National Foundation for India was set up in 1992 by a group of eminent Indians under the leadership of Bharat Ratna late C. Subramanian, late Dr Kamla Chowdhry and Dr. M. S. Swaminathan. NFI was conceived as an autonomous, professionally managed fund raising and grant-making organisation. The Ford Foundation provided pioneering support to set up NFI as an independent Indian Foundation to promote civil society action and public deliberation for social change.
NFI’s mission is to help create a just and equitable society, by enabling marginalised communities to improve the quality of their own lives, by improving public understanding of social issues and promoting social justice.
NFI makes grants to support voluntary organizations working in poverty endemic and difficult parts of the country. We work to build capacities of individuals, communities and civil society to improve the quality of their lives and enhance their ability to negotiate from a position of strength.
NFI has seven thematic areas:
Peace and justice
Citizens and society
Each thematic area is intrinsically linked to NFI’s mission. It has a well-established context and concrete objectives. It also has a practical strategy that builds on past experience, and responds to new opportunities for the future. For more information on the programs operating under our thematic areas, look at “Our Programs”.
Much of NFI’s work is concentrated in the central-eastern and the northeastern states.
One of the few grant makers with a long-term perspective in promoting development.
15 years of effective grant making, awarding more than 300 grants of USD $7.3 million. Most of these grants are in the poverty endemic regions of the country.
Fellowships to more than 250 media fellows and community leaders.
Has worked with pioneering voluntary organizations in its geographical area of focus.
Played a leading role in drafting and advocating for a national policy on the voluntary sector, which has recently been approved by Government of India.
350 youth internship fellowships given to young people have helped them gain exposure to development challenges.
NFI was instrumental in persuading Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT) to go to the North East India as a donor.
Both the processes and outcomes of development are important to NFI’s work. Today, NFI occupies a distinct niche in the development sector in India as an independent and professionally managed grant making foundation. NFI has established an excellent track record of supporting development action at the grassroots for helping disadvantaged people improve their own lives. Its development communication initiatives involve media, academics, voluntary organizations and the government, with the aim of deepening their engagement with the lives and struggles of ordinary people.
Respect in all areas of work: respect for our work, our colleagues, our partners, our donors and our communities.
Trust that our partners are working with integrity and credibility in difficult situations. Through mutual trust, we move away from the traditional donor/grantee relationship and work in true partnership with our grantees.
NFI recognizes the importance of being Open to new ideas and ways of doing things and to learning from our work and our partners. Most importantly, being open to failure as much as to success and understanding that with both come learning and understanding.