Desai Foundation: Grants for Global Development and Women

OVERVIEW:  The Desai Foundation’s grantmaking focuses on women and children in India.  

IP TAKE: The foundation keeps a low public profile, which limits information available on its grantmaking priorities and activities. It funds broadly but prioritizes India, Boston, and Morningside Heights in New York City.

PROFILE: Founded in 1997, the Desai Foundation was established by technology entrepreneur Samir Desai and his wife Nilima. The family has ties to India, the Boston area, and Morningside Heights and Harlem, two New York City communities where Columbia University has influence. The Desai Foundation has evolved into a public charity, which now seeks to "[e]mpower women and children through health and livelihood in India and the U.S." The foundation conducts a wide-variety of grantmaking that largely addresses the needs of women and girls' reproductive health. 

The foundation is almost entirely dedicated to women and girls' global health, prioritizing India; however, the foundation conducts across the world and the United States. Desai's global development grants fund sanitary napkins, a program which "[t]rains women to manufacture, distribute, and sell high-quality, low-cost sanitary napkins throughout their communities" thereby empowering them to take control of both their health and livelihoods. Desai's hygiene program focuses on education and supports learning that students can take home to their families. This said, Desai conducts a variety of other global development grantmaking through its complex site, which applicants should study closely as its interests evolve.

The Desai Foundation also collaborates with organizations like Gram Seva Trust, "[a] non-profit organization in South Gujarat, India dedicated to health care and rural development, formed by young doctors and professionals who have rural roots"; Middlesex Community College; and IIT Gandhinagar; and Mama Hope, whose mission is to “[h]elp communities achieve lasting, self-directed prosperity by challenging a broken aid system — one that perpetuates poverty and disempowerment."

The foundation has a website but it does not provide detailed information on how to apply for a grant. 


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The Desai Foundation
200 Summit Drive, Suite 430
Burlington, MA 01803