Meet the Advisory Board: Ingrid Srinath on the intersectionality of philanthropy

Meet the Advisory Board: Ingrid Srinath on the intersectionality of philanthropy


As the Founding Director of the Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy (CSIP) at Ashoka University, Ingrid Srinath seeks to build the body of knowledge on Indian philanthropy and civil society. CSIP is an academic centre that aims to be a convenor across societal divides, and a capacity builder for students, alumni of the university, and also for nonprofit leaders and philanthropists in India.


Self-sufficiency and independence were key goals in Ingrid’s childhood, driving her to complete an MBA. After 12 years in the private sector though, boredom forced her to look introspectively for something more fulfilling, which led her to work with Child Rights and You (CRY), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). In her 10-year journey there, she helped move CRY from a charity to a human rights organisation, leading the campaign to make education a constitutional right. Her subsequent time at CIVICUS in South Africa and at CHILDLINE India and Hivos India, gave her the knowledge and experience to move to the next step, founding CSIP at Ashoka University. She saw it as an opportunity to get answers to the questions about philanthropy and civil society in India that she’d been asking for 20 years.


Philanthropy in India dates back to 3500BC, grounded in local culture and ethos, across all religions and ethnicities. It has evolved over time to address the needs of the nation, such as during the Freedom Struggle.

“Gandhi was amongst the best fundraisers… a fantastic mobiliser of resources.”


During the nation-building phase that followed independence from colonial rule, philanthropy funded by big business and wealthy Indians established education institutions, research facilities, and promoted arts and culture. International philanthropy only came to India in the 1960s with the Rockefeller and Ford Foundation’s Green Revolution initiatives, motivated in part by the need to stem the spread of Communism after China’s revolution. . In the 70s development era, NGOs and large people’s movements were supported by secular philanthropy – ordinary, indigenous people.

“There’s been a philanthropy in India to fit the needs of each phase of our development as a country, and telling that story – it’s a very different story from the story of international philanthropy – needs to be told in its own right.”


The absence of norms is one of the critical gaps in philanthropy in India. Sometimes referred to a ‘norm-free zone’, philanthropy is the last sector untouched by regulations, reporting, transparency, and accountability, which, of course, makes it susceptible to use by all sorts of influential groups. Non-profit organisations like CSIP are caught in the crossfire of governments wanting to limit the role of foreign philanthropy, and the business sector that is really keen to expand its influence on philanthropy. Being able to present reliable data on the sources of money, the way it is being spent and to what purpose, would be a useful counter, evolving the norms of transparency and accountability in philanthropy.


In India, there is a law that makes it mandatory for all businesses above a certain size to contribute 2% of their net profits to social causes. There is a very large and structured corporate philanthropy sector, accounting for one third of all philanthropy in the country. The set of reporting norms mandated by government provides especially useful data. So too the intense monitoring of international funding, which ensures access to regular, comprehensive data. There is a need for private and domestic philanthropy in India to adopt some of these norms, but this has been met with resistance. CSIP works within this sector, with those who are willing to be more transparent, in the hope that peer pressure will compel some of the more resistant ones to follow.


Looking at the work being done by CAPSI, specifically with African philanthropy, Ingrid believes there is a need to tell the story – to correct the perception that Africa is merely a receiver of philanthropy, not a protagonist. Taking control of the narrative is profoundly important. With centres like CAPSI in Africa, and others in Asia and Latin America, there are opportunities for networking and sharing stories and experiences.

CAPSI can be the catalyst for more of these types of initiatives across the world to be founded: to build the field of research in philanthropy, academic centres are vital.

“I call it the four Ns – actually a K and three Ns – Knowledge, Networks, Norms and Narratives; I think we need to do all of these at the country level, regional level and continent level, and then across the globe itself.”


Extending the partnerships, like the one between CAPSI and CSPI, to other academic centres in the world would be of enormous benefit to the philanthropy space. “We would all be able to move that much faster if we did this together.”

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The Carnegie corporation of new york

Established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie, the Carnegie Corporation of New York is one of America’s oldest grantmaking foundations and promotes the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.

Their work focuses on international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy.

The corporation supports CAPSI with research and development of a new cohort of scholars.

The Charles mott foundation

An automotive pioneer, philanthropist, and leader in the community, Charles Stewart Mott cared about innovation, fairness, and communities.

By working toward a world where each individual’s quality of life is connected to the well-being of the community, both locally and globally, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation continues this legacy.

A founding funder of the Centre, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation supported the establishment of the Chair and continues to support our programmes.

The Ford Foundation

As an investor in transformative ideas, individuals and institutions, the Ford Foundations is one of the founding funders of CAPSI.

They have supported the planning and establishment of the centre and continue to support our programmes and operations.

Their invaluable work includes providing grants, investing in individuals through fellowships, and challenging inequalities through civic engagement, creativity, free expression and more.

The southern africa trust

Established in 2005 to respond to high levels of poverty and inequality, the Southern Africa Trust aims to increase the voices and agency of the poor.

This is in the hopes that it enables them to reach the necessary audiences and influence regional public policies as unrepresented stakeholders.

They are a founding partner of CAPSI and acted as a fiscal sponsor for Mott and Ford grants in the establishment of the Chair.

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Susan Maposa

With 22 years of professional experience in Africa and Asia, Susan Maposa has developed a wide range of skills and expertise in the fields of philanthropy and social development.

This has established her as a leader in her work with multilateral and bilateral agencies, non-governmental organizations, research institutes and universities as well as consultancy firms. Her experience includes programme conceptualisation, design, management, implementation, evaluation and documentation.

She describes herself as a “pracademic”, and is passionate about working across the field of theory and development practice building one into the other. Read Susan’s complete bio and an excerpt from her research project.

Wycliffe Nduga Ouma

Wycliffe Nduga Ouma is a PhD candidate and a Research Assistant at the Wits Business School in Johannesburg.

Mr. Nduga has worked as a Research Associate with the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, a Central Bank of Kenya Research Institute mainly concerned with the Monetary Policy, Exchange Rates Movements, and Balance of Payments. He has also consulted and conducted training on Financial Markets and Investments for Organizations such as Knight Frank Commercial and Residential Properties in Kenya. He was part of the broad team that conducted research and wrote the Integrated Economic and Development Plan (Document) for Turkana County, a regional government authority in Kenya.

For the better part of 2017, Mr. Nduga consulted in the Finance and Accounts Department for the Italian Chamber of Trade and Industry, Johannesburg. Currently, alongside the PhD dissertation, Mr. Nduga assists in Teaching and Facilitation of the Financial Investments Decisions for the MBA students, Finance and Accounting, Financial Risk Management, Research on the Connection Between Finance and Corporate Philanthropy, and advising on research and classwork for MBA and Master students at the Wits Business.

He has a passion for research and consultancy in the areas of Financial Markets, Financial Risk Modelling, Investments and International Trade.

Keratiloe Mogotsi

Pan Africanist, pracademic, researcher, lean six sigma coach, project management professional and African Philanthropy Lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand — Keratiloe Mogotsi does it all.

She is currently a lecturer here at the Centre on African Philanthropy and Social Investment at the Wits Business School. Her research areas include disaster philanthropy in Africa, venture philanthropy, African philanthropy and philanthro-capitalism in Africa.

As someone who is passionate about the continent and its people, she uses her skills as an educator and coach to excel in everything that she does.

Alan Fowler

As a co-founder and long-time associate of INTRAC, Alan Fowler’s professional life has seen many changes. From being an Organisational Development Advisor, Foundation Programme Officer and Researcher, he is now an academic as he serves as an honorary professor and Chair in African Philanthropy, a role the first of its kind, at the Wits Business School. 

A career spanning some forty years devoted to civic agencies and NGOs has produced eleven books and dozens of papers about their role in international development, as well as numerous capacity building materials, conference presentations, lectures, and seminars. Combining theory and practice as a ‘pracademic’ continues as the thread in his contribution to citizen-driven social justice.

Bhekinkosi Moyo

Dr Bheki Moyo is a writer, author, researcher and thought-leader with keen interest in questions of African resources, democracy and governance.

In addition to championing the African discourse on philanthropy, he has contributed to the growth of many African civil society formations and participated in most African processes of development and governance.

Over the course of his career, he has written extensively about African philanthropy, civil society, and governance. Additionally, he has extensive experience in leadership, management, and strategic roles.

Xolani Dlamini

As an experienced Digital Publisher specialising in academic/scholarly publishing, particularly Open Access journals, Xolani Dlamini has been involved in managing and publishing various academic journals in different fields of study.

Thandi Makhubele

Thandi Makhubele, the current Programme Manager (Acting) at CAPSI, joined us from the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) where she worked for twelve years in various departments, including TV News and Current Affairs and Supply Chain and Legal services.

She holds an Honours Degree in International Relations and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Security at the Wits School of Governance with a focus on Philanthropy and Women’s development.

In addition to volunteering with Hand of Compassion, providing help to young pregnant women and displaced women, she hopes to bring her passion for human development, security, and creativity to the Centre.