ChaloGive for COVID-19: Indiaspora’s campaign raises an initial $500,000 for the most vulnerable during the pandemic

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Anand Rajaraman

Washington, DC— Indiaspora has launched a ChaloGive for COVID-19 online giving campaign to fight hunger and provide relief directly to vulnerable populations affected most by the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and India.

The giving campaign has raised USD $500,000 in contributions from Indiaspora’s leadership network this week. The campaign continues Friday as a grassroots initiative through Indiaspora’s online giving platform ChaloGive.org.

“We are facing an unprecedented situation due to Covid-19,” said Anand Rajaraman, a Silicon Valley-based serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist, and an Indiaspora Founders Circle member who, along with his wife Kaushie Adiseshan, is a lead donor for the campaign. “The drastic measures necessary to control this pandemic have created special challenges for vulnerable sections of society across the world, particularly in India and the US. Indiaspora has the opportunity to unite the diaspora to quickly and decisively help in the midst of this crisis.”

There has been an outpouring of support from the Indian diaspora during this pandemic. Several community-based organizations are providing much-needed relief, with CEOs, entrepreneurs, professionals from different industries, and the entire community rallying to make contributions to various nonprofits.

One of the most pressing and urgent challenges facing both the U.S. and India right now is hunger, which is a deciding factor in Indiaspora’s new ChaloGive campaign.

In the U.S. more than 37 million people face food insecurity, with food banks struggling to meet a massive increase in need. In India, nearly 140 million migrant workers have been displaced and remain in dire need of food and other essentials.

“While all eyes are on frontline hospitals, millions in America and across the globe suffer silently from a growing and equally alarming epidemic of food insecurity as the COVID-19 crisis threatens to push already struggling families deeper into poverty,” said Sejal Hathi, an Indiaspora Board member and physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Now more than ever is the time for communities like Indiaspora’s to come together and rise to this call to feed people in need. I’m so proud to witness exactly this commitment to seva.”

ChaloGive for COVID-19 provides an opportunity for the Indian diaspora to make a collective impact toward helping marginalized communities who have been disproportionately affected by the ongoing crisis.

“This crisis has made it even harder for those who were already struggling to survive,” said Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman of Axilor Ventures and a founder of IT services company Infosys, who is also an Indiaspora Founders Circle member. “Given the increasingly global world we are living in, India and its diaspora are in a unique and powerful position to help each other.”

Partner nonprofits for ChaloGive for COVID-19

Contributions to ChaloGive.org will meet demand on the ground through beneficiary nonprofits Feeding America and Goonj in the United States and India, respectively.

Feeding America, which has been providing emergency food assistance to people facing hunger through its nationwide network of 200 food banks in America for more than 40 years, is responding to the new hunger crisis in the U.S.  Every dollar to Feeding America secures 10 meals through the food bank network.

“The nation and our food bank network are facing challenges unlike anything we’ve seen in our organization’s history,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. “We are truly grateful to Indiaspora for its support of Feeding America through the ChaloGive for COVID-19 campaign. During this time of uncertainty, the generous donations derived from this effort will help bring much-needed food and hope to countless families facing hunger across the U.S.”

In India, Goonj provides disaster relief, rehabilitation and community development with dignity. Through their Rahat Covid-19 initiative, given their already pan-India network and presence, Goonj has already initiated relief work of reaching food, dry ration and hygiene kits to displaced migrants in parts of fourteen states of India.

“Despite our extensive experience of working in disasters, the scale and still unfolding nature of this long-tailed disaster calls for massive resource mobilization for short-, mid- and long-term work,” said Anshu Gupta, Founder of Goonj and a Magsaysay Awardee.  We are delighted to partner with Indiaspora on this campaign as an opportunity to engage the Indian-American community and our well wishers from across the world in supporting their fellow citizens in this difficult hour.”

Contributions given at ChaloGive.org will go directly toward these charities’ relief funds, and are fully tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers.

An additional USD $100,000 donated online by April 15 will be matched by Indiaspora’s members; thus, donors who give through the platform will have the opportunity to have their impact doubled.

Ambassadors for ChaloGive for COVID-19

High-profile ambassadors have endorsed the ongoing campaign, including former Pepsi Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi, and former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, who serve on Feeding America’s Food Security Council and Board of Directors, respectively.

“This pandemic has exposed an already existing hunger crisis,” said Indra Nooyi. “Together, as a society we must rise to this moment and address this great need knowing our investment in people, in families, and in communities will reap untold benefits not only now but into the future.”

“It is essential that individuals — especially vulnerable populations who are most at risk — maintain access to food during this public health emergency,” said Dr. Vivek Murthy. “I proudly support this campaign and trust its impact will go far to bring relief to those struggling with food insecurity.”

In India, philanthropists Rohini and Nandan Nilekani and Bollywood actress Nandita Das also have voiced their support for the campaign.

“Goonj is just the kind of organisation we can rely on in this double crisis of health and livelihoods,” said Rohini Nilekani. “It has decades of experience serving the most vulnerable while striving to preserve the dignity of every stakeholder, and it has time and time again demonstrated a scaled up, rapid response in the aftermath of disasters. We have been supporters of Goonj for many years. They care, and they deliver. Thank you all for your generosity and your support.”

ChaloGive for COVID-19 is the second online giving campaign by Indiaspora. Its inaugural ChaloGive campaign launched October 2, 2019 on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, from October 2-8, 2019, highlighting more than 20 organizations with successful track records in areas of poverty alleviation and empowerment, health, and education.

Indiaspora is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization established to transform the success of the Indian diaspora into meaningful impact worldwide. Their members are a powerful network of diaspora leaders from diverse backgrounds and professions that work to build stronger communities at home and abroad.

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