Role of foundations in nation building for India @ 100

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On this wonderful occasion of 75 years of Independent India, I am sharing my thoughts below on the role of foundations in nation building for India at 100.

Firstly, I would like to salute to the people who have committed large amount of funds for making a significant positive impact in lives of people.

As per data, the top foundations have donated /pledged cumulatively an amount of 25 billion dollars. Some of the prominent ones are enlisted below:

1. Reliance Industries Limited Foundation
2. Vedanta Resources Limited Foundation
3. Adani Group Foundation
4. Azim Premji Foundation
5. Shiv Nadar Foundation

I believe, that going forward all these institutions can contribute big time in India achieving its vision to be the Happiest Country, where everyone feels proud to be an Indian.

In my opinion, sponsors do have clarity of thought but I am enlisting below some of my thoughts on how and what I would have done in achieving moonshot:

1. Create Moonshot and craft vision for the next 25 years that inspires and energizes not only the ecosystem and society but also attracts capital and the best talent who is devoted and driven by higher purpose. 

Sponsors may spend 20/30% of their time and treat this as a mainstream initiative ,take big and bold decisions and be the chief risk taker.

The focus should preferably be to excel in 2/3 domains close to their heart.

2. Focus on long term thinking and invest in capital intensive social infrastructure projects both physical and digital and invest in creating world class institutions at scale for bottom of the pyramid.

The organisation should be driven by outcomes and could follow OKRs to incentivize and drive performance.

3. Operating philosophy of running foundations like running a for profit business. Consider investing with entrepreneurs driven by profit with purpose.

Optimize returns on investment by selectively investing in equity both public and private markets.

Communicate more frequently in building a brand to attract ecosystem partners, institutions both local and global.

4. Energy, hunger, agility , courage, imagination, empathy and obsession (junoon) in the team to achieve the goals (both qualitative and quantitative). Senior team with a mix of youth, experience and diversity.

5. Exponential and abundance mindset to create 10x impact, through teamwork, collaboration, alliances and partnerships. The DNA of these foundations could be of a startup and startup founder.

Some of the relevant terms which have become more prominent in startup fraternity and that can be applied are as follows : hyper-local, last mile delivery, API, collaboration, unit economics, world class scale, blitzscaling, play book for scale, SaaS, 100x growth.

Some thoughts by late Prof C K Prahlad :

a. Aspiration greater than resources
b. Fold future into the present
c. Focus on next and not best practices.

The core values are imagination, courage, passion, humanity, humility, intellect and luck

Hope the framework is helpful, my very best.

August, 2022