- A.T.E. Chandra Foundation
Archana and Amit Chandra are among India’s best known philanthropists. They’ve helped fund various projects and NGOs; worked hands-on with non-profits; and have played a meaningful role in building a philanthropic culture in India. They have been involved in several significant projects such as: Jai Vakeel Foundation and Research Centre; founding and building up Ashoka University; and establishing the SRCC Children’s Hospital, among others.
The Chandras and A.T.E. have decided to work together in the social sphere through the A.T.E. Chandra Foundation. The Foundation’s core areas of work and implementation are:
Sustainable Rural Development: Dam desilting to increase water and nutrient availability to farmers, zero-budget natural farming and other initiatives that help scale up natural climate-resilient farming practices and help build rural livelihoods.
Water Security: Our biggest program involves supporting the rejuvenation of water bodies in partnership with NGOs and the state and local governments. From 2017-2019, 7,536 water bodies have been desilted across 27 drought affected districts and 15,848 villages. Looking ahead, we have partnered with IIT-IIT(iit-iit.org see https://youtu.be/PeB9WHr2voo) to scale rejuvenation of water bodies across 124 priority districts in 12 states through its “Grow To National Scale Platform”.
Climate Resilient Farming: Over the last few years, we have been trying to understand the costs and benefits of natural farming in a scientific manner. We have documented 100+ detailed case studies of natural farmers across 5 states, analysing what has worked and what has not. We have also been working with 200+ marginal natural farmers in Latur, many of whom are widows, with a view to carefully study their experiences and help scale up any consistently positive practices.
Social Sector Capacity Building: This vertical works on the promotion of philanthropy, driving investments in building ecosystem capabilities of the sector and organisational effectiveness, social sector capacity building at a systemic level, and leadership development and capacity building for NGOs. Some highlights are:
NGO Capacity Building: We have been supporting a legacy portfolio of ~30 NGOs with investments to strengthen their organizational capabilities that would enable them to reach their full impact potential. In 2019, we partnered with the Bridgespan Group to conduct an impact analysis on our Capacity Building portfolio and co-created our 5-year road map. The findings have clearly shown that NGOs at large are starved of essential functional capacity, with the ATECF Capacity Building portfolio yielding high multipliers in fundraising, CXO talent, monitoring, evaluation & learning, and leadership training investments. We have recently launched a ‘Capacity Building – Centre of Excellence’ to demonstrate to the sector at large the power of capacity building. Going forward, this will enable us to codify & share best practices, knowledge, and learnings to inspire other NGOs and donors to adopt a capacity building mindset.
Ecosystem Capacity Building: ATECF aims to build the managerial and leadership pipeline for the sector at large with a target of 5,000+ trained social sector leaders by 2025, across 10+ leadership development programmes. From 2020, we will start mapping outcomes and Net Promoter Scores (NPS) of some of these programs to help them sharpen their desired objectives. Additionally, in order to unlock the giving capacity of the nation, we continue to support ecosystem initiatives such as Give India (along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Omidyar Network, and Vikrant Bhargava) to catalyse INR 5000+ million worth of retail giving annually by 2023, India Development Review (IDR), Guidestar and others.
Urban Governance and Development
For many years, A.T.E.’s focus in social activities has been in the areas of urban planning and urban governance. A.T.E. and the A.T.E. Chandra Foundation are associated closely with various NGOs, such as the Urban Design Research Institute (www.udri.org), the Kala Ghoda Association (www.kalaghodaassociation.com), and the Praja Foundation (www.praja.org), the Architecture Foundation, and the Charles Correa Foundation. The long term goals of ATECF’s urban portfolio are emerging, but urban planning, adequate housing and urban governance are sure to be important objectives.
Policy Projects: The ATECF team was fortunate to contribute towards two important policy projects over the past twelve months viz. CSR reforms (Ministry of Corporate Affairs) and an ongoing initiative towards the creation of India’s Social Stock Exchange (Ministry of Finance).
Other Projects: We are also privileged to support one of the most underserved causes of intellectually disabled via the Jai Vakeel Foundation, the country’s largest and oldest institution serving the intellectually disabled. Outside of our core verticals, our significant projects include the Ashoka University, Krea University, SRCC Children’s Hospital, Design For Change, the Praja Foundation, Olympic Gold Quest, Partition Museum, 1947 Partition Archives, Agastya Foundation’s Curiosity Carnival, Vidhi, PRS amongst many exciting others. In many cases, we have tried to create templates and catalyse incremental funding over the years, and it has been a privilege to see these institutions thrive.
2020 is an important year for us as we hope to make a much bigger dent in the search for water security while beginning to understand climate resilient farming deeper. We have been amongst the largest investors in the country in capacity building over the past few years. In the coming years we hope to start synergising these grants as well as bring greater insights in order to drive deeper impact for the benefit of the sector more broadly. In the process of all this, we hope to learn more and serve those we seek to serve better and importantly, with more efficacy and humility.
As the first few cases of COVID-19 emerged in Mumbai in early March 2020, the entire team of the ATECF plunged in to support COVID relief work.
Amit Chandra, along with Noshir Kaka, the global head of data analytics at McKinsey & Co, and Ajay Piramal, a leading industry leader, put together different teams to support the Maharashtra state government, the municipal corporation of Mumbai, and civil society in their efforts to prevent COVID spread and boost preparation to treat COVID cases. These teams worked in the areas of testing, transport and logistics of essential supplies, locating and unlocking medical and food supplies, and creation of hospital bed capacity.
In addition, ATECF committed at least Rs.75.00 million (around $1 million) funding to a range of projects, in many cases being involved right from program design and building coalitions to gather more funding via co-investments (over 8x).
Supply of Protective Equipment, Ventilators & Hospital Beds
The Foundation initially focused on donating hospital supplies and equipment such as N95 masks, PPE kits and ventilators across Maharashtra. Approximately 33% of ATECF’s outlay had been in this area.
The Foundation also co-sponsored, along with the Marico Innovation Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Marico Innovation Grand Challenge in the area of protective gear & respiratory solutions. Thousands applied for the award with innovative solutions.
Addressing the issue of mass hunger – at scale, at low cost, and with speed
Subsequently, ATECF embarked on what is easily one of the largest ever food distribution programmes (with approximately 65% of the outlay). With the support of partners, donors, and other NGOs namely Madhu Mehta Foundation (Praja), Apnalaya, SNEHA, Hunger Heroes, YMCA, Tweet Foundation, Manav Lok, Marathwada Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Vidayak Sansad, SRUTI, and Magic Bus for food distribution, Marico Innovation Foundation for innovation, and Project Mumbai for hospital supplies, ATECF distributed 1500 tons of dry rations over 8 days, which is equivalent to nearly 10 million meals, benefiting 350,000 individuals in the containment zones of Mumbai slums and other parts of rural Maharashtra. Again, ATECF could help others direct their funds meaningfully. 1 of the co-donors provided 7 times ATECF’s outlay.
In the 2nd phase of food distribution, the programme was expanded to cover fresh food produce in order to address the dual objectives of mitigating acute agricultural distress as well as food relief. Since then, fresh produce of fruits and vegetables has been distributed to 80,000 beneficiaries in slum containment areas across Maharashtra, while simultaneously supporting 1200 farmers.
ATECF is working on how best to support impactful campaigns that would prevent and address issues caused by COVID. For example, it has partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a containment strategy for highly dense slum areas, including some unique forms of communicating the need for social distancing and usage of masks.
In the next phase, ATECF is looking to allocate Rs. 37.50 million to Rs.75.00 million ($0.5-1 million) in additional funding which will go to support civil society organizations impacted by COVID-19 and also address the issues of those at the bottom of the pyramid, whose livelihoods have been adversely impacted by this crisis.
‘Doing business in the best interest of society and the environment at large’ is firmly embedded in the DNA of the A.T.E. group. We have a wide range of innovative and well-proven technologies for an environmentally and economically sustainable society.
Wastewater treatment: To mitigate the increasing scarcity of water, we offer comprehensive solutions for wastewater treatment, recycling, and sludge management
Cooling: The conventional methods of cooling is carbon intensive and is unsustainable. We offer unique, energy efficient, and eco-friendly products, providing 100% fresh-clean-cool air for space and process cooling.
Heating: For industrial process heating and cooking, we offer concentrated solar thermal energy solutions. These help to save fossil fuel and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Aiding the environment:
A.T.E. has built state-of-the-art, LEED certified facilities at Bhosari (Pune) and Sari (Ahmedabad). These green workspaces meet environmental sustainability requirements as an integral part of meeting functional requirements. The offices are designed to enhance the well-being and productivity of their occupants.
The buildings are energy efficient and make use of natural daylight and innovative cooling systems. The sites have sustainable water management systems that include rain water harvesting, sewage water treatment systems, and channels to recharge ground water.
The open infrastructure is designed to include the surrounding environment with sunlit openings in the roof, glass façade to allow natural day light, HMX-Ambiators to circulate fresh air within, living green walls that are soothing to the eye and beautifully landscaped complexes with indigenous trees and plants to green the surroundings without leaching ground water.
- To read more about our LEED certification, click here.
- To read more about the design, architecture, and resource efficiency of our LEED Gold certified facility at Sari, Ahmedabad, click here (PDF, 5.8 MB).
- To read more about the design, architecture, and resource efficiency of our LEED Gold certified facility at Bhosari, Pune, click here (PDF, 7.4 MB)
- A.T.E.’s green buildings at Sari (Ahmedabad) and Bhosari (Pune) have been featured in the book ‘Green Buildings of India’ – 2nd edition published by Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The book can be downloaded here (PDF, 2.0 MB).
Green work practices
A.T.E. has adopted several green practices in every one of its locations on the basis of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Replenish approach, with the active involvement and cooperation of its employees.
The key areas for green initiatives are:
A.T.E. uses the recycled hand-made paper for printing of letterheads and envelopes. The re-use of paper and envelopes are encouraged for all internal requirements. The usage of fresh paper is closely monitored to ensure minimum use of fresh papers.
Waste segregation and composting
Wastes are segregated into wet, dry, recyclable, and e-waste and are disposed of responsibly and in an environmentally friendly manner.
Employees are encouraged to save power and water to the extent possible.