel giving to NGOs and other more formal sources relative to the informal giving that is happening today. And then on the UHNI front, we’re looking at both an increased relevance of the Nowgen giving trend that we’ve started to pick up over the last couple of years, as well as bridging of some of the gap in giving relative to other economies in the process.

0:23:33.1 Radhika: So with with these projections, the question then becomes, how can we unlock this potential private giving? What are some of the key calls to action? As I mentioned, each of these segments has their unique requirements and therefore the interventions that are required are also quite specific. In terms of CSR, we’ve seen a consistent increase in giving, it’s a fairly broad base of companies that are contributing, but there is an important call to action to geographically diversify away from the location of the company headquarters, or company operations as is the case today, combined with longer-term commitments to NGOs to provide funding for projects, which have a duration of 3 to 5 years, reflecting what it actually takes on the ground to deliver impact. And then finally, the promotion of the right kind of institutional knowledge in terms of corporate giving best practice, especially as more companies come into the CSR albeit over the next few years.

0:24:46.7 Radhika: On the UHNI and HNI side, which is what we probably call family philanthropy, the biggest call to action is around both data as well as mechanisms for the structure deployment of spend, and as we see in the HNI segment in particular, there is… There needs to be more specific data on where spend is required, so organize sectoral data on requirements, what we’re also calling shovel ready opportunities on causes that can absorb these large amounts of giving. And then finally, the technology platforms and networks to enable large givers to share their knowledge and best practice on the types of requirements that exist and who’s creating most impact in the sector.

0:25:40.8 Radhika: On the retail side, as more families start to be… To reach the stage where they have the disposable income to be able to give back, we believe the imperatives are around finding ways to expand giving outside of just healthcare and the impulse giving where spending is concentrated today and creating more innovation around recording giving models that create a more structured pathway to spending, and in addition, creating stronger impact feedback loop so that givers have a clear sense of where their money is being deployed, the kind of impact it’s creating, which then helps to unlock giving in future. So these are some of the sector-specific calls to action, in addition to which there is also a clear set of imperatives in terms of ecosystem capabilities, funded NGO partnerships and broader data transparency. So on that note, I’d like to also call in Neera to share her perspectives on the broader unlocks that are required on the basis of these strengths.

0:26:53.4 Neera: Thank you. Thank you, Radhika and it’s so helpful. I hope for others to bring this kind of rigour and data to better understand philanthropy, I’m not gonna go into this too much ’cause we have such an esteemed panel here that the faster we can go to hear their perspectives, Radhika, I thought it’ll just be good for all of us to hear that. I’m just gonna introduce, although none of them need an introduction, so I thought I would share something quirky or a fun fact about each of you, which I hope is true as you come into the spotlight. So if I can invite Rohini into the spotlight. I’ve heard you have a degree in French literature, so maybe you can add some French in your speeches today or help us with a book we should all read. I’d like to bring on Rupa, who I read loves biographies as a genre and personal histories. And your favourite is Katharine Graham, the Washington Post Journalist. Hope that’s true? Yes. Great.

0:28:00.4 Neera: Now, I’d like to bring on Ashish into the spotlight. Ashish, I read that you were a teacher’s pet and you got the award from one of the teachers who picked you to actually teach the class when you were in Kolkata, is that true? Yes, true. And finally, I’d like to invite Atul, on this whole theme of being a teacher, his mother is actually a school teacher. True? Yes, true. And I have a fun fact for you Radhika as well, that I’m told you’re actually quite a nerd and love to learn more and more and sign up for all these Coursera courses, but you don’t actually complete them, so maybe you should give your money somewhere else. So welcome everyone, let’s get back to business. Let’s get back to talking about philanthropy, you would have heard what Radhika shared. Yeah, so why don’t we just spend a few minutes on your reflections perspective. Rohini, let’s start please with you.

0:29:04.0 Rohini: Thank you. Namaste everyone Thank you Dasra. Thank you, Bain, also for doing this report year on year, it certainly adds great knowledge to the sector and much necessary. Hi to the whole panel. So very quickly, I’m not surprised about some of the findings, one is that CSR is steadily growing because obviously more companies have to [0:29:26.0] ____ the norms and we’ve seen some economic growth, so that’s not surprising. If we do want any kind of diversity of giving in CSR. I’m afraid it will have to be specifically incentivized by law or policy, it’s not gonna happen on its own, and maybe a discussion on now that the culture of CSR is setting quite robustly, how do we do that and what are the kind of incentives that companies can co-create so that there’s much more diversity of giving in the areas where the companies do not operate.

0:30:00.4 Rohini: When it comes to retail funding it’s good one-third of the sector that’s really huge. And we saw huge outpouring of retail giving during these last two years, we do need a lot more scaffolding around a lot more homes to make it much easier for retail giving, there is some that even that we support through our philanthropy, we possibly need more, but for me, that’s the most heartful… Heart-warming part of the report, because eventually a lot of people giving a little routinely and structurally every year is the most important philanthropy for a democracy like us, even more than that, of UHNIs. Having said that Yes, UHNIs, the share has come down. This is not great optics, my fellow UHNIs at a time when we keep reading how just exactly how much more wealth UHNIs have made in the pandemic than the rest of the rest of humanity. But I think rather than look at, say, a percentage of net worth or something, Neera, Maybe we need another way to describe UHNI giving. Did they give more absolute in absolute numbers than last year? See, because it’s a journey, and then you can keep doubling every year or something because of many reasons and many constraints that we know, but even so I think the call-to-action is right to UHNIs figure out the pathways to give much more give much more… Much more transparently.

0:31:34.5 Rohini: Share with others what is your passion in you’re giving… Umm, let’s create learning sessions among UHNIs and between UHNIs and various partners, there’s a lot more work to be done there, I think one of the constraints to UHNIs giving is definitely a lack of trust between say civil society entities who are… May not even be known to UHNIs or lack of communication between UHNIs, their foundations, their staff and the various amazing civil Society Organizations in India, We have fund like GROW, which we are also a part of, anchored by google will help to bring more organizations out there in the front, ready to scale their work so that UHNIs actually have more and more pies for giving. However, I do think a report like Bain’s the attention brought by Dasra, and I think I’m sure the media is going to pick this up tomorrow for sure.

0:32:40.2 Rohini: I think that kind of pressure on UHNIs to take more and more of the PI of Indian philanthropy is overall, a good thing. I think the world is now talking about trust-based philanthropy, and I think we also need to put the spotlight on that and happy to talk more later in the conversation, how can we learn to lead with trust, how can we learn to start with trust? So that we can end up with trust, and I think starting with trust also allows you to unlock much more money, so I think that is also an important way to reduce constraints on giving by HNIs and UHNIs, I also think that there is a huge scope for UHNIs, HNIs and their organizations to help more organizations to scale, GROW is just one fund, and there are a few other scattered such examples, but today, using technology as a backbone, as a means and not as an end, I think there is huge possibility to invest in the scaling up of the civil society so that no excuse can be made, and in fact, even now, it should not be made, that there are not enough organizations ready to scale.

0:33:53.5 Rohini: I think there are, I think they need help. And I think some investment of philanthropic capital and making that scale happen is absolutely essential today, so we are in a very critical decade, as we all know For Humanity, post-pandemic, a lot of recovery to be done, a lot of losses to be caught up on, and this is the year for all people with excess income, with excess resources of all kinds to step forward and really try to make the difference in this one short decade of which, only eight years are left, and I think we will be held accountable… I think wealth will very much be held to account in this decade, and it’s going to be very exciting and stimulating to collaborate as a community of givers to see what we can do together, which is gonna be more than what we are able to do individually and back then, that trend did not come through in the report, so much Radhika, but there is very clearly a new trend of collaboration among philanthropic foundations and individuals, and I think that’s going to start to make the difference in the next few years, so I’ll end my comments here and hopefully join in later in the Question and Answer round or the chat between us all.

0:35:15.2 Neera: Great, yes. Thanks, Rohini and we will come back to you to peel up a little more and hear your comments as you hear your… These other fellow panellists, I think we are seeing a lot more collaboration, the other side of collaboration, there’s been a question mark of a greater concentration of power and therefore, is that collaboration actually diffusing that or not? I think the other piece we’re seeing that we do need to continue to fund emerging organizations, so like the GROW Fund, our 20 million dollar rebuild fund is really going out there to try to find organizations that are emerging and let other organizations actually support these larger ones, so we just need to find a way for both of these engines to be on the other side of the giving and I’d love to hear more of that other side of trust-building Rohini, but I’ll come to you now Rupa, what was your take just hearing the research and some of Rohini’s comments as well as.

0:36:09.4 Rupa: So first step, thank you so much, Neera and Radhika, I think you guys do this year after year, and I think the first step in developing a deeper understanding is having data and insights on the table, which you guys have done, so superbly. And so kudos to you, you know, if you were to ask me what was my overall reaction on reading your report, and if there’s one word to describe it, or actually two words, it is that it’s extremely sobering.

0:36:46.4 Rupa: I think to be in a situation in India where for the last six years, your overall giving numbers from the private sector have remained flat at a time, even leaving aside the pandemic, we have seen tremendous economic growth and phenomenal prosperity and wealth increases in a certain segment of the society to have no increase, it’s a near-zero increase in a six year period, I think should give us all room to pause and reflect. It is very wonderful to see CSR giving going up, and I think CSR has done a lot of good for this country, and you know they have… It has opened up new pathways, but a system of philanthropy… I, I, is it my… I humbly believe cannot be driven beyond the point by corporate giving, I think corporate giving has many strengths, but it also comes with many limitations in driving social change. And if you look at every other segment of private giving, it has actually declined in absolute numbers, and that is the what your data is showing us in segment after segment. So I think…

0:38:04.0 Rupa: Which makes me wonder really… I think, our conversations in the sector, therefore, need to be really strongly focused on the supply side. How do we create a massive movement in giving in this country? How do we significantly multiply the number of givers and the amount they give? And we cannot… I think, we need to pay a lot of attention to that, which is why what Ashish is attempting to do in one way, and what Atul is doing in another way, I think, are so… Going to be so, so crucial in the coming decade. We have to create a movement, we have to create a massive movement towards giving.

0:38:48.4 Rupa: Secondly, I think we have to make it much easier to give. It is incredibly difficult to give in India. I see the conversations on the WhatsApp group of my college classmates. People don’t have a clue on how to even begin the process, right? So I think people like Rohini, Ashish, etcetera, who have really set the bar extremely high in terms of setting up and understanding the system, and setting up mechanisms for giving, not many other people can do that. And so, how do we make giving really easy? I think, it’s a function of making the information available. It’s about having the right professional cadre of people, whether it is advisors, whether it is auditors, whether it is impact measurement experts.

0:39:33.4 Rupa: And thirdly, it’s about having the standards of reporting and disclosure. Whether it is on the impact side, and whether it’s on finance and governance. And the last point I’ll make and stop there, and stop there is about, What are the conversations we are having? Who needs to be in these conversations? And what do the nature of those conversations need to be? I think we ourselves, as a firm, spend a lot of time talking about core grants versus non-core grants, and project grants, people need to move. And I think that those are looking at demand-side issues. I think, the urgent need of the hour is supply. I think, we just… I think, these issues are important, but they are very nuanced issues, and they are, I think… I think, probably if you had to pick one thing to do at this point, it would be to massively, massively increase the supply of donors and amount of money given outside of



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