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A Few More Reflections on the SAALT South Asian Summit

April 29, 2009

I was so impressed by the four recipients of the SAALT ChangeMaker awards on Friday night. You can read about them here. Each of them was courageous, articulate, and wise beyond their years. And of course, Sudhir Venkatesh’s talk was outstanding. He has been a treasured advisor to us here at SAPP, and it was wonderful to meet him in-person.



There were about 250 people in attendance at the South Asian Summit over the course of the weekend. Overall, the participants were more often than not activists themselves – most often, they were leading nonprofits that serve the South Asian community in some capacity.  While the organizations represented were doing much-needed and worthwhile work, there seemed to be a gap between the activists and those who could support their work with resources – a gap of philanthropy, of course! I felt disappointed that more South Asian professionals from the finance and private sector weren’t at the Summit. I’m thinking of people who care about the cause, but aren’t deep in it themselves… people who might be willing and enthusiastic about funding some of these groups, but not really able or willing to engage in the social justice work themselves.

There was a lot of discussion about building a social change movement, and at our panel at least, there was a lack of discussion about sustainability. In other words, once a start-up nonprofit is launched, how do you take it to the next level? How do you demonstrate an impact and scale up? How do you educate your board and move away from the founders? How do you put yourself in a position to solicit major gifts at higher levels?

Have you noticed a gap in the South Asian community between those who are out there making social change and those who are in a position to fund it? What do you think could fill that gap?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2009 6:59 pm

    Looking at the ChangeMaker Award recipients has inspired me! I have always tried to incorporate some type of giving into my everyday life. In the future, I hope to be a philanthropist in the future.

    I agree about the gap between activists and those who can fund their vision. I am a big supporter of making the Asian-American voice heard, but I have to take small steps in order to raise the money I need to carry out my big aspirations.

    But these four young leaders have given me inspiration!

  2. asridhar permalink*
    May 23, 2009 12:36 am

    Thanks, Karen!

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