This new Tata Trusts move will make a lot of NGOs unhappy

Tata Trusts, a charitable organisation of Tata Group founders, is changing its approach of giving grants to non-government organisations for social causes. Instead, it will get directly involved in implementing welfare programmes in adherence to guidelines outlined by chairman Ratan Tata last year.
Tata Trusts, which owns two thirds of group holding company Tata Sons, will set up programme management units in new geographies that it enters and establish strategic partnerships with government and corporates as part of its new approach to philanthropy, an official said.

“The process of building a right partner is time consuming. You need teams to be put in place on the ground. Especially, in a new geography where you need to move faster,” said Prabhat Pani, head of technology and partnerships at Tata Trusts.
“The earlier approach was to give grants. If we need to be part of scalable programmes we need to go directly.” The move is likely to impact several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) given that NGOs and institutional partners have cornered 85% of Rs 3,000 crore in grants made by the Trusts between financial years 2012 and 2016, as per data collated by ET.
Tata Trusts has already set up a programme management unit in Odisha to deal with the issue of malnutrition, and it has formed similar units in Andhra Pradesh, north Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh in the past 12 months, Pani said. This is in line with the vision of Trusts chairman Ratan Tata.
“We wanted to change the form of our philanthropy from one that was predominantly executed by NGOs to one where we would manage some of the projects ourselves,” Tata had said in an interview published in the group’s in-house magazine Tata Review in January.

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