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Where have all the Indian philanthropists gone?

October 12, 2009

I just read this recent article from the Times of India about the dropoff in philanthropy among India’s major industrialists for large-scale national infrastructure projects.  Among many interesting points, three stuck out for me:

  1. Individual philanthropists in India generally channel their giving through their corporations because of the red tape associated with individual giving and a wish to be anonymous (surely motivated in part by corruption and extortion).
  2. There has been a move from national or large-scale projects to more narrowly focused and localized programs like water harvesting and microfinance in particular regions of India.
  3. The notion that charities should be run on a shoestring budget pervades in India, just like it has here in North America.  We’ve talked before about the importance of overhead/operating funds for nonprofits to build capacity.

We’re written here before about philanthropy in India because there are connections to North America in our globalized world – for example, take a look back at our posts about Jindal Global University and Ratan Tata’s gift to Cornell.

(Hat tip to Rahul!)

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