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IIT > Uncategorized > IITs now turn more to alumni for money

IIT Delhi plans to raise Rs 1,000 crore by the end of this calendar year while IIT Madras eyes a total endowment kitty of Rs 450 crore by the end of this fiscal

The country’s premier technology colleges — the Indian Institutes of Technology — are increasingly reaching out to their alumni in India and abroad for funds due to diminishing government funding.

IIT Delhi, which had raised ₹250 crore from alumni in October, for example, plans to raise ₹1,000 crore by the end of this calendar year. IIT Madras eyes a total endowment kitty of ₹450 crore by the end of this fiscal, while IIT Kanpur pegs it at ₹300 crore. Last month, IIT Bombay had raised a record ₹26 crore on its alumni day.

IITs get government funding for salaries but they have to find other sources for any other needs, or to start anything new.

“Government funding will go down with increasing cost and there is no way but to attract more alumni to donate generously to the institute,” said Jayant K Singh, dean of resources and alumni (DORA) at IIT Kanpur. “We are under loan (taken from Higher Education Financing Agency) which we have to pay back. Hence, it is critical for us to learn how to generate more money.”

IIT Kanpur has an endowment kitty of ₹300 crore and aims to take it to ₹500 crore in the next three years.

From setting up alumni development offices in India and abroad and forming teams and alumni boards with outside professionals to advising on fundraising to launching proactive alumni outreach activities and engaging the alumni in investment decisions, IITs are going all out to attract their well-placed former students to give back to their alma mater.

“This year we have taken up a more targeted reach out of the alumni,” said Mahesh Panchagnula, dean of international and alumni relations at IIT Madras. “We want to reach ₹1,000 crore in endowment the next three years.”

IIT Madras has formally created alumni development offices in India, the US and a few other countries that are responsible for engaging the alumni in raising funds.

IIT Delhi is in the process of setting up a committee that will comprise the alumni and members of the IIT faculty who will together decide what will be done to the money collected. “We launched a global alumni endowment fund in October for which we got a commitment of ₹250 crore,” said Sanjeev Sanghi, dean of alumni affairs and international programmes at IIT Delhi. 

“We have 50,000 alumni and many of them are doing extremely well and have keen interest in donating to the institute,” he said. 

The institute, which aims to have an alumni funding kitty of ₹7,000 crore or $1 billion by 2025, is also taking help of asset management professionals who can advise on how to invest the money. “The alumni need to be confident about where their donation is being used,” Sanghi said.

“They want the fund to be used in a transparent way and want more say in the way the money is used.”

Institutes use the contributions made by alumni for various purposes including setting up infrastructure such as hostels, laboratories, innovation centres and sports facilities, giving grants and scholarships to students, funding faculty development, endowing chair professorships and building naming initiatives, funding activities such as participation in international conferences, and on dissemination of research results.

The endowments could come in several forms from general funds and donation by batches (around events such as silver jubilee and golden jubilee) to project-based donations, and funding for scholarships, chairs and outreach projects. Though contribution from domestic alumni form a major part of the fund corpus, there is an increasing interest from alumni outside the country to donate more to their institutes.

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