Philanthropy in India

October 2017

This report on Indian philanthropy is based on a study that started in 2016. It is part of a larger study in other emerging economies to review the current state of philanthropy and what role it is playing in the world. This is the first report from the study, which we hope will eventually form part of the Philanthropy Bridge Series.

The study does not attempt to address the acknowledged lack of comprehensive and reliable data on philanthropy in India. Rather it aims to throw light on the current state of Indian philanthropy through conversations with people who have been trying to promote, support or strengthen different areas of philanthropy. This includes various forms of giving by the wealthy; social justice philanthropy, self-funded activist movements and community philanthropy; and giving by individuals of modest means.

Our aim is to provide an overview of philanthropy in India, particularly shining a light on new ideas and innovations, and the implications of these for the future role of philanthropy. We hope this will enable us to better address the question: how do we support and build philanthropy’s role as an agent of social change?

This study is neither exhaustive nor complete – so the report coming out of it should be considered a working paper, a work in progress. With a country as vast as India, the insights presented here can only be a starting point, not a finished product. We hope that others reading the report will comment, disagree with it and add to it, perhaps publishing other working papers that might fill in the gaps.

Finally and most importantly, we hope that this report will be used to reflect on the role and purpose of philanthropy in India and how we build a supportive ecosystem for it. 

This report is authored by Caroline Hartnell and published by Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace in association Alliance, WINGS and the Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy, Ashoka University.

To comment on findings or engage in a conversation about this report, please write to us at info@psjp.org.