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A new initiative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in India

November 02, 2016

As India marked its national holiday of Diwali, the SDG Philanthropy Platform, a growing collaborative promoting sustainable development, announced its second founding supporter for the initiative in India – the Avasant Foundation. The Platform in India will connect and catalyze partnerships between philanthropic organizations, grantees and partners, the UN system, government, academia, impact investors and the broader business community in order to accelerate achievement of Agenda 2030 – a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – agreed by all the world’s governments in September 2015. The Platform’s website will also document how philanthropy is investing in the SDGs across India and promote exchange across those working on shared goals.

Work in India will focus on ending poverty, ensuring inclusive, quality education, achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment, and promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. The Platform was launched in 2014 with support from the Conrad N. Hilton, Ford and The MasterCard Foundations, with a number of other funders joining over the last year, including Oak Foundation support for the work in India. Kevin Parikh, Chairman of Avasant Foundation, noted that “advancing the Sustainable Development Goals is critical to Avasant Foundation’s mission of empowering disadvantaged youth across the globe. The partnership with the SDG Philanthropy Platform illustrates how we are aligned in our mission for India given our focus on quality education, gender equality, and decent work and economic growth.” Avasant Foundation’s Executive Director Chitra Rajeshwari sees the “challenges, but even more the opportunities, to make real progress working together – not only in India but in other countries around the world,” and is helping to plan the 2017 launch.

Radhika Shah, Co-President of Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs and an Advisor to the Platform, linked the vision of Agenda 2030 with India’s most famous visionary – Mahatma Gandhi. “We are excited to launch the SDG Philanthropy Platform in the land of Mahatma Gandhi to advance his vision of a world that respects the dignity of every human being via self-reliance. We aim to bring together very different but equally committed stakeholders from within India and outside. We will draw on outstanding entrepreneurial and systems-change approaches from Stanford University and UCLA, and link technology innovation from networks such as Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs, the South Asian diaspora in Silicon Valley, and universities in India including the IITs.” Heather Grady, a Vice President at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, welcomed Avasant Foundation into the SDG Philanthropy Platform. “We applaud Avasant Foundation for being the first member of the India Founders Circle and, along with the Oak Foundation, helping to catalyze philanthropy’s commitment to collaborative approaches to the SDGs in India.”

This week’s announcement follows a commitment made by the Platform team at the 7th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit, hosted by President Obama, in Silicon Valley in June 2016. The 8th Summit in 2017 will be held in India. (

For more information, and to find out how to become a supporter of the SDG Philanthropy Platform in India, contact Radhika Shah at [email protected] or Karolina Mzyk-Callias at [email protected].

Follow the discussion on Twitter: #phil2015 @philSDGs

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About The SDG Philanthropy Platform

The SDG Philanthropy Platform informs and catalyzes collaboration through building awareness and connections between those working in the philanthropy sector and beyond. Launched by the United Nations Development Program, Foundation Center, and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in 2014, the Platform has brought together hundreds of foundations and philanthropists across many countries to create new partnerships to increase funding and create programs that will have greater, and more sustainable, impact on people’s lives. For more information, visit


About the United Nations Development Programme

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partners with people around the world to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer a global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.


About Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) is a nonprofit organization that advises on and manages more than $200 million in annual giving by foundations, philanthropists and corporations. Founded in 2002 and continuing the Rockefeller family’s legacy of thoughtful, effective philanthropy, RPA has a diverse team led by experienced grantmakers with significant depth of knowledge across the spectrum of issue areas. RPA has facilitated more than $3 billion in grantmaking to, and within, nearly 70 countries.


About Foundation Center

Established in 1956, Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. Foundation Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level.

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