The democracy of India rests on three constitutional estates - legislative, bureaucracy and judiciary. The free press or media has long been recognized as the fourth. The contribution of NGOs towards nation building is immense. HCL defines it as the Fifth Estate.
HCL Grant is a step towards recognition of the rise of the Fifth Estate - the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The Fifth Estate has now become a critical agent of change, playing a decisive role in building a stronger, future-ready India.
Started in 2015, the HCL Grant is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment by HCL, through HCL Foundation (hyperlink), to strengthen and empower NGOs, engage with them, as well as recognize them for their path breaking work. Currently focused at rural development, the HCL Grant is awarded in three thematic categories, namely Environment, Health and Education. The Grant is designed to support breakthrough award winning projects to NGOs, that have a proven track record of evident impact, high credibility and distinct ability to deliver. NGOs that reach out to marginalized, isolated, underserved and underdeveloped rural communities in India, and work jointly to achieve sustainable socio-economic development.
HCL Grant is HCL’s contribution towards Nation Building. The vision behind HCL Grant is to mine out best practices and most successful models of rural development that are relevant in various contexts. Provide a platform where these models receive unprecedented visibility and replicated by many, such that the country excels in achieving the developmental milestones.
Unique aspect of the HCL Grant is that the organizations are recognized not only based on the “idea”, but also for their power to transform these ideas into reality and thereby, transform Indian villages.
The total committed fund for HCL Grant is ₹15 Crores (US$2.3Million) for the year 2018 – 19. Through HCL Grant, HCL Foundation will award ₹ 5 Crores ($0.8Million) per category, per NGO, against a well-defined 5 years project.
HCL Grant, through Edition I, II & III has already committed ₹ 35 Crore (US$5.4Million) towards high quality projects in the years 2015-16, 16-17 & 17-18. Through this commitment, the HCL Grant supported projects selected during Edition 1, 2 & 3 aim to cover 8,09,906 people in 3,567 villages in 26 districts across 12 states of India. These projects are already operational in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.
Through edition 4, the HCL Grant envisions to identify another set of NGOs doing phenomenal work. As always, this is a fresh edition and all NGOs that registered and applied before are welcome to participate again. HCL Grant gives a fresh look to each application every year.HCL Grant aims to achieve sustainable rural development by supporting NGOs that are doing path-breaking work, anywhere in India. HCL Grant has following specific objectives:
1. Financially support innovative, replicable and sustainable projects, proposed by NGOs which are committed towards transformative rural development, one each, every year, in the respective Thematic Categories.
2. Identify NGOs who have made significant impact in rural transformation and publish a compendium capturing work of these NGOs, such that they become globally visible for their efforts.
The HCL Grant is awarded in the following thematic categories. Underneath is an indicative list of sub-thematic areas that could be proposed to seek HCL Grant funding. Please note this is not a comprehensive list - this is to give a sense of the broad sub-themes that the HCL Grant is aimed at:
HCL Grant Recipient NGOs are selected through a structured process, that measures in detail and depth, the impact of the NGO, its governance and capacity to deliver. Three years into this journey, the task remains steadfast: to find the three NGOs most aligned with the overall vision of the HCL Grant: generating high impact rural development in the areas of Environment, Education and Health.
The screening model deployed is simple yet robust, scientifically formulated, with multiple levels of assessments. Parameters include the originality, relevance and impact of the idea, the project’s scalability, and how replicable and feasible it is. The history, social audit, and stakeholder engagement of the entity is vigorously investigated. Quantitative parameters include comparisons of coverage versus depth, financial allocations and more.
The process consists of 5 distinct levels of assessments, listed below:
Shortlisted NGOs are eligible for Field Level Validation
In the first edition of the HCL Grant (2016), HCL Foundation granted ₹ 5 crore (~USD 750,000) in the education category to Going to School for their innovative educational programs. Through their design-driven approach and learning materials, Going to School currently works with more than 1,300 schools and is positively affecting 150,000 children every week with life changing skills.
In 2016-17, the HCL Grant expanded beyond education to include health and environment themes. More than 3,000 NGOs registered for the grant, of which more than 600 submitted high quality and complete applications. Field locations of 48 shortlisted NGOs were visited by senior level experts.
Based on these field assessments, 32 NGOs were presented to highly qualified thematic sub-juries who further shortlisted nine NGOs for final jury evaluation.
Three best NGOs were selected by an independent jury on February 21, 2017 as the recipients of the HCL Grant 2017.
The recipients NGOs of HCL Grant across three categories are
Inclusive education for children with visual impairment (CVIs)
Enable a holistic landscape based approach to conserve and restore designated landscapes of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR).