Obviously the Nonprofiteer has been in the business too long, because the press release below, trumpeting an uptick in aid to charities serving Indian children in the wake of the release of the movie “Slumdog Millionaire,” made her think of nothing so much as the “101 Dalmatians syndrome” dog-lovers mention to explain their dismay that the Obamas are getting a Portuguese water dog.

The dog-lovers fear people will be inspired to copy the First Family’s choice of dog and then abandon the animals when they prove to be too much trouble. The Nonprofiteer fears that people will be inspired to support children’s charities in India this week and then abandon them when some equally photogenic opportunity emerges next week or month–abandoning the Indian children, in other words, when they prove to be too much trouble.

On the other hand, when she heard the dog-lovers’ plaint she thought, “Oh, get a life!” Dog adoption on balance is a social good, and shouldn’t be discouraged just because some people who engage in it probably shouldn’t (much like parenthood).

Likewise, donations to children’s charities in India are a social good, and shouldn’t be discouraged just because they won’t continue forever. What we hope is that people who adopt dogs grow into the responsibilities that go with pet ownership, and that at least some of the people who turn their attention to Indian orphans on a whim will grow to understand the causes of their poverty and thus to support the means necessary to alleviate it.  (Prominent among those necessary means: not just consistent individual giving but an increase in the U.S. foreign aid budget.)

And meanwhile, UNICEF (along with the charities cited below) will be glad of any and all contributions, no matter how passing the fancy which produces them.


Oscar-Winning Film Inspires a Boost in Donations to Groups Working With India’s Children; CAFAmerica Offers Simple Means By Which to Target Donations to Best Programs In India.

ALEXANDRIA, VA///March 3, 2008///The Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire,” depicting the often dire circumstances faced by children in poverty in India, has sparked interest in charities that target the problem, according to CAFAmerica, which promotes borderless charitable giving as part of the CAF International Network that spans six continents and has over $4 billion of charitable funds under management.

CAFAmerica CEO Susan Saxon-Harrold said: “Individuals and organizations that have been touched by ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ should consider donating to aid Indian children. I have seen the excellent work by charities working in the slums in Mumbai. These charities are making a huge impact on the health, welfare and education of children living in poverty with very little by way of resources. The success of the film has thrown a positive spotlight on their efforts. We advise donors on how best to get involved in giving to India as well as how to make donations safely to get the best impact. As well as working with individuals we work with CAF India to help corporations with their corporate community involvement goals in the region.”

According to an estimate by UNICEF, there are currently 11 million children living on the streets of India, many of whom have fled abuse or mistreatment at home.

The film “Slumdog Millionaire” has inspired a boost in donations to the following children’s charities:

  • Railway Children reports that has experienced 10 times as many hits on its Web site as normal and is witnessing a new wave of donations. Based in India, Railway Children established its first charity project in India in 1996, working with local third sector organizations to address the problem of homelessness. Chief executive Terina Keene has been quoted as saying: “We just hope that this marvelous film will help put us at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to helping the charity. The children on the streets of India desperately need our help.”
  • SOS Children’s Villages of India is a non-profit, non-government, voluntary organization, committed to the care of children in need. The aim and objective of SOS-India is to provide long term family based care to parentless, homeless and abandoned children and to strengthen disadvantaged families as a preventive measure against abandonment and social neglect of children. Since its inception in 1964, SOS-India has expanded its services for children at a rapid pace.
  • Save the Children, India is an independent member of the International Save the Children Alliance. The organization fights for children’s rights and delivers immediate and lasting improvements to children’s lives in India. Save the Children has existed in India since pre-independence days and is currently working in 11 states and union territories of India.

Both SOS Children’s Villages and Save the Children, India have reported an increase in donors and sponsors in the wake of the release of the movie Slumdog Millionaire.

Individuals and organizations that wish to rely upon the knowledge and due-diligence capacity of CAFAmerica to investigate these and other overseas charities listed here, can donate to help Indian children by going to the CAFAmerica Home page and clicking the donate “Now” button.

CAFAmerica helps companies, family and community foundations, and individuals to manage their international philanthropy efforts and strengthen charitable activity around the world. It also advises on fundraising and grantmaking, allows online account management, and provides an online giving mechanism for nonprofits to place on their Web sites.

CAFAmerica was founded in 1992 as a member organization of the London-based CAF International Network, which provides charitable financial services to nonprofits, individuals and companies. The CAF International Network spans six continents and has over $4 billion of charitable funds under management.

CAFAmerica is dedicated to expanding borderless charitable giving by providing guidance and international grant making options for donors. CAFAmerica’s range of innovative charitable solutions for US donors and overseas nonprofits include Donor Advised Gifts, Donor Advised Funds, Matching Donor Advised Fund and most recently, the Friends of Charity Fund.

CAF CONTACT: Patrick Mitchell, in the US, (703) 276-3266 or [email protected]; and Fiona Fountain, in the UK, +44 1892 544035 or [email protected]

imageKelly Kleiman, who blogs as The Nonprofiteer, is a lawyer and freelance journalist whose reportage and essays about the arts, philanthropy and women’s issues have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and other dailies; in magazines including In These Times and Chicago Philanthropy; and on websites including Aislesay.com and Artscope.net.