The Soondra Foundation is a nonprofit that provides healthcare access for the working poor in India by giving micro-grants at a time when they are faced with catastrophic medical expenses.
We established the foundation in honor of Soondrabai Tawdé, our founder’s family housemaid from 1961 to 1997. She was a young, childless widow when she came to us and helped raise my brother and me. Like many working poor, she did not have any savings, and our family provided for her medical costs, including diabetes-related expenses. Her warmth, unstinting devotion to her work and ready smile made her a beloved member of the family. Her memory inspires us to prevent financial catastrophes for the poor working to make a better life for their families.
Our Core Conviction
Providing immediate health care access to India’s working poor during a medical crisis to limit long term financial burdens and get better health outcomes.
The working poor in India do not have savings for a rainy -day fund, and a lack of education and finances limits their access to health. In India, only 1.5 percent of GDP is spent on healthcare, resulting in inadequate government providers and poor government facilities. We overcome these barriers through micro-grants when families are vulnerable— during a medical crisis to prevent catastrophic debt. We partner with Indian nonprofits already working with vulnerable communities. They vet the grantees with our guidelines and are responsible for disbursing the funds to medical providers (and not to grantees directly).
Our stakeholders are many: The people who generously donate funds to us, many of whom were born in India and now live abroad; our partners and medical providers on the ground in India; and the ultimate recipients of the dollars — domestic helpers, drivers, day laborers, etc. On the surface, there is little to unite these groups; a continent and inequity divide them. But they all share a passion for improving healthcare in India and understand the importance of funding access to prevent a catastrophic financial burden.
- Compassion: fear, financial helplessness and lack of agency limit access to healthcare in emergencies for India’s poor. The Soondra Foundation will work with indigent families to solve these problems, one emergency at a time
- Sustainability: We foster this by preventing catastrophic debt for healthcare, helping to preserve a family’s financial future
- Innovation: We impact healthcare access for one family at a time and grow to influence several communities in India. Our partners have many diverse missions and we are a nimble, innovative organization providing healthcare access in different scenarios according to constituents’ needs.
- We promise transparency to all stakeholders through a clear line of sight from donation to the actuals paid for the micro-grant.
- We promise to focus on individuals in segments of the population who do not have access to loans for emergencies rather than long standing problems.
- We promise expedient micro-grants, eliminating time difference barriers by creating escrows funds with partners that are released by email approval.
- We promise accountability by partnering with NGOs with strong positive standing in the community, with transparent accounting, governance and funding practices.
- We promise to track outcomes, to use data to guide our decisions and make strategic choices.