Mastercard donates $8.9 million to AIF for India Covid relief efforts

Mastercard has announced a donation of $8.9 million to the American India Foundation’s Covid relief efforts.

“We are so humbled to announce a historical partnership with Mastercard, created to address the devastating second wave of Covid-19 in India,” the AIF said on Friday. The donation, the AIF’s largest-ever gift, will be used to buy and place portable hospitals in areas of greatest need across India.

AIF will install “2000 portable beds in India, addressing the immediate healthcare needs of the nation,” which “will help an estimated 2.5 million Indians to gain access to healthcare,” the organization said.

Portable hospitals “resemble shipping containers and can sit on the grounds of existing healthcare facilities, adding 20-100 extra beds,” AIF said. “Every unit will be fully equipped with ventilators, medical equipment, and other supplies,” it said, adding that once “the response is over, each unit can easily be deconstructed or repurposed as extra space for various community needs, such as extra classrooms.”

Earlier, AIF said it was sourcing & delivering 500 oxygen concentrators to Delhi hospitals in the next three days to swiftly shore up supplies of oxygen in the capital.

“The current Covid-19 crisis in India is both heart wrenching and dire — for our Indian colleagues and the global community,” it tweeted.

“We’re currently matching employee donations to @AIFoundation and @akshayapatra, and encourage you to share and donate to an organization of your choice.”

Meanwhile, Indiaspora, a nonprofit community of global Indian diaspora leaders, is hosting a virtual event, “Help India Breathe ” Saturday offering to match donations to double the impact of relief funds for India.

The announcement came Friday after the organization itself raised $1 million toward Covid-19 relief efforts within the last 48 hours.

“We are proud of our community’s response. The outpouring of support from the Indian diaspora has been immediate and overwhelming,” said Sanjeev Joshipura, Executive Director of Indiaspora.

“We hope Saturday’s event will continue to raise awareness and provide another opportunity for all of us to give. This has the potential to serve as a launch pad for additional and much-needed help for relief efforts in India.”

The $1 million will address three major areas of Covid-19 relief on the ground: the creation of urgently needed Covid care centers and makeshift hospitals through nonprofit WISH Foundation, direct cash transfer to families who have lost a primary earning member through nonprofit giving platform GiveIndia, and food relief and livelihood assistance for migrant workers and other underserved populations through nonprofits Goonj and Jan Sahas.

“I am heartbroken by the deepening Covid crisis in India. Urgent action is needed to help those suffering,” said Indiaspora Founders Circle member Reshma Kewalramani, Chief Executive Officer and President at Vertex, a global biotechnology company, who contributed toward the campaign. “Please join me in giving as generously as you can to support India in her time of need.”

Indiaspora will use the money raised from its members to match donations during the virtual event,  “Help India Breathe,” which will take place from 1PM-3PM PT / 4PM-6PM ET

It will bring together several powerful voices from the Indian and AAPI community, including Lilly Singh, Deepak Chopra, Dhar Mann, Payal Kadakia, Kunal Nayyar, Humble the Poet, Jay Sean, Radhanath Swami, Janina Gavankar, Vishen Lakhiani, Deepica Mutyala, and others.

“We are devastated by the news of the rising tragedies in India. They urgently need our help, and we are so grateful to our friends, communities and audiences that will participate in making a difference this weekend. We know you’ll show up,” said Jay Shetty.

Best-selling author, award winning storyteller and podcast host and former monk Shetty has put together the two-hour event, which will be livestreamed on his and Indiaspora’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Funds raised during the event will go toward GiveIndia, which launched India Covid Response Fund-1 in April 2020.

With the second deadly wave currently hitting India, the organization launched ICRF-2 to support gaps in healthcare and other critical needs.


This article was first published in The American Bazaar online, April 2021. It can be accessed here.


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