As the founder of EdelGive Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Edelweiss Group, a leading financial services conglomerate with an asset base of $4.8 billion, Vidya Shah seeks to build a bridge between the users and providers of philanthropic capital by exporting the skills and strategies of the for-profit world to the social sector. Inspired by the notion that philanthropy is best served when organizations work collaboratively, EdelGive puts significant focus on building a tight network of nonprofits, philanthropists, foundations, and corporations to scale impact and benefit many more people in need.
"We have never viewed our effort through the narrow lens of a one-to-one relationship of funder and fundee," she wrote in EdelGive's 2015 annual report. "Rather, we have engaged quite doggedly in creating a community of people interested in learning and working together."
Vidya graduated from Bombay University and received an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. She spent the first decade of her career with ICICI Bank, Peregrine, and NM Rothschild, advising corporations on merger and acquisition transactions. She was one of Edelweiss Group's earliest employees and later became its CFO.
Vidya began her philanthropic journey by writing checks, like many others. However, she soon found herself traveling and searching for nonprofit projects in education, livelihoods, and women empowerment. In 2008, she founded EdelGive as a way to bring more structure—and a more embedded approach—to Edelweiss' philanthropic initiatives.
- Vidya Shah says her philanthropy applies lessons from Edelweiss experience
- Vidya Shah describes the evolution of EdelGive Foundation
- EdelGive focuses on capacity building, says Vidya Shah
- Vidya Shah says that philanthropy benefits from collaborations
- Quality measurement requires working closely with grantees, says Vidya Shah
- Vidya Shah applies a gender-lens to giving
- CSR often lacks strategic perspective, says Vidya Shah
- Vidya Shah discusses measuring EdelGive's own impact
- Indian philanthropy is colourful and chaotic, says Vidya Shah
- Vidya Shah says that philanthropy has helped her understand the complexity of social change