In the beginning of this month,
Janaagraha, a Bengaluru-based non-profit organization, received a grant worth
$3 million from a US-based philanthropic investment firm that
had recently started operations in India.
The funding will be used to
upscale Janaagraha’s citizen engagement and urban governance model and also a
national online civic-engagement platform, iJanaagraha. Part of it will also go
into a bribe-reporting website – ipaidabribe.com
The grant is Omidyar Network’s
first government transparency grant in the country and largest outside the US
in this space. The network has already invested more than $43 million in India
by funding various organizations. The fund beneficiaries are Rural Development
Institute, a non-profit that brings land rights to rural India; Quikr, an
online classifieds company; and Unitus Equity Fund, which funds microfinance
Over the next five years, Omidyar
plans to invest $100 million – $200 million in India, equally divided between
for-profit and non-profit firms. The firm aims to partner more closely with
India-based portfolio organizations in order to support the country’s economic
and social transformation.
Omidyar Network is a
philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to
create opportunities for people, thereby enabling them to improve their lives.
Established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, in 2004, Omidyar
invests in innovative organizations to catalyse economic, social and political
The organization primarily
invests through two initiatives – ‘access to capital’ and ‘media, markets and
transparency’. Through the ‘access to capital’ initiative, it creates economic
opportunities, while the media, markets and transparency initiative is to
encourage individual participation in media, markets and government. The idea
is to create an environment for overall wellbeing and quality of life. The
multiple investment areas of the organization include microfinance, property
rights, government transparency and social media.
Other than Omidyar Network, the
Omidyars have established three organizations – Humanity United, HopeLab and
Ulupono – to help fulfil their vision for positive social change.
To see an end to conflict and
injustice is the aim of Humanity United. The grant-making organization is
dedicated to ending mass atrocities and modern-day slavery. By pursuing a
creative combination of research, policy and public pressure, Humanity United
seeks to enable local and global solutions to achieve its aim.Started in 2005, the organization is Pam’s
brainchild. She developed the organization’s mission and values, and is actively
engaged in steering its course as board chair.
HopeLab, a non-profit
organization, was again created by Pam. The organization is harnessing the
power of technology to improve the health of the youth. Its approach combines
rigorous research, innovative solutions and direct input from teens and young
adults with chronic illnesses.
Re-Mission, a video game for
cancer, is a product of HopeLab. It seeks to improve key health behaviours and
psychological outcomes for young cancer patients.
HopeLab is also working to
develop fun, effective interventions to address obesity, major depressive
disorder, sickle-cell disease and autism in young people.
In 2009, Pierre and Pam founded
the Ulupono Initiative to improve the quality of life for residents in their
home state of Hawaii. To achieve this goal, Ulupono supports both for-profit
companies and non-profit organizations that aim to improve the local economy
and environment through focuses on renewable energy, local food production and