Grantmaking Approach

Building on a rigorous analysis of the education sector, we develop specific goals using inputs from expert advisers, assessments of domestic and international best practices, and listening deeply to the aspirations and goals of communities themselves.

We focus on identifying a small number of extraordinary opportunities with the potential for transformational change. We have a detailed screening process that involves getting to know the entrepreneur, the organisation and the model on a deeper level.

Once we determine there is sufficient alignment with the entrepreneur, we work with them to create a strategic plan. We apply our own knowledge and consult with relevant experts to build this plan. This results in a co-created agreement that lays out the specifics of our support, deliverables and how we hold each other accountable.

In addition to offering financial capital, we actively support the entrepreneur in meeting the goals of the project by providing knowledge and networks and working alongside the entrepreneur to ensure their success. We constantly assess entrepreneurs’ progress and help make mid-course corrections along the way.

Investment Principles

To attain the vision that all children receive a high quality education, Central Square Foundation’s investment strategy and approach is guided by a number of key principles:

  • Exclusive focus on disadvantaged communities

We are interested in scalable and sustainable initiatives that directly benefit disadvantaged students but that also effect systemic change.

  • Global orientation

We seek ideas that dovetail best-in-class learning from leading global educational systems with the best domestic practices.

  • Early and growth stage grantmaking

We seek entrepreneurs with an innovative model either in an early stage that is yet to be proven or in a growth stage that requires support for scale.

  • Deep engagement

We not only provide financial capital, but we also engage deeply with our investees by providing support as they build their organisational capacity. Specifically, we mobilise technical and intellectual capital to enable entrepreneurs to realise their visions.

  • Emphasis on responsible exit

We assume responsibility for making a responsible exit from grantee organisations. From inception, we work with organisations to establish clear benchmarks that incrementally reduce their dependence on our support and help them identify resources to grow independently beyond our direct involvement.

  • Knowledge sharing and policy influence

We are committed to connecting our grantees’ work to the broader landscape of Indian education reform. We work with organisations that share their knowledge and emphasise systemic change so we can propagate successful ideas and accelerate our impact

Grants and Initiatives

Our grant duration and financial commitment vary depending on the scope of the idea, maturity of the organisation and potential for scale. Our grant types are:

  • Programme grants

As our flagship, Edventure Grants fund early stage education organisations. Growth Grants aim to build long-term institutions aligned to CSF’s theory of change. Innovation Grants support new projects being launched by mature organisations.

  • Research grants

Central Square Foundation (CSF) offers research grants to thought leaders, academic institutions and think tanks looking to explore the most pressing issues facing India’s education system.

  • Accelerator grants

Our one-year accelerator programme, EdCelerate, builds the capacity of education entrepreneurs through a seed grant, access to mentors, informational content through workshops and webinars, networking opportunities, and impact measurement and advocacy tools.

  • CSF Initiatives

When an urgent need arises to address a gap in the ecosystem and there are no non-profit organisations working on the issue, Central Square Foundation seizes the opportunity to operate programmes independently.