Born and raised in the U.S, 24- year old Deval Sanghavi was an analyst at Morgan Stanley, when in 1999 he decided to quit his job and use his second year bonus to move to India and start Dasra. Four years later, he was joined by his to-be wife, Neera Nundy, who moved to India after completing her MBA from Harvard Business School in 2003. Even though they both grew up in the West, Deval and Neera were acutely aware of the poverty and injustice that plagued India.
Deval had spent numerous summer holidays with his grandparents in Mumbai, and seen firsthand the extreme injustices faced by street children living nearby. Neera’s mother ran a boarding school for tribal children just outside Kolkata, and although Neera grew-up in Canada, she spent a lot of time volunteering and working with communities in India.
It was at Morgan Stanley that Neera and Deval first met, and together dreamed up the vision of Dasra. Together, they were determined to use the skills they had learned in investment banking to change the lives of many Indians still living in extreme poverty.
Dasra, meaning ‘enlightened giving’ in Sanskrit, began as a venture philanthropy fund to invest in early stage non-profit organizations in India. The aim was to bridge the gap between funders and non-profits by educating funders to be more strategic in their giving, and helping non-profits use the funds in the most optimal way. Over the last 19 years, Dasra has channeled over USD 72 million into solving some of India’s biggest problems, has worked on scaling over 800 non-profit organizations, and impacted the lives of over 20 million Indians. We are proud to have partnered with leading non-profits such as Magic Bus, Akshaya Patra and Educate Girls to help them grow and impact the lives of many more Indians. Through our journey, we have also realized that when your dream is to impact the lives of a billion Indians, you cannot do it alone. To create sustainable change, funders, nonprofits and the government must work together, share learnings and create joint solutions that work.
Dasra is now a team of 120+ passionate individuals, with the commitment to improve the life of every Indian and ensure India reaches the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Our model has grown to facilitate collaborations between funders, non-profits, corporations and the government to achieve impact at scale. We are proud to be partnering with leading family foundations and philanthropists in India and abroad to help them shape their vision and dream big.
In The News
Follow #DPF2019 to stay updated on stories, conversations and highlights from the Dasra Philanthropy Forum