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20120224

IITs gear up for Alumni and Corporate Fundraising

Deans and development officers from top IITs came together for a 2-day workshop held at IIT Kharagpur on February 16-17, 2012. The focus of the workshop was fundraising from corporations and alumni – both philanthropists and whole body of alumni.With the recommendations from the Kakodkar committee to increase autonomy for the IITs and reduction in the financial support, it is time for the IITs to follow the suit of universities abroad. The Committee report recommends that IITs also raise financial resources from multiple sources, to augment government funding for their development.

Just like American universities, quite a few higher educational institutions were started in India by Indian philanthropists in the pre-British era. While Tatas started Indian Institute of Science Bangalore, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Benaras Hindu University was started by Madan Mohan Malviya. But gradually with Government taking charge of the higher education system in the country, philanthropy for this sector has dried up. IITs have brought back the culture of giving back with many of their alumni in India and abroad contributing significantly and now the IITs aspire to reach the same scale as those of the American universities.

IIT-KGP Director Prof. Damodar Acharya set the opening tone with emphasis on fundraising through alumni engagement. On the same note Prof. Amit Patra, Dean, Alumni Affairs & International Relations, spoke about the holistic development of the Institute through sustainable fundraising. IIT-KGP was amongst the first IITs in India to receive alumni funding. With this program it again intends to be a pioneer to fulfill the goals of organized fundraising and global branding.

The purpose of the workshop was to develop an organized structure of fundraising from alumni and corporations. Also there was sharing of best practices. The aim was to increase long term fundraising through networking and involvement of alumni and interest of corporations. C J Menard, Associate Vice President, Global Leadership Development, Boston University conducted the workshop. C J Menard focused on systematic alumni giving and setting of clear vision for fund raising campaigns. He focused on importance of branding and emphasis on nation-building as part of fund raising process. Amitabh Banerjee, Director (Finance) of HPCL and Poonam Madan, Managing Partner at Genesis Burson-Marsteller, were the invited speakers. Poonam threw light on CSR in India. Amitabh talked of corporate governance and social responsibility giving by PSUs. Both Poonam and Amitabh commented on how educational institutions can attract CSR funding which is at a nascent stage in India.

Presentations were made by IIT-Kanpur, IIT-Kharagpur, IIT-Bombay and IIT-Madras. Dean of Alumni and Corporate Relations, IIT Bombay Prof. Contractor reflected the positive and high-growth story in alumni fund raising since the setting up of their development office 4 years’ back. He emphasized on the process of formulating the strategy and culture of giving while students are still at the campus which they have implemented successfully last year. IIT Kanpur shared its amazing alum-connectivity story and how they accomplished the commendable task of connecting with 75-80% of their alumni which resulted into a regular giving back by the alumni.

IIT Madras also talked about how their alumni are giving back every month and the Institute recognizing them in various ways. Dean S P Gupta of IIT Roorkee focused on developing relations with corporations at regular intervals and enhance corporate fund raising. IIT Delhi talked about proactive and integrated approach towards building alumni relations. IIT Guwahati suggested that offering good placement to students could serve as major branding initiative. It was encouraging to see 3 new IITs participating in this workshop who will be delivering alumni soon. These were IIT Patna, IIT Bhubaneswar and IIT Gandhinagar. Prof. Partha Ray of IIT Patna spoke about why corporate contributions are necessary for corporations to develop future business leaders.

Chinna Boddipalli of IIT-KGP talked about how the Institutional Development (ID) program can revolutionize the fundraising structure in the Indian higher educational sector. Chinna is Managing Director of this program which is designed according to the development programs of US universities and customized for the Indian higher education environment. The workshop was an initiative of the ID team. There was also a best ideas’ session where every IIT was asked to put forward two ideas on fundraising and branding. IIT-Delhi and IIT-Patna took the top slots followed by KGP and Roorkee at the 2nd and 3rd positions. The idea of social media came up frequently to connect with the alumni worldwide.

Many IITian philanthropists have contributed generously to their Alma mater which took the shape of new developments in each of these IITs receiving such contributions. Several US- based alumni have helped set up schools and centers. At IIT-KGP new developments through major alumni contributions happened since 1990s.

Vinod Gupta School of Management and Rajiv Gandhi School of Law by Vinod Gupta, GS Sanyal School of Telecommunication by Arjun Malhotra, School of Infrastructure Design and Management by Ron Gupta, and the very recent School for Bio-energy by Dr. Prabhakant Sinha are the major ones. At IIT Bombay, alumni from across the world have contributed handsomely for their alma mater over the past 15 years. Among some of the major initiatives by the alumni are School of IT by Kanwal Rekhi, School of Management by Shailesh Mehta, D S Foundation Gymkhana by Bharat Desai, Convention Center by Victor Menezes and many more. Similar are the stories for other IITs. While wife of Late Prof. Rajeev Motwani and Narayana Murthy have donated significantly to IIT-Kanpur, IIT-Madras has Dr. Gururaj Deshpande, S Gopalakrishan and others. Bharti Foundation led IIT-Delhi to start the Bharti School of Telecommunication Technology and Management.

The workshop was immensely successful and appreciated by everybody present. Several ideas were put forward on networking, collaborations, branding and world ranking of IITs through organized fund raising. It was also agreed that fundraising cannot be considered in isolation. The growth of an institution would happen when all the stakeholders share a common vision and work towards a common goal as pointed out by C J Menard.

COURTESY: Education sun

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