Time to create a fund of funds!

Ever since I learnt the concept of Purpose in society and business a decade ago, I have constantly asked myself what my Purpose in life is. And as time passes, I have been able to get more clarity on my purpose in life. I have also been able to delve deeper into the concept in the last 12 months and more at a heightened level in the last 12 days as we saw a nation of healthy people crumble and tumble.

As a PR professional I have always watched fellow practitioners advocate purpose driven programmes for client or the organisations they work for. But we have really been able to come together as a small or big group to demonstrate purpose to each other. One may ask which other professional community does so. To them my answer is that no other professional community recommends the application of Purpose the way PR professionals do.

Well, in the last few days we have seen a barrage of posts, messages, calls coming from all and sundry for help on beds, medicines and oxygen. What we have not yet seen like we did last year is clients stopping work and people losing jobs. What we have seen closely is loved ones – young and old losing lives. Until now, I have not yet heard of a PR or corporate professional going through these following situations – losing life, losing a job and being unable to bear the cost of medication.

Here is what would be one approach: That everyone invests in two sets of insurance policies beyond what the organisation one works for provides – a term insurance and a health insurance. A decent pair of plans should come by for under Rs 50,000 annually for a 40-year old and much cheaper if you are younger. That is Rs 4000 a month. Once these are in place should there be an eventuality the insurance should take care of urgent needs. But there is no insurance for a loss of job.

Here is what we are proposing: For a set of individuals to come forward in their personal capacities to create many small funds. These are virtual corpuses that can be dipped into on a rotation basis should there be a situation that calls for financial support. For now, we can all focus on helping those in need with a call or message to requisition for an oxygen cylinder or a hospital bed. But we need to plan for the unforeseen future.

Therefore, I propose the creation of three funds.

A Founders Fund – this will have a line of credit based on a certain upper limit that is put together by founders who do not need to get international clearances. Second, a Leaders Fund – which consists of contributions above a certain amount that include CEOs and CCOs as contributors and lastly a Professionals Fund that has contributions both small and large from anyone who wants to make a commitment.

More funds can be added later. No money will be transferred to anyone at this time. These are plain commitments. If and when the need arises these funds can be tapped where a beneficiary will get a direct transfer from the one who has made a commitment. The patrons making commitments will be reached out to in rotation. This idea was inspired by numerous small events in the last few days. Depending on which category you fall under please opt to be in one of the funds.

A Founders Fund will require commitments of Rs 1 lakh and above; a Leaders Fund will require commitments of Rs 50,000 and above and a Professionals Fund will require commitments of Rs 5,000 and above.

The Policy of Giving will be as follows –

If a fellow professional is the sole bread winner and is losing his or her life due to covid, the immediate family will get support for three months by which time the insurance should kick in. This will be to the tune of Rs 20,000 per month to be paid to a parent or sibling if the person was single. In case the person was married it is to be paid to the spouse.

If a fellow professional is a sole bread winner and loses a job because of the pandemic induced lay offs along with others he or she will get support for four months or until a job is found (whichever is earlier) to the tune of Rs 15,000/- per month

If a person has been severely affected by covid financially and needs financial support to the tune of Rs 10,000/ – per month for two months these resources will be made available.

All this support will be made available subject two professionals opting in for it in advance to be a potential beneficiary. When one has not opted in the discretion to make funds available will be the sole discretion of the funders. Also, this will be made available to those professionals whose organisations explicitly mention their inability to support them.

There will be a social impact manager who will oversee the management of these funds between May and August. The tenure maybe extended if need be. The hope is that each of these funds have Rs 10,00,000/- each in commitments

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

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Amith Prabhu
Amith Prabhu is the Founder of the PRomise Foundation which organises PRAXIS, India’s annual summit of reputation management professionals.

He is also the Founding Dean of the School of Communications & Reputation (SCoRe).

He can be reached at @amithpr on twitter.

1 Comment on "Time to create a fund of funds!"

  1. Aniruddha Basu | May 3, 2021 at 1:08 PM | Reply

    Amith, its a good way to serve our community, especially fellow colleagues who have been laid off or impacted by Covid and need financial help. Also an SOS Community should be developed for the PR professionals impacted by Covid. Ideally a group on Whatsapp or social media. A custodian should be appointed who can verify those eligible for receiving donations. Lastly, do we need 3 separate funds (Founders/Leaders/Professionals Fund) or for sake of simplicity just club them all under one Fund- Policy of Giving. Minimum amount Inr 500, Max no limits.

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