2016 Annual Report - Details
In 2016, the Palayam Foundation granted $55,463 to various organizations and causes. Please continue reading below to learn more about where our money went.
For specific programs related to reducing mental health stigma, culture-specific research, and general support
Given what our family has been through this year, we thought it would be appropriate to consider a sizable donation to the cause of mental health. In October 2016, the family participated in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of Darkness Walk. Shortly thereafter, as the foundation considered expanding our operations and scope, we thought about making a donation to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI is one of the most important, culturally-responsive, and well-vetted grassroots organizations working in the area of mental health. They do the meaningful work of educating the public, reducing stigma, working with families (not just the individuals who suffer from mental health issues), fostering community-level awareness, and working on the dire and extremely vital issues of public policy and criminal justice reform. This is an organization Sudhi has had contact with in various forms since he entered the mental health field. They are thorough, open, and passionate about culture-specific issues as well.
For staffing and administrative costs associated with Jeevan’s HLA Typing lab
In 2007, we provided the seed funding to start what is now India’s largest cord blood bank. We should be extremely proud of this accomplishment. Jeevan has since received support from many large international organizations as well as the Indian government. They have saved lives and increased awareness. Last year, they called on us for help again as they shift their focus to stem cell research and transplanting. The most important process related to stem cell work is called HLA Typing. As Indian blood cancer patients (mostly children) can only receive transplants from Indian donors, getting stem cells internationally is rare and extremely expensive. Jeevan has been working on setting up a typing lab that is up to international standards. With this lab they have reduced the cost of typing from $40,000 per person to $500 per person. As a result they have been able to do 28 life-saving transplants for children in the past 18 months; and astounding figure. While they do receive support from larger organizations, it turns out these organizations only want to pay for transplants—the more glamorous side of being able to tell their donors they saved lives—and not for essential things like salaries and administrative costs associated with the lab. Palayam’s original intent was to support the people who are doing good work, as much or more than the work itself. We believe in Dr. Srinivasan, and we were proud to show our belief in him and his team again.
For the set-up and running costs of the Kesari Math Lab
The Altius Foundation, based in Chennai, looks at new-age transformational ideas that are scalable and have great impact in the field of education. Their focus is on two core projects; Gift a Future, a web-based program that provides educational assistance to rural students for completing secondary education and the Karka Math Lab, a new model of primary education facilitated by technology. The math lab we funded has been set up at a 75-year-old government aided school called Kasari Higher Secondary School, which caters to the economically underprivileged. The school was greatly affected by the floods in December 2015 and it seemed like a great idea to start the math lab along with the flood rehabilitation efforts. As our relationship with Altius develops and becomes more fruitful, we will explore other opportunities to become involved in the future. Altius has shown themselves to be reliable and responsible when it comes to their impact and reporting. We know we have already made a meaningful difference. Altius is currently exploring options for expanding their programs, and new opportunities may become available later this year.
Hurricane relief efforts in Haiti
Earthquake relief efforts in Central Italy
Flood relief efforts in Louisiana
As in years past, our Disaster Relief Fund allows us to contribute in the aftermath of major crises and natural disasters around the world. We have built in flexibility in the amount we allocate to disaster relief year to year to account for the unpredictability of these events.
Hurricane Matthew was an extremely destructive hurricane that brought widespread destruction and catastrophic loss of life during its journey across the Western Atlantic, including parts of Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Lucayan Archipelago, the southeastern United States, and the Canadian Maritimes. Over 1,600 estimated deaths have been attributed to the storm making it the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Stan in 2005.
An earthquake, measuring 6.2 hit Central Italy on August 24, 2016. The earthquake caused the death of 297 people and injury to at least 365 people. Reports indicated severe damage in the town of Amatrice, near the epicenter. The earthquake left a massive pile of rubble in the town's center with only a few structures still standing on the outskirts.
In August 2016, prolonged rainfall in southern parts of Louisiana resulted in catastrophic flooding that submerged thousands of houses and businesses. Many rivers and waterways, particularly the Amite and Comite rivers, reached record levels, and rainfall exceeded 20 inches in multiple parishes. The flood has been called the worst US natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
For the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (ASFP)
In October, members of the family participated in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of Darkness Walk in Oakland, CA. The Out of the Darkness Walks are AFSP’s largest fundraiser – they produce millions for suicide prevention programs, unite those who have been affected by suicide, and create communities that are smart about mental health.
2016 Giving Breakdown
Palayam Foundation reached a significant milestone in 2016, as we saw total assets cross above $1 million for the first time in our history. While the increase in assets was largely due to a generous donor contribution, we are excited about the long-term growth of the Foundation, and our continued positive impact around the world.
The Foundation saw investment gains of ~$15,000 by investing primarily in Diversified Bond Funds. In August 2016, the Finance Committee determined that changes in the Endowment's management and oversight process were required in order to manage and ensure sustainable growth. As a result, we developed an Investment Policy Statement to serve as a framework for the management of the Endowment, and a Spending Policy Statement to set parameters for operational and charitable expenses. These policies have been voted and approved, and will be put into action early 2017.
The Endowment invests in a wide range of asset classes including Global Equities, Fixed Income, Currencies, Commodities, Real Assets, and Alternative Investments. All instruments in the Endowment portfolio are publicly traded. The Finance Committee is conducting research into new methods for investment including Socially Responsible Investing, and Mission Related Investing. We will work to ensure that the the values of the Foundation are reflected in the characteristics of the Endowment.
Annual Giving History
Thank you to our 2016 donors
Vasu and Latha Devan
Anirudh and Mayura Kumar Sarathy
A Look Ahead
Please stay tuned for updates on our strategy for 2017, including results from the survey and the annual board meeting.
2016 Board of Directors
Sudhi Rajagopal, Chair - Oakland, CA
James Rajagopal-Durbin - Truckee, CA
Nivedita Gopinath Sarathy - San Francisco, CA
Vikram Ranganathan - Danville, CA