Rockefeller Foundation, the United States-based philanthropy organisation, is stepping up efforts to collaborate and invest into the Indian market. In this direction, the foundation recently entered into a partnership with Tata Power to develop 10,000 microgrids in India. The aim is to help 25 million households across India, especially in the rural belts, gain access to affordable electricity.
“We look at investing into businesses that can have a social impact. The partnership with Tata Power is an equity partnership and will help reach 25 million Indians,” said Dr Rajiv Shah, global president, Rockefeller Foundation.
One of the largest and most influential philanthropy firms in the US, the Rockefeller Foundation makes a global commitment of $200 million annually towards social and philanthropic causes.
Over the last couple of years, the foundation has worked with a network of partners in India to give rural communities access to power and energy. One such program has been ‘Smart Power India’, which was established by The Rockefeller Foundation to implement smart power for rural development in the country. The program was launched in 2015 and focuses on Jharkhand, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. The foundation has invested about $70 million dollars in India over the last ten years and a big chunk of its investment has been in the power sector, especially in providing renewable energy solutions.
“India is a critically important part of Rockefeller Foundation's commitment to address poverty around the world. We are working to bring science and technology to people who are vulnerable,” said Shah, who believes that job creation and productive income growth for rural communities are some of the issues that need to be addressed in India.
Having good public private partnerships is one such way of collaborating and addressing issues of critical importance. “We have invested in PPPs all over the world. It is important for all partners involved to understand what the goal is and have an alignment. This includes a shared sense of purpose, commitment and goals,” added Shah.
Another space that the foundation wants to step up collaboration in is the health space. The foundation is exploring a number of partnerships and one of them could be with the Piramal Foundation.
“I was with Ajay and Swati Piramal and their commitment has been extraordinary. They have 4,000 people as part of their foundation and they are helping provide health services in some of the toughest parts of the country. We also work with other partners throughout the country and are learning from them,” said Shah. “Right now our commitment is to use data and technology primarily with UNICEF in the health space,” he added.The Rockefeller Foundation is also exploring India’s startup space and is open to investing opportunities.