The SoG Grant (draft)

SoG Grant – a no strings attached grant to individuals to pursue a creative project of their liking.

This is the first draft of this. Publishing to seek feedback from people. Please do let me know what you think.

TLDR: I am committing Rs. 100K a year of my money to create a microgrant for people that may need money to pursue any project of their liking. Read more for more details.

Update. On 12 Jun 2021. I am running way behind on this. Sincere apologies. Will pick this up in July 2021.

Hello! Lemme talk of some themes that have shaped me and my life.

A. This couplet from Kabir.
I don’t know when or where I read this first, but this couplet resonates with me like nothing else has ever. Here it goes…

Sai itna dijiye, jaame kutumb samaay,
main bhookha naa rahoon, sadhu na bhookha jaaye

Attributed to the poet Kabir, though I am not sure.

This translates loosely into, “Oh, Lord, give me enough to take care of my family. Enough that I don’t sleep hungry and yet have enough left to support others that may ask me for it.”

B. Giants, their shoulders, and their kindness.
All my life, I have benefitted immensely from the kindness, generosity, and shoulders of strangers and giants. Whatever little I know or whatever tiny I have has come to me because I was a beneficiary of an unexpected gift. Each time, some chance brought me close to strangers and they were unnaturally kind to support me and literally changed the trajectory of life altogether. From my admission into MDI to my first real “education” with Raj at CLA; to the startup with Kunal; to Suvi’s blind faith in me; to the mad dream that we had at 5X5; to Social Wavelength’s risky bet on me; to Rajesh Sir’s support for C4E and me, each “career” move happened because these literal strangers trusted me and allowed me to make mistakes. I was on a long leash and I could learn all that I wanted to. and countless others that have helped me do things.

Even in terms of people that sort of mentored me (the list is a mile long and if I were to make that in public, this post would run in hundreds of pages), they did so without expecting anything in return. They were truly the giants that gave me their shoulders to stand on and look farther. The following quote, again I dont know by who describes me the best…

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

More about it here.

It essentially means that giants (and strangers) that have achieved a lot more than me have allowed me to learn from their experience and build my life on top of their work.

Isnt all life that? Arent all great innovations not built on top of what others have done prior? That.

C. I stumbled on this post from Thejesh where he has created a “no strings attached” microgrant in memory of his mother.
The idea is fairly simple. He created a tiny corpus from his savings to create opportunities for people that are little less lucky than him. He says, “I am creating a yearly $1000₹80,000 ₹1,00,000 micro-grant to support something meaningful. Grant is named after my mother – Nagarathna. The reason for grant could be anything as long its meaningful to you and people around. Though I prefer free and open source or creative commons projects, It’s not a must. It’s a no strings attached grant.”

I have always thought about giving back paying it forward, even though my own house has never been in order. All the “projects” I created as C4E partnerships were attempts at paying it forward. However, since I know that that model is essentially broken, I need to find an alternative to continue to pay forward. Thejesh’s post comes at the right time. And thus, the SoG Grant!

So, combining A, B and C, presenting The SoG Grant!

Hello, SoG Grant!

Inspired by Thejesh and others that have created microgrants (see this on Github), I hereby create The SoG Grant.

What is The SoG Grant?
SoG Grant is an attempt to pay it forward by supporting the ones that are less fortunate than I.

What is the corpus of this grant?
I will start with a total corpus of Rs. 100K from my personal savings. If I get more people to back this up, I will add on top of this. If you want to help me grow this basket, lemme know.

Update (4 Apr 2021): Krishna from Tezi.app has agreed to add another 20K to the corpus. He wants to support people building for SMEs in India.

So, as of now, it’s Rs. 120K per year. This could be given to one person or split among at most three.

Who can apply for this? Who is eligible?
I really really want this grant to help people that need it. I am not sure how I would validate the financial status but I will find a way as I go along.

No, it will NOT be easy for you to get this grant. I will make the selection process extremely difficult to weed out non-serious applicants.

Who is NOT eligible?
You have to prove your intention. While I am a dreamer and chase lofty goals that are beyond my reach, for the grant, I want to support people that are damn serious about it. You will have to prove that you have skin in the game.

What kind of projects / people would I support?
You could be whoever and you may want to do whatever. However, I’ll admit that I have a bias towards creators and education. So if you seek money for creating something or pursuing some course / education, I am more likely to support you.

Some projects that are great fit for this are…

  1. You want to take up a course that you cant afford
  2. You want to cut a music album and need money to pay for the studio etc.
  3. You want to write a book / script etc and need to pay your bills while you write it.

Please note that this is an indicative list only and the grant is available to anyone under the sun. As long as i believe what you do has the potential to make a difference.

Who can apply?
Anyone. From India.
I don’t know how to do the logistics of expanding it beyond borders.

What’s the catch?
No catch. I dont want you to thank me. I dont want you to include the C4E logo in what you do. I dont care if you forget me. All I care for is that you are accountable to me. That’s it. And no, I dont care about output. As long as you are good with the input, I am ok.

How can you apply?
I will announce more details over the next few days. I am hoping for the following timelines…

  • Applications Open: April July 2021
  • Application Deadline: May Aug 2021
  • Decision and Disbursal: June Sep 2021

In case you need this money urgently, do write in and I will make exceptions.

So that’s about it. Do let me know should you have any questions. More on the next few days.

Thank You!