Alankrita Khera on philanthropy

Recognised as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Marketing Leaders in India in 2018, Alankrita has over 14 years of multidisciplinary domain expertise across various sectors. She has been a TEDx speaker, is a jury member for the DMA Asia Echo Awards and often takes lectures as guest faculty at various grad schools in and outside India. 

A storyteller and a published author, Alankrita enjoys volunteering her time for animal welfare, backpacks across the world whenever she gets the chance and loves exploring the ocean as a licensed deep sea diver.

If her professional journey has given her anything, it’s a belief in the power of potential; that every individual is capable of changing the world! 

Tell us more about the ACT grant. 

ACT Capital Foundation (also known as ACT Grants) is a non-profit venture philanthropy platform that was born in 2020 in response to the COVID crisis and is built upon the premise that collective action has the power to achieve social impact at scale. 

In 2020, when the pandemic was wreaking havoc on lives and livelihoods, a group of people from different walks of life decided to come together and support the public healthcare system in managing the crisis in every possible way. 

This collective of venture capital professionals, tech entrepreneurs and social impact leaders pooled their strengths to raise funds and deploy resources wherever needed. Actioning prevention protocols, providing oxygen concentrators, pioneering tele-ICU services, driving vaccinations & enabling mental health counselling – we stopped at nothing to deliver whatever the country critically needed during the COVID 1st and 2nd waves. 

Today, ACT Capital Foundation is a robust community of people with expertise and good will who are working together to seed innovations that can address complex social problems at scale; across education, healthcare, climate action and gender inclusivity. 

We are driven by the desire to catalyse social change through action and collaboration across the board – social entrepreneurs, donors, NGOs, expert advisors, government stakeholders as well as the public at large. 

Our grants are given as seed capital to incubate and accelerate innovations that have demonstrated ability to address identified social need gaps at scale. In addition to providing funding, we work with our grantees on their strategy as well as operations and help them harness the strength of our collective to make sure they have access to the best-in-class mentorship the industry has to offer.  

As ACT, we have a bias for action and believe that everyone can be a co-founder of social change!

Who are some Indian changemakers supported by ACT Grants? 

We currently have 23 grantees on board – 7 under ACT For Education, 6 under ACT For Health and 10 under ACT For Environment

I’m attaching a sheet with this email with details on who these incredible changemakers are 🙂

3. Please shed some light on the ACT Fellowship? Do you have any options available for people who cannot join it full-time?

The ACT Fellowship Program is a full-time 9 month opportunity for young professionals (graduates with atleast 2 years of work experience) to contribute towards creating social impact at scale while building their own leadership skills and entrepreneurial abilities. 

It offers a platform to learn from domain experts, gain invaluable experience in venture philanthropy and learn what it takes to catalyse collective action for social change; straight from the driver’s seat. 

Each year, the ACT Fellowship will accept a maximum of 6 Fellows into the program. And so, we’re looking for the brightest young minds out there – those who can think on their feet, are hungry to learn, enjoy taking on challenges and thrive in a rapidly evolving environment. For 2022, the program starts in September and applications close on 24th July.

The Fellowship is a full-time opportunity because the Program requires deep immersion. For those who are looking to contribute part-time, we’re hoping to catalyse expertise led volunteering opportunities that could create lasting, meaningful engagement. 

For instance if an ACT Grantee has a tactical project on harnessing technology to strengthen their impact, young professionals with the right expertise can take on a short-term project to help them do so. Or if an ACT Grantee needs fundraising expertise, senior professionals could help in an advisory capacity. 

Because genuinely, we feel like no matter who you are or what you do – you can be a vital part of the movement. 

In what capacity do you contribute to the work at ACT Grants? 

I’m the Director – Brand & Communications at ACT. My role is to build insight into how social entrepreneurship focusing on innovative solutions as well as the power of collaboration & collective action can create sustainable social change at scale. 

Because creating impact at scale is incredibly complex and challenging; we need as many people as possible to join the movement – whether by leading the change as social entrepreneurs or supporting our grantees by volunteering time, resources & expertise. 

And I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of this journey and contribute towards catalysing collective action in the time to come 🙂

What are some future plans for ACT Grants in terms of programs and outreach? 

Our 4th vertical, ACT For Women, is just gearing up to drive best practices on gender inclusivity that are vital to economic growth & prosperity. In partnership with Circle In (an organisation under The Convergence Foundation), we will be initiating a State Of The Sector Report on women’s employment across levels in the startup ecosystem to understand enablers & disablers as well as emerging best practices which can be adopted industry wide.

This report will be released on 8th March, 2023 and pave the way for piloting interventions for women such as return to work programs as well as supporting innovative ideas that can help women enter and remain in the workforce. 

Many Indian NRI’s living abroad or studying abroad might want to act as changemakers for India. How can they collaborate with ACT Grants? 

As volunteers & expert advisors; depending on their areas of interest and level of expertise. We hope to be able to roll out the volunteering program in a structured way in the months to come.

How does your personal journey coincide with your work at ACT Grants? 

For most part of my career, I have worked in broadcast media with the likes of Bloomberg UTV, Times Television Network and Viacom18. While I found great learning in those years, I struggled to find a bigger purpose – my ‘why’.

And so in 2014, I decided to move to the social impact sector in a bid to leverage my domain expertise for good – knowing well that this sector is not known for the riches it offers. But as it turned out, the move has been very rewarding. Worked with Teach For India and then CRY before moving to ACT; each transition has been a reflection of my evolving understanding of my ‘why’.

During my time in this space, I’ve come to realize that no one can create social impact, or any form of impact for that matter, in isolation – it needs the power of the collective. It has been a dream to work with an organisation founded upon that very premise and today, as a part of the incredible ACT team, I’m stoked to play a small role in what I personally see as the biggest disruption in the philanthropy space.

Vidhi Bubna
Vidhi Bubna
Vidhi Bubna is a freelance journalist from Mumbai who covers international relations, defence, diplomacy and social issues. Her current focus is on India-China relations.