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National Foundation for India

Genesis and guiding principles

The National Foundation for India was set up as a non-profit, philanthropic, fund raising and grant making foundation which supports voluntary action for national development. The mission is one of stimulating and supporting the creative potential of people and community organisations to build a prosperous, progressive and united India.

The Founders recognized the right of every Indian to lead a life of dignity and self-respect in a just and equitable society; and the need to develop the capacities of individuals and communities to improve the quality of their lives and enhance their ability to negotiate from a position of strength - a strength that would come from being educated, in good health and having the capacity to be engaged in productive work.

Established to serve the less privileged, the Foundation advocates a development process that is people-centred, equitable and sustainable, and one that encourages innovation, respect for democratic participation, pluralism and cultural diversity. Professionally managed to mobilize public opinion as well as resources for supporting development action, recognised national concerns shape the Foundation’s programme priorities:

Further, the Foundation lays great stress on networking between non-governmental social action groups, media, corporate sector, academic and research agencies, on forging partnerships between organizations sharing similar concerns.

The broad governance of the Foundation is looked after by a Board of Trustees representing a cross section of talent and experience from a wide range of disciplines. The board consists of Dr. M.S Swaminathan, Mr. C. Subramaniam, Dr. Kamla Chowdhry, Mr. S.P Godrej, Ms. Devaki Jain, Mr Vijay Mahajan, Ms Mirai Chatterjee, Begum Bilkees Latif, Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mr. Ratan Tata. The management is in the hands of a team of professionals headed by an Executive Director.

Our Trustees

Mr. C. Subramaniam A veteran freedom fighter and one of the founding fathers of the Constitution of India, he has held a number of ministerial portfolios in the Government of India. As Food and Agriculture Minister, he was the architect of the Green Revolution which made India self-sufficient in food. He is the Founder Chairman of the Foundation.

Dr. M.S. Swaminathan , One of the world’s leading agricultural scientists and pillars of the Green Revolution in India. Amongst several national and international awards he has been honoured with the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, the Magsaysay Award, the Borlaug Award, the first World Food Prize and the Fellowship of the Royal Society of London. He is currently the Chairman of the Foundation.

Dr. Kamla Chowdhry One of the moving forces behind the Indian Institute of Rural Management (IRMA), Anand, she has made a significant contribution in dealing with issues of environment and sustainable development. She headed the National Wastelands Development Board during its initial period, and is Chairman of the Society for the Promotion of Wasteland Development.

Mr. S.P. Godrej Among the industrial pioneers of India, he is deeply conscious of the social responsibilities of business in the fields of health, family welfare and environment. Population and nature conservation are among his other abiding interests. He is Chairperson of the World Wide Fund for Nature (India), and of the Indian Council of World Affairs.

Ms. Devaki Jain A renowned economist and member of the erstwhile South Commission, she is the moving spirit behind the Institute of Social Studies Trust, a leading Indian institution for research and advocacy on behalf of poor women. She is Advisor, National Commission for Women (GOI), and Member of the state Planning Board of Karnataka.

Begum Bilkees Latif A social worker of distinction, she has received many awards in recognition of her illustrious record in community service. She is Chairperson of the National Bal Bhawan and National Children’s Museum, President of the Society for Human and Environmental Development, and Member, Population Foundation of India and Red Cross Society of India.

Mr. Ratan Tata: Heads the House of Tata, one of India’s foremost industrial and business groups. He is a Trustee of various Tata Charitable Trusts and the Ford Foundation, and Director, Reserve Bank of India. The Tata group of Companies is prominent among the Indian business community for its philanthropic activities. He is recipient of the Gargoyle and L’Ogive honorary awards in architecture.

Mr Vijay Mahajan: Founder and ex-chef executive officer of PRADAN (Professional Assistance for Development Action), a leading non-governmental rural development organization,he is a leading expert in the field of institutional change for socio- economic development. He has been an independent consultant to the World Bank, Ford Foundation, NABARD and the Planning Commission amongst others. He has currently set up BASIX, a financial institution catering to rural sector.

Ms Mirai Chatterjee: General Secretary of SEWA (Self-Employed Women's Association - a membership-based trade union of approximately 220,000 self-employed women) is a leading expert in hygiene and public health planning. Ms Chatterjee is a member of the Screening Committee of Health Watch, a coalition of groups involved in policy action in India, to improve the recommendations of the Cairo Population and Development Conference. She is actively involved in the field of primary health care in the State of Gujarat and is a member of the Board of VHAI (Voluntary Health Association of India).

Dr. Manmohan Singh: A well-known economist and the former Union Minister for Finance, he is also the ex-Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

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