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Leveraging the Power of Diaspora

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Guest Blog by Pooja Virani, The Rockefeller-Aspen Diaspora Project

What motivates you to invest in India’s development? Is it your family, a desire to help India, or the existence of a good investing opportunity? The Rockefeller-Aspen Diaspora Program is seeking your input.

The growth of the impact investing industry over the past decade has allowed investors to uniquely blend financial, social, and environmental objectives. The Rockefeller Foundation and the Aspen Institute have built and shaped the industry with the goal of solving social and economic challenges in the developing world. Despite the significant efforts that have been made to support impact investments and entrepreneurs, philanthropic and nonprofit resources are not enough to solve the world’s biggest challenges; private capital must also be unleashed.  

One area where Rockefeller and Aspen see great opportunity is in mobilizing the amazing energy, passion, and financial power of the diaspora. Much attention has been paid to the $414 billion in remittances to developing countries, but remittances are person-to-person transfers that do not impact economic development beyond the individual household. Furthermore, remittances represent a mere 2% of diasporas’ net worth. 

There are 67,000 Indian millionaires in the U.S. alone, each with an average net worth of $3 billion. Their combined net worth of $200 billion is greater than the top 50 foundations in the world combined. Imagine how even 1% of their financial assets could transform education in India?

The Rockefeller-Aspen Diaspora Program (RAD) is a collaborative effort between the Rockefeller Foundation and the Aspen Institute that is designing a targeted and coordinated approach to facilitate the strategic investment of financial, social, and human capital from diasporas to development efforts in their countries of origin. RAD is playing a critical role in understanding the barriers that currently inhibit diaspora members from making strategic investments in development projects and in developing an effective approach to overcome those barriers. RAD’s mission is to create a medium that provides capital, convenes, and advises tipping-point diaspora investors.

RAD wants to hear from you. Please take a few minutes of your time to fill out the following survey. The survey is anonymous and is intended to measure the Indian diaspora’s motivations and interests in contributing to development efforts in India. The link to the survey is:

http://rad-aspen-institute.polldaddy.com/s/rockefeller-aspen-diaspora-program

After you take the survey, please join RAD from 3:00-3:30 PM on Saturday, March 17th for its panel “Leveraging the Power of the Diaspora” during which RAD, the Sierra Club, and the Skoll Foundation will discuss the potential of diaspora investments to catalyze the commercialization of businesses and transfer of technologies to India.