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NRI Involvement in Philanthropy and Community Development in India

Explore how NRIs contribute to India's growth through philanthropy and community development, focusing on educational, social, and developmental projects. Learn about their impact and future potential.
min read
February 3, 2024

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) have significantly contributed to India's socio-economic development, especially through philanthropic activities. Their involvement ranges from educational initiatives to supporting non-governmental development projects, reflecting a deep connection with their roots and heritage​​.

The Landscape of Indian Philanthropy

India's philanthropic sector, particularly family philanthropy, has shown notable growth. The Bain & Company India Philanthropy Report 2021 reveals that family philanthropy, fueled largely by High Net-Worth Individuals (HNIs), grew to INR 12,000 crore in FY20, triple its earlier size​​​​. This growth indicates a robust inclination towards social responsibility among affluent Indian families, many of whom have NRI connections.

Historical Context and Growth

Indian family philanthropy is not a new phenomenon. Historically, Indian families have contributed to the nation's independence movement and subsequent development. Many of these families, having established their businesses during the Swadeshi movement, continue to invest in philanthropic initiatives, shaping the country's path to achieving its potential​​.

Modern Dynamics of Family Philanthropy

Family philanthropy today is multifaceted, with individuals and families actively participating in the operations of their foundations. This involvement is driven by personal wealth and is deeply embedded in Indian family values and community ethos. Scaling up domestic family philanthropy is crucial for India's achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)​​.

The State of Philanthropy in India

The total private-sector funding in fiscal year 2020 was about INR 64,000 crore, a 23% increase from the previous year. This funding comes from foreign contributions, corporate social responsibility (CSR), retail investors, and family philanthropy. Family philanthropy accounts for a significant portion of this increase​​.

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite the growth in family philanthropy, the social sector remains underserved. Compared to other BRICS nations, India's social sector spending is relatively low, underscoring the need for increased private philanthropic involvement​​.

NRI Contribution to Indian Philanthropy

NRIs, especially those based in the US, such as the members of Indian diaspora, have been actively involved in philanthropic efforts in India. Their high-earning capacity and professional success have enabled them to contribute significantly to various social causes in India​​.

Recognition and Expansion

The Indian government has recognized these contributions by expanding the scope of prestigious awards like the PBSA (Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award) to include charitable and philanthropic activities done in Indian soil​​.

The Pandemic and Philanthropy

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the resilience of family philanthropy. While individual giving saw a decline due to economic challenges, family philanthropy remained robust, with the wealth of billionaires in India growing significantly during this period. This resilience has proven crucial in supporting various social initiatives during the pandemic​​.

Industry-Led Initiatives

Corporate families, like Forbes Marshall, have initiated projects like "The Social Compact" to address the needs of informal workers, showcasing the proactive role of family philanthropy in crisis response and sustainable development​​.

Future Directions

The Bain & Company India Philanthropy Report 2023 underlines the need for private philanthropy to play a catalytic role in bridging the funding gap in India's social sector. It emphasizes the importance of diverse funding sources, including CSR, family philanthropy, and retail giving, to foster inclusive and sustainable development​​.

Emerging Trends

The report also highlights the transformative role of Now-Gen and Inter-Generational givers in reshaping philanthropy by focusing on underrepresented causes such as climate change and gender equality. This shift in giving behavior is vital for India's long-term social and economic development​​.


The involvement of NRIs in philanthropic activities and community development in India is a testament to their commitment to their homeland's growth and welfare. Their contributions, along with the increasing trend of family philanthropy, play a pivotal role in addressing India's social challenges and in achieving the SDGs.

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Aayush is a strategic growth marketer with over 6 years of experience working in the US and European markets for various financial services companies. He has a proven track record of success in helping businesses grow, increase revenue, and improve marketing strategies.

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