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Donor Spotlight: Kms4Good’s support towards TAF’s COVID-response

Antara Foundation
Antara Foundation
Published on April 24, 2024 |

In May 2021, a group of alumni from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad’s class of 1992 (IIMA-92) came together to raise funds for The Antara Foundation’s (TAF) fight against COVID-19. We spoke with them to learn more about their philanthropy and their partnership with TAF.

Interview with Kms4Good
Your reasons for supporting TAF’s COVID-relief work.
We chose to partner with TAF for three key reasons – trust, transparency, and their focus on preventive maternal, child health and nutrition (MCHN) at the grassroots.
TAF’s experienced leadership, a remarkable team of passionate individuals, and their track record in effectively implementing interventions infused a tremendous amount of trust. We greatly value transparency across our partners, especially in terms of ensuring and reporting the right utilization of funds towards the promised cause. With TAF, we were assured that data from the field would always be up-to-date and accurate.
Lastly, TAF’s focus to improve MCHN outcomes, working closely in collaboration with frontline workers is fantastic. The number of maternal and child deaths and malnourished children remain incredibly high in India. We admire TAF’s commitment to this often-neglected cause. Because the organization works in rural communities, they fit in well with our focus to support COVID-relief in rural India. As we learned about the growing challenge of tackling the spread of COVID-19 across Indian villages, while ensuring the safety of frontline health workers, we were compelled to lend our support.

Your experience partnering with TAF.
Our experience with TAF was very positive. Like we said, the team is fantastic, and regularly shared reports and updates from the field. We were impressed with the professional quality of reporting. For example, the COVID-response reports not only included the amount of money raised and spent, but also how funds were distributed across items. We learned how many people were reached and how many villages were covered, and that kept us close to what was happening on the ground. Not every organization in the social sector has this capability!
One of the project highlights was an interactive knowledge-sharing meeting with TAF’s leadership. A small group of interested Kms4Good members met virtually with two senior team members, one from a field location in India, to hear progress on the project, discuss field insights and share ideas. The group went back impressed, having engaged as true partners, and not mere funders.

About Kms4Good’s fundraising process.
After careful selection of NGO partners, we leverage GiveIndia’s online platform to collect donations. We use our WhatsApp group to share daily fundraising updates (including kilometers logged) with members, and to urge people to reach the target. This shows how even a simple chat platform like WhatsApp can be so productive!
The informal and easy-to-use aspects of WhatsApp are important factors behind our success. We have no official leadership positions and have focused on creating a light, but engaged group. After all, we ran this project in addition to our typical jobs! Fundraising and exercising became ways to reduce stress, in addition to giving back. Our members live worldwide – glimpses of the Swiss snow, New York Central Park, Toronto’s Polson Pier, Singapore’s Green corridor, the Mumbai rains, Aravalli treks or delightful photos from runs built stronger connections and motivated the group to keep going.

Your advice for groups interested in giving back to society.
In large teams, building trust and camaraderie among group members is critical. For example, we shared daily updates on funds raised and disbursed in our WhatsApp group, and conducted regular calls between group members and our partners. Our fundraising platform, GiveIndia, also ensured transparency as individual donations made on the site are public.
We suggest that groups find a mutually exciting activity to connect members. Along with bonding over our college memories, Kms4Good connected us through the mission of fitness. The dual goals of fundraising and fitness added momentum to our project. This time last year, none of us would have imagined raising $150,000 for three wonderful NGOs, or even logging 10,000 kilometers of movement!
Identifying good implementation partners is important since most donors do not have the knowledge or tools to execute. We were fortunate to find TAF, as they are an organization that balances good intentions with good outcomes. Groups must also realize that the size of their donation should not be a limiting factor. Many NGOs earnestly need funding, and contributing even hundred rupees at an individual level is appreciated.
While we helped three organizations do something meaningful, we are also happy to have created a different mindset around giving and show how enough commitment and engagement can make change possible. Beyond all else, that is what feels most exciting!
We have already started sharing our experience with two batches from IIMA and we seriously hope it will encourage more groups from schools, colleges or corporates to come together and give back to the society.

What’s next for IIMA-92.
We have learned that this model of giving works and want to continue our efforts. We wish to go beyond COVID, but will continue to prioritize the community’s needs. Right now, we are looking at supporting individuals struggling with mental health or financial troubles due to the long-term stress of COVID. With all the mental trauma, anxiety, stress, and depression that lingers from the pandemic, partnering with counseling organizations or clinics are options we may consider.

Your message for people looking to support TAF.
TAF encompasses three important qualities – a proven model, a meaningful mission, and a trustworthy team. TAF has proven that programs can be successful even in the most remote communities. Their involvement with the government speaks volumes, and we expect those relationships to support the sustainability of their programs. They prioritize the individuals most at risk and develop programs to ensure government healthcare systems can better serve current and future beneficiaries. As a donor, it is reassuring to fund an organization that works on systemic problems in the health sector with a range of tried-and-tested solutions.

“The best solutions to complex problems often come from those closest to the issues.”