Mumbai, 29 October, 2019: At the recently concluded ‘Vogue Women of the Year 2019 Awards’ in Mumbai, the award of Agent of Social Change was given to Neera Nundy. Neera co-founded Dasra – a strategic philanthropy organization and has invested the last 20 years in advancing its vision of ‘a transformed India where a billion thrive with dignity and equity’. The award ceremony celebrated trailblazing and inspiring women from different walks of life including Alia Bhatt, Lilly Singh, Mary Kom, Winnie Harlow among others.
While dedicating the award to India’s women who are disproportionately affected by poverty, Neera urged celebrities, social media influencers, actors and corporate leaders present at the ceremony to make their voice heard and participate in collaborations to transform India where a billion thrive with dignity and equity. “I thank Vogue for recognising and including this social change award. And so I would like to accept this and dedicate the recognition of social change to the real change-makers, the hundreds and millions of women and girls who disproportionately pay the poverty penalty- especially in India. In spite of this poverty penalty, within every one of these women and girls is courage, and the resilience to lead social change starting with themselves, their families and their communities and this is what we must celebrate and reward today,” Neera Nundy said in her acceptance speech.
The award recognizes Neera’s instrumental role over two decades in catalyzing the strategic philanthropy movement in India’s development sector. Neera was first exposed to challenges faced by people in India while working at a day school for Adivasi children set up by her mother near Kharagpur, West Bengal. With an MBA from Harvard Business School and investment banking experience at Morgan Stanley and UBS Warburg, Neera co-founded Dasra in 1999 with the vision to bring global best practices and rigor to the Indian development sector. She has built successful partnerships with global leaders such as Harvard University, Stanford University, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Omidyar Network, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to accelerate social change in India.
Neera currently leads Dasra’s field-building initiatives in Urban Sanitation and Adolescents Empowerment, which facilitates collaborative platforms by engaging donors, non-profits, government and other stakeholders. In 2016, Neera initiated the Dasra Adolescents Collaborative, an impact-driven platform that has united institutional funders, technical experts, government stakeholders from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and several social organizations to focus on four key outcomes for adolescent empowerment. Under Urban Sanitation, Dasra co-facilitates the National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management Alliance (NFSSM Alliance), which was instrumental in passing India’s first national policy on Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India in 2017.
Dasra, meaning ‘enlightened giving’ in Sanskrit, is a pioneering strategic philanthropic organization that aims for a transformed India where a billion thrive with dignity and equity. Since its inception in 1999, Dasra has accelerated social change by driving collaborative action through powerful partnerships among a trust-based network of stakeholders (corporates, foundations, families, non-profits, social businesses, government and media). Over the years, Dasra has engaged with 500 philanthropists, corporates and foundations, published 22 research reports in diverse fields and directed over US$34 Million in strategic funding to the sector.