Deval Sanghavi and Neera Nundy’s journey began at Morgan Stanley. It’s where they met. It’s where they fell in love. It is also where they learned the core skills that would enable them to permanently quit the private sector and found India’s largest strategic philanthropy organization, Dasra.
Dasra’s model is simple: The organization aims to maximize impact by working closely with philanthropists on one hand, and social entrepreneurs and nonprofits on the other. Their work with philanthropists today is similar to the work Sanghavi did with wealthy investors when he was an analyst at Morgan Stanley: Helping them decide where to invest their money for maximum returns — except in this case, the “returns” are in terms of impact, rather than profit.
“We try to help philanthropists invest strategically and intelligently, so their investments make the maximum difference,” Sanghavi explained.
This might mean advising philanthropists to commit to donating funds to the same organization for five years, rather than one-time gifts. Or it might mean encouraging philanthropists to fund management costs so a nongovernmental organization can hire much-needed additional personnel, or introducing the “giving circle” model of philanthropy, in which philanthropists pool their resources to donate a larger amount to one organization in periodic injections, allowing the organization to grow.
Malia Politzer is an award-winning long-form journalist who specializes in international development, human rights issues and investigative reporting. She recently completed a fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs in India and Spain. For three years, she worked as a feature-writer at Mint, India’s second-largest financial newspaper, where she wrote about international development, strategic philanthropy and impact investing. She holds an M.S. journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she was a Stabile Fellow for Investigative Journalism, and a B.A. from Hampshire College.
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