About HCL Grant
The democracy of India rests on three constitutional estates - legislative, bureaucracy and judiciary. The free press or media has long been recognized as the fourth. The contribution of NGOs towards nation building is immense. HCL defines it as the Fifth Estate.
HCL Grant is a step towards recognition of the rise of the Fifth Estate - the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The Fifth Estate has now become a critical agent of change, playing a decisive role in building a stronger, future-ready India.
Started in 2015, the HCL Grant is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment by HCL, through HCL Foundation, to strengthen and empower NGOs, engage with them, as well as recognize them for their path breaking work. Currently focused at rural development, the HCL Grant is awarded in three thematic categories, namely Environment, Health and Education. The Grant is designed to support breakthrough award winning projects to NGOs, that have a proven track record of evident impact, high credibility and distinct ability to deliver. NGOs that reach out to marginalized, isolated, underserved and underdeveloped rural communities in India, and work jointly to achieve sustainable socio-economic development.
HCL Grant is HCL’s contribution towards Nation Building. The vision behind HCL Grant is to mine out best practices and most successful models of rural development that are relevant in various contexts. Provide a platform where these models receive unprecedented visibility and replicated by many, such that the country excels in achieving the developmental milestones.
Unique aspect of the HCL Grant is that the organizations are recognized not only based on the “idea”, but also for their power to transform these ideas into reality and thereby, transform Indian villages.
HCL Grant awards the winning NGOs in each of the categories of Environment,Health and Education, a grant of ₹ 5 Crore (~US$0.71 Million) for a 5 years project. The HCL Grant rewards the other finalists too, who are doing great work in their own right. So the 2 other finalists in each category receive a grant of ₹ 25 lakhs (~US$0.04 Million) for an year-long project which is mutually agreed with HCL Foundation after the final Jury meet. Thus, the total committed fund for HCL Grant is ₹16.5 Crores (~US$2.36 Million), for Edition V.
Since its inception in 2015, HCL Grant has given wings to brilliant and committed NGOs - to create a revolutionary kind of transformation. Past 4 years of the Grant have seen an emergence of a cadre of remarkable community-based, participatory NGOs that have dug-in their heels and proceeded to strengthen grassroots development, deepen impact, and scale it.
So far, the HCL Grant has already committed ₹51.5 Crore (~US$7.36 Million) towards high impact projects. Through this commitment, the HCL Grant supported projects aim to cover 10,15,033 people in 7,577 villages in 42 districts across 14 states of India, through 16 HCL Grant NGO Partners. 4,64,088 lives in most remote rural areas have already been impacted and 12,000 hectares of common land & forest land brought under community governance, through these projects, operational in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh & West Bengal.
Besides this, each year, work of upto 30 shortlisted NGOs, 10 per category, has been photo documented and published in The Fifth Estate – The HCL Grant Compendium – Volume I, II & III. This is possibly the first ever, sector wide, comprehensive compendium of highly credible NGOs, highlighting their proposals submitted for HCL Grant, striving towards the empowerment of rural India. Each one of these case studies are examples of best practices in arenas of environment, health and education, with evidence of meaningful transformation in rural belt of this diverse nation.
HCL Grant aims to achieve sustainable rural development by supporting NGOs that are doing path-breaking work, anywhere in India. HCL Grant has following specific objectives:
THE THEMATIC GRANT CATEGORIES
The HCL Grant is awarded in the following thematic categories. Underneath is an indicative list of sub-thematic areas that could be proposed to seek HCL Grant funding. Please note this is not a comprehensive list - this is to give a sense of the broad sub-themes that the HCL Grant is aimed at:
- Conservation of environment, the indigenous flora and fauna.
- Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and clean energy for all.
- Combating climate change and its impact.
- Protecting, restoring, and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystem and wetlands
- Conservation of natural water bodies, including river rejuvenation, oceans, natural springs, lakes and others.
- Combating desertification, deforestation, land degradation, biodiversity loss, pollution and promoting use of renewable resources. (Please note – proposals that come from agriculture domain only, without any environmental impact, will not be considered)
- Wildlife conservation and preservation.
- Right to Education for All by upscaling initiatives that strengthen Early Childhood Care & Development (ECCD), Elementary, Secondary, Higher Education, Adult Literacy & Inclusive Special Education
- Education that promotes learning opportunities through skill development and confidence building, including digital literacy.
- Education that leads to better livelihood opportunities and improved income & better living for young people and adults.
- Holistic education that encompasses co-scholastics such as sports, art and craft, performing & fine arts, promotion of culture, orientation on national heritage, theatre, provides opportunity for not only overall development but also sustainable livelihoods.
- Equitable, inclusive, technology enabled and relevant quality education, leading to gender equality and human resource development.
- Equitable & Universal access to Health for All - segments of population and ailments.
- Access to clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, prevention and elimination of water borne diseases.
- Maternal, adolescent, child health, nutrition and eradication of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
HCL Grant complements and contributes to National Missions & Sustainable Development Goals. Inclusion and Gender-Transformative approaches are underlying principles for HCL Grant.
HCL Grant Recipient NGOs are selected through a structured process, that measures in detail and depth, the impact of the NGO, its governance and capacity to deliver. Three years into this journey, the task remains steadfast: to find the three NGOs most aligned with the overall vision of the HCL Grant: generating high impact rural development in the areas of Environment, Education and Health.
The screening model deployed is simple yet robust, scientifically formulated, with multiple levels of assessments. Parameters include the originality, relevance and impact of the idea, the project’s scalability, and how replicable and feasible it is. The history, social audit, and stakeholder engagement of the entity is vigorously investigated. Quantitative parameters include comparisons of coverage versus depth, financial allocations and more.
- First Level Screening and Shortlisting:successfully submitted applications and projects are screened for eligibility, relevance of answers and authenticity of information. A team of experts, including sector specialists, evaluates successful entries on the following parameters:
- Organizational Profile: based on governance, financial management, program management, legal and statutory status, past performance and thematic credentials, capacity to deliver and other such criteria.
- Project Profile: based on rationale, clarity of objectives, measurability of impact, innovation, strategy and approaches and proof of evidence on replicability, community participation, scalability, convergence and sustainability.
- Field Level Validation: A team of experts visits the project locations to validate if details provided by the NGO are true to facts. Shortlisted NGOs move to the Sub Jury round. Work of all NGOs shortlisted for Sub Jury round is published in THE FIFTH ESTATE – the only compendium of its kind, published by HCL Foundation, as a tribute to them. Disseminated widely by HCL, provides international visibility the shortlisted NGOs.
- Sub Jury Round: Respective high level Sub-Juries review shortlisted applications and projects based on information and document submitted, and background verification. Selected NGOs move to the final round as HCL Grant Finalists.
- Final Due Diligence: A team of experts from Governance Partners conducts last leg of assessment on HCL Grant Finalists.
- The Jury Round: An eminent Jury reviews the finalists based on information and documents submitted, site visits and due diligence.
The process consists of 5 distinct levels of assessments, listed below:
Shortlisted NGOs are eligible for Field Level Validation
HCL Grant Recipients
Wildlife Trust of India (WTI)
She Hope Society for Women Entrepreneurs
Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL)
Tarun Bharat Sangh(TBS)
Jnana Prabodhini (JP)
Eleutheros Christian Society
Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind (Sightsavers India)
Foundation for Ecological Security
Child in Need Institute
Going to School
WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR?
The Grant is applicable only for NGOs working in the field of Education, Health and Environment and having experience of implementing projects in rural India. We are looking for organizations with innovative, replicable and sustainable models, which can make significant contribution towards rural development, in these Thematic Categories.
How to apply?
Applicants fulfilling defined eligibility criteria are required to fill the online application form which includes Organizational Profile form, Project Proposal form, the Budget and Gantt Chart (a complete application form will constitute all aforementioned items).
- Register your organization by filling in the following details – your name, your organization’s name, a unique username, a valid email address, address including state and city, valid mobile number, relevant thematic areas in which your organization is working and a password on HCL Grant website. To register, click here.
- Log in, using the user name and password received on the registered e-mail id. To log in, click here.
- Fill the Organizational Profile, review and submit. The Organizational Profile cannot be edited after submission.
- Fill the Project Proposal, review and save.
- Fill the Budget, refer to instructions on the top of the page under ‘Instructions for Budget’, review and save.
- Fill the Gantt Chart, refer to instructions on the top of the page under ‘Instructions for Gantt Chart’, review and save.
- Under the ‘Documents’ tab, download Declaration Form by clicking on ‘Format Attached’, fill it by hand and upload it.
- Upload other documents like registration certificate and audited financials of last 3 financial years.
- Review and submit the form.
- You will receive an e-mail acknowledging submission of your application on the registered e-mail ID.
- The organization must be a registered not for profit entity in India i.e. Society, Trust, Section 8 (previously Section 25) company or any other (in line with Section 135 of Companies Act 2013).
- The organization must have registered u/s 12A (A) of Income Tax 1961.
- The organization should have completed the below mentioned functional existence (as per registration certificate) in India on or before 28th February 2019:
- Applicant under Education and Health Category – 10 years,
- Applicant under Environment Category – 5 years,
- The organization should have completed the below mentioned working experience in rural areas in India on or before 28th February 2019:
- Applicant under Education and Health Category – 5 years
- Applicant under Environment Category – 2 years
- The organization should have below mentioned average expenditure for the last 3 financial years i.e. 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18:
- Applicant under Education and Health Category – ₹ 1.5 Crores or above *
- Applicant under Environment Category – ₹ 0.50 Crores or above *
- The organization must not be blacklisted by any government agency, donor or international agency.
- The organization must not have any negative media coverage or any other controversy associated with it.
- The organization should not have any political or religious affiliations.
- The organization should have registration documents, audited financial reports, tax certificates and FCRA (If applicable) and/or similar documents depending on the nature of the funding/donations that it receives.
- The proposed project must be in line with the provisions of Section 135 and Schedule VII of the Companies Act 2013.
- The proposed project must be in rural areas.
- The Grant can be used to scale-up an existing project where co-funding is involved. However, HCL should be informed of all co-funders in advance and the organization must be able to clearly report how HCL grant will be utilized and what impact it will create.
- Proposed project must be designed for direct implementation by the applicant organization, sub granting of HCL funds will not be allowed.
- Networks and Consortium organizations are eligible to apply for the grant, however, if selected the organization must directly implement the project, sub granting of HCL funds will not be allowed.
- The organization must have good relationships with local administration in their geographic location.
- Grant amount will be ₹ 5 Cr. for a period of 5 years.
- The organization should not have any pending litigations.
- Grant money cannot be used for infrastructure development such as construction, renovation, purchase of fixed assets like land, buildings, and vehicles, among others.
As always, this is a fresh edition. NGOs that registered and applied before are encouraged to participate again. They would need to re-register, they can always register using same credentials. HCL Grant gives a fresh look to each application every year. NGOs who applied earlier, can take this opportunity to further strengthen their proposals/apply with a fresh proposal/re-submit the same proposal.
- Please fill the application form in English only
- Please read the eligibility criteria carefully before filling the application form
- HCL Foundation may request for any supporting documents if required.
- Applications and documents submitted are subject to scrutiny and background verification.
- HCL Foundation may conduct site visits, due diligence and background verification at any stage during the process, applicant organizations are required to facilitate and cooperate during such activities.
- HCL Foundation reserves the right to reject any application at any stage with no liability of giving any justification