BOSTON–The American India Foundation has been awarded a grant of $400,000 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for its work to revive livelihoods of COVID-affected street vendors in urban India by connecting them to new markets and to concessional capital sources for their trade.
The grant is part of roughly $80 million in awards MacArthur announced in support of the foundation’s Equitable Recovery initiative, centered on advancing racial and ethnic justice. The initiative is funded by MacArthur’s social bonds, issued in response to the crises of the pandemic and racial inequity.
“We are thankful to John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for supporting AIF’s Project Entreprerana where we are seeking to revive the livelihoods of one million street vendors as part of a larger effort to rebuild lives in wake of the pandemic. The grant will support street vendors who have been one of the worst hit communities due to COVID induced lockdowns and enable them to thrive not just survive in the post COVID world. Our goal is to double the income of street vendors through an integrated approach of providing new sources of income, access to capital, formal registration, digital and financial inclusion,” said Kamesh Sanghi, Director Livelihoods, American India Foundation.
“As we emerge from this moment of crisis, we have an opportunity to improve the critical systems that people and places need to thrive. Our systems and structures must be rebuilt,” said MacArthur President John Palfrey. “We are committed to ensuring that our response to the pandemic is focused on supporting the reimagining of systems that create a more just, equitable, and resilient world.”
The American India Foundation is committed to catalysing social and economic change in India and building a lasting bridge between the United States and India through high-impact interventions in education, livelihoods, public health, and leadership development, with a particular emphasis on empowering girls and women to achieve gender equity. Working closely with local communities, AIF partners with NGOs and government to develop and test innovative solutions and with governments to create and scale sustainable impact.
AIF is one of 35 organizations receiving grants advancing the Public Health Equity and COVID-19 Mitigation and Recovery focus area of the Foundation’s initiative. Public Health Equity and COVID-19 Mitigation and Recovery supports improving access to resources for immediate health challenges while advancing new policies, models, and structures to support a more equitable and resilient public health sector in the future. MacArthur identified the areas through a participatory process with a diverse group of external advisors, who informed its strategic approach. The participatory process aimed to centre the voices of communities that are affected by the Foundation’s decisions and have a stake in the grant making outcomes.
Equitable Recovery Initiative
In the fall of 2020, MacArthur established a $125 million Equitable Recovery Initiative. The Foundation deployed $40 million of bond proceeds through 24 grants. Initial grants focused on strengthening voter mobilization and election protection, addressing anti-Black racism, and supporting Native Americans impacted by COVID-19. Grants also supported Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous arts organizations in Chicago, technology and justice, and a fund for social entrepreneurs advancing racial equity.