Dasra launches new initiative ‘ImpactFirst- Prioritizing Lives in Philanthropy’ to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030

Strategic Philanthropy | February 24, 2018

Why ImpactFirst? Why Now?

  • India ranks #1 in adolescent pregnancies worldwide; delaying adolescent pregnancy could add 12% or USD 400 billion to India's GDP
  • Only 47% of girls are enrolled in secondary school; each additional year of schooling for girls reduces infant mortality for their offspring by up to 10%
  • Workforce participation rate for Indian women is at 29%, which is far less than that of comparable economies such as China (70%), the US (66%), or Brazil (65%); USD 56 billion can be added each year to India's economy by bringing girls into the workforce.
  • 38% of under-fives (approx. 48m children) are stunted in India. Moving away from malnutrition, will add USD 12 billion a year to India's economy in terms of productivity and lower healthcare expenditure.
  • Good news is that 95% children are now attending primary school, 88% are attending secondary school and 63% are attending senior secondary school. The numbers only increase as each year passes. However, there is a fair amount of deficit in learning outcomes.

Mumbai, 24 February 2018: Today, an innovative initiative ‘ImpactFirst - Prioritizing Lives in Philanthropy', was launched by Dasra, a strategic philanthropy organization, to enable adoption of a mindset that puts actual lives at the forefront of philanthropic work. The launch was during Dasra Philanthropy Week 2018 that brought together Philanthropists, NGOs, Government, Foundations, Corporates, and development sector experts. Some of the key thought-leaders present in the room were Peggy Dulany (Synergos Institute), Kaku Nakhate (Bank of America Merrill Lynch), Amit Chandra (Bain Capital), Roopa Kudva (Omidyar Network), Ananth Padmanabhan (Azim Premji Philanthropic Institute), among others.

Through ImpactFirst, Dasra aims to inspire accountability and foster convergence between key stakeholders, towards achieving measurable outcomes such as the Sustainable Development Goals.

"India is committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. While we are moving in the right direction, the magnitude of India's problems call for all of us - funders, NGOs, experts and the Government- to urgently collaborate and jointly invest in solutions that work," said Neera Nundy, co-Founder, Dasra.

Considering its size and population, India has a critical role to play in achieving the SDGs. If India does not achieve these, the world will also be unable to do so. However, despite the billions of dollars that have been invested in the development sector so far, we have a long way to go for better health, education and nutrition in our country. The seriousness, scale and complexity of India's problems - from rising inequality to climate change - call for collaborative action and to invest in outcome-led solutions to transform lives.

"For us, ImpactFirst encompasses putting the interest of society as a whole in front of your own personal aspirations. Whether you are an NGO, funder, or the government - push the conversation, push the agenda, and push for us to be able to hold ourselves accountable. Keep asking yourself - how much am I actually changing lives?" said Deval Sanghavi, co-founder, Dasra

What does it mean to be ImpactFirst?

  • Putting actual lives at the forefront of conversations, strategy, planning, action and collaboration
  • Being problem solvers, data analysts and agents of change
  • Defining exactly what problem one wants to solve, and mapping out how you will go about solving it
  • Willingness to be a first mover in areas that may be considered risky or challenging and looking for new approaches to old problems
  • Holding oneself accountable to high standards of measuring effectiveness and success
  • Realizing that changing lives is a long-term investment
  • It implies urgency to be catalytic in one's approach to funding, programming and strategy

Although the nature and scale of the commitment may differ greatly for each stakeholder, they share the same mindset. They dream of an India where every individual has the opportunity to realize their potential. It is the empathy and powerful intent of each of the stakeholders that will together drive us to transform lives.

To reinforce Dasra's ImpactFirst approach, four knowledge products have been launched during the Dasra Philanthropy Week 2018.

India Philanthropy Report 2018

On this day, eighth edition of Bain India Philanthropy Report 2018 was released. The report explores how philanthropists can give more effectively to optimize the impact of their giving. What's worth noting is that philanthropists profiled in this report are relatively newer to philanthropy than those showcased in the 2017 report. The report features in-depth interviews with more than 30 philanthropists, and reveals four key mindsets, which if embraced, can help givers realize their full philanthropic potential. The report marks an inspiring stage for philanthropy in India, where an increasing number of philanthropists are joining the cadre of structured and strategic philanthropy, irrespective of their quantum of giving.

Read the report here:

Collaborative Force: Empowering 10 to 19

The white paper, titled Collaborative Force: Empowering 10 to 19, urges for adaptation of collaborative models to address India's large-scale development challenges. It highlights the significance of the collaborative approach to tackling serious problems surrounding India's adolescents.

The white paper documents learnings from India's first-outcome led collaborative, 10to19: Dasra Adolescents Collaborative. It shares actionable insights on designing and facilitating a large-scale multi-stakeholder collaborative effort. It outlines the building blocks and key steps that should be considered during the formative stages of any collaborative and highlights what it takes to effectively set up, facilitate, and participate in such a model to advance India's development.

Read the report here:

A Generation Ahead - Helping India's Next Generation Philanthropists Succeed - Report

India has the third highest number of family-owned businesses. In the coming years, many of these multi-generational philanthropic families in India will transition wealth, responsibility and decision-making power from one generation to another. This is expected to create a deep impact on the landscape of philanthropy. 'Next Generation Philanthropists' (NGPs), as they have been called, are defined as individuals who inherit both wealth and a legacy of giving from their families

Many NGPs are moving in decision-making roles and will guide the future of philanthropy in India. Through this research, Dasra illustrates the motivations and challenges of a subset of NGPs in India and showcases examples of how this group has mitigated some of these challenges.

Read the report here:

Tipping the scales: strengthening systems of access to Justice in India

‘Dasra's flagship report, Tipping the Scales' delves into the conditions necessary to ensure India's justice system protects the most marginalized, and the role that different stakeholders can play in creating universal access to justice. Dasra has identified four strategic cornerstones that can catalyze significant improvements in how India seeks and delivers justice. The four cornerstones that can make a fundamental difference to the experience of seeking and delivering justice in India are: making laws accessible and comprehensible for legal empowerment; ensuring high-quality, affordable legal aid; streamlining case management processes in courts; and, driving accountability and supporting reforms in police and prison systems.

Read the report here:

About Dasra

Dasra meaning ‘enlightened giving' in Sanskrit, is a pioneering strategic philanthropic organization that aims to transform 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, nonprofits, social businesses, government and media). Over the years, Dasra has deepened social impact in focused fields that include adolescents, urban sanitation and governance and has built social capital by leading a strategic philanthropy movement in the country.

For more information, visit

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