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2018 Annual Report

 

Building Partnerships, Deepening Relationships

Dear Family,

If 2017 was a year of “breadth,” then 2018 was a year of “depth.” In 2017 we fine-tuned a breadth of organizational and programmatic structures—including our Family Projects program, partnership-based giving model, and financial strategy—in order to increase our impact while managing growth. In 2018, with these structures in place, we went to work on a core aspect of our philanthropic identity: Relationships. Our Palayam Partners—including the Jeevan Stem Cell Foundation, the Altius Foundation, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)—were eager to discuss ways in which we could deepen our relationships, and work toward sustainable growth and impact.

Our conversations with these organizations were remarkably candid, and involved creative exploration of areas of need and opportunities for long-term partnerships. Dr. Srinivasan outlined Jeevan’s ongoing need for basic administrative support, an unglamorous but vital need that has not been provided by even their most high-profile donors. Srikanth at Altius told us about the early development of a software platform aimed at taking the Karka Math Lab program to the next level—a project that fit perfectly with our “venture philanthropy” model. Jessica Edwards at NAMI laid out a path for our foundation to become increasingly involved in the important work of mental health awareness and stigma-reduction.

The openness and collegiality of these conversations are a testament to the advantages of partnership-based giving for a foundation of our size. They also highlight the importance of choosing partner organizations who are engaged, thoughtful, transparent, and enthusiastic. We hope our 2018 Annual Report will show you why we believe in our partners, and why we believe that they represent the long-term future of our foundation. 2018 has shown us that no sum of money can replace the power of a relationship. This is a sentiment we hope to carry forward into 2019. We will do this by continuing to deepen our partnership program, but also by renewing our emphasis on the family’s relationship to the Foundation. This will involve increasing our outreach efforts and promoting greater involvement in our Family Projects program.

As always, our volunteer Board of Directors plays an essential role in our progress, and we would like to thank them for their continued efforts. Please also join me in thanking Jamie for his three years of Board service, as he has decided to step aside to pursue other adventures. Finally, we would like to thank our donors—including StreetEdge and our individual donors—for their belief in our work. We look forward to a productive and impactful 2019!

Thank you for your continued support,

Sudhi Rajagopal
Executive Director & Board Chair
Palayam Foundation
February 9, 2019

 

Thank you to our 2018 Donors

Vasu and Latha Devan
StreetEdge Capital
Vishrudh and Nivedita Gopinath Sarathy
Anirudh and Mayura Kumar Sarathy
Sudhanva and Natalie Rajagopal
Vikram and Jojo Ranganathan


Partnerships UPDATE

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Raising awareness is a long-term play that involves changing the dialogue around difficult topics, normalizing mental illness, and encouraging people to share and ask for help. Through our partnership with NAMI in 2018, we have increased our involvement in the important work of reducing stigma and increasing awareness. With our support, NAMI created this new PSA to build awareness about mental health conditions and remove the stigma that keeps so many from seeking treatment and support.

 
 

Another focus of NAMI’s work this year has been to increase access to mental health services and information for families from minority backgrounds. We attended the NAMI convention in New Orleans in June, 2018, and were struck by the number of families—not just mental health professionals—in attendance. Discussions ranged from translating basic information on mental disorders into various languages for access through their website, to criminal justice reform, to health insurance.

Our informal discussions at the convention, as well as our formal talks with NAMI leadership has shown us the reach and impact of their simple yet effective strategy: Support families and communities, not just individuals; And leverage the connectedness of the modern world to increase access for those who need it, and to clear barriers such as social stigma. In 2019, NAMI will be gearing up for its 40th anniversary. In partnership with Palayam Foundation they will be continuing their work to end stigma and raise awareness about mental health conditions. As always, our partnership is an ongoing discussion, and we will continue to assess areas that resonate with the family and fit with our core mission.

 

Altius Foundation

Our partnership with Altius Foundation continues to grow and evolve as we embark on our third year of engagement with the India-based educational non-profit. Since the partnership's initiation, we have supported tuition fees for 79 students in Tamil Nadu from grades 6-12. Without the Foundation's support, these students would have likely dropped out of school. Our support has made a positive impact on each one of their lives, and it has opened opportunities for their future.

 
 

With the evolution of our partnership we now have the opportunity to engage with Altius on unique projects to further support Altius’ vision of extending educational opportunities to students across India. The Karka Math Lab (“KML”), has been an area of particular growth and success. This program has helps students (grade 6-8) learn mathematics and computer skills, using standardized learning programs and Khan Academy modules. There has been large demand for the KML program from school systems in rural areas of India. Altius is focused on shifting strategy to meet the demand, and evolve its services to scale the KML program rapidly over the next 12-24 months.

In order to ensure this program scales effectively, Altius is developing an open-source Learning Management Platform that will provide guided learning journeys, capture information, and provide immediate feedback to the students the students as they progress through the curriculum of the KML program. The development of this Platform will be a critical part of the continued growth of the KML program.

In 2018 the Palayam Foundation provided support for the development of this Platform. We are excited to see our partnership with Altius become more strategic, and in line with our “Venture Philanthropy” model.

 

Jeevan Stem Cell Foundation

In 2018, the Foundation continued working with the Jeevan Stem Cell Foundation and helped cover their overhead and administrative fees. For the past few years, we have chosen to fund this area of need and we’re delighted to see positive developments and significant progress in the field of stem cell research and registration and Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing.

Every year, over 120,000 Indians are diagnosed with blood cancers and another 10,000 children are born with blood diseases like Thalassemia. Their only hope for a cure is to find matching stem cell donors and undergo a transplant. With our help, Jeevan hopes to connect those who are diagnosed with a matching stem cell donor.

 
 

Because of our support, Jeevan has been able to facilitate 40 successful stem cell transplants and provide free HLA typing for patients and potential bone marrow donors. Additionally, Jeevan’s ninth cord blood transplant was successfully completed this March for a child in Ahmedabad.

Earlier in 2018, Jeevan became the first Next-Generation Sequencing/Human Leukocyte Antigen laboratory in to be accredited by the highest body in India, the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories. An accreditation audit by the European Federation for Immunogenetics was also completed in April which resulted in a highly-desirable international accreditation.

We look forward to continue our discussion with Dr. Srinivasan to explore current and future needs as our partnership with Jeevan grows.


Mukund Devan Family Projects Update

Last year, the Mukund Devan Family Projects (MDFP) program enabled two family members to support their own charitable causes. More information on the projects can be found in our 2018 Mid-year Report. Please email us at info@palayamfoundation.org to get a link to the application form.

Initiated by Geetha Rajagopal

Global Citizen Year Oakland-based non-profit that recruits and trains a diverse corps of American high school seniors to participate in an immersion-based international bridge year – often called a gap year – before starting college.

Initiated by Nivedita Gopinath Sarathy

The Leela Endowment is a joint initiative of The Leela Institute and the Chhandam School of Kathak. Together both organizations are working to ensure a secure and vibrant future for India’s rich artistic traditions and cultural heritage.


Disaster Relief

In August of 2018, severe floods affected the south Indian state of Kerala, due to unusually high rainfall during the monsoon season. It was the worst flood in Kerala in nearly a century. Over 483 people died, and about a million people were evacuated. The Foundation made a donation through the American India Foundation to help support rehabilitation efforts in the area.

Kerala-floods-24.jpg

Giving Update

At the end of 2018, our total giving came out to $104,575.

2018 Supported Regions (%)

2018 Supported Causes (%)

Giving History ($)

Since 2002, the Foundation has given out $621,445 in grants.

Financial Update

The Foundation finished 2018 with the highest level of total assets on record since our inception. Our incoming donations via individuals and partners were at an all-time high, enabling our total assets to grow by 13.6% in 2018 while the Foundation distributed a record amount in charitable giving. Total expenses on the year were 1.15% over the 2018 total budget (Charitable Giving & Operational Expenses). We came in significantly under our Operating Budget, however we were over budget for our Charitable giving by nearly the same amount. We disbursed $104,575 in total charitable donations in 2018 which is the highest in our Foundation's history. Our investment portfolio under performed in 2018, with a -4.5% performance. By comparison, the S&P 500 Index finished -6.6% in 2018.

Inbound Donations ($)

Total Assets ($)

Following the year-end Board meeting and after considering the Endowment's role in the the Foundation's greater vision, the Finance Committee has revamped the investment approach to reflect a much more conservative profile which secures our downside while providing a modest yet stable return. We have thus created a portfolio that is well diversified across US Treasury Notes, Bank CDs, and Money Market Funds. We project a 2.25% rate of return from this strategy through 2019.


2019 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Sudhi Rajagopal, Chair - Oakland, CA
Nivedita Gopinath Sarathy - San Francisco, CA
Vikram Ranganathan - San Ramon, CA
Vasu Devan - San Francisco, CA
Kousalya Ranganathan - Danville, CA

FOUNDATION STAFF

Sudhi RajagopalExecutive Director
Vishrudh SarathyDirector of Finance
Abinandh DevanDirector of Operations

Finance Committee

Vishrudh Sarathy
Vikram Ranganathan


Thank you.