Questions for Rainmatter Foundation (Running Thread)

We do get asked a lot of questions about our theses, partnerships, focus, learnings, take on climate issues etc. We’re happy to take and respond to questions in a public space, and will also try compile into FAQs every once in a while.

Please do NOT use this for proposals and pitches - either for submission/follow up. Those will be ignored or deleted :slight_smile: Please also do NOT use the space to rant against orgs, the government etc - we’d love for this to be a constructive space and we work with a collaborative mindset and assumption.

Fire away!


Hello! Thanks for putting this question out.

My first question would be more general about how the foundation looks at youth involvement in ecological restoration, active citizenship, shifting behaviours and also challenging systemic polluting+socially unjust practices. In this regard, what kind of youth-focused interventions are you willing to support?

Are you open to supporting completely youth-led organisations like mine (Youth For Climate India) where fundraising is led by a 21 y/o? Especially considering that along with financial aid, some bit of technical advice is also what groups like ours need.

Third, are there any plans on supporting non-Phd level research on say domains of urban transport, climate education, women’s role in ecological restoration etc?

Hope these are relevant questions and not too many.

How to gauge the likelihood of a project being supported by Rainmatter Foundation?

Hi Nagaraju, adding my inputs before @sameershisodia shares his opinions -

  1. If you are working broadly on one of the focus areas listed in the website and are thinking of scaleable and replicable models for interventions for climate related issues, that is a great place to start

  2. Would also like to add that we are mostly agnostic with any specific sectors in climate. So if you are working on anything long term (3-5 years) and have drawn up a plan, you can share it with us at [email protected], our team will review the ideas and get back to you with feedback and comments.

Hope this helps understand the support decision steps.

1 Like

Hi Srijani,

We are absolutely happy to support all teams working in the climate space as long as there is alignment in focus areas as I noted down for Nagaraju in the response above.

You can share a detailed note with us at [email protected] and we’ll get back with any questions or feedback and confirm how we can be of help.

Hi Srijani!
Thanks for the pertinent questions.
So far, the Foundation has had multiple paths to engage with young and not-so-young groups - through civic capacity building organisations such as Reap Benefit (do meet @KD_SolveNinja1), for inter-generational knowledge transfer and exploring livelihoods with the Solega tribal community via @Punarchith, and more recently to embed climate and intersectionality with a coalition of youth groups called Vartaleap Coalition. Much of the restoration/conservation engagement indirectly involves the youth by design via organisations such as NCF & ERA, ATREE, CWS, SayTrees, etc.

@rishabh.lalani and I have been in touch with you and Vijay, and are exploring ways to support the valuable work that Youth for Climate India is doing.

At this juncture, the Foundation is unable to meaningfully commit support for structured academic programs. We do try to explore and co-evolve fellowships with individuals though.

Inviting @sameershisodia and @rishabh.lalani to add their thoughts as well.

1 Like

Hi @sameershisodia, I appreciate your outreach on the public forum. Rainmatter’s organizational grants for non-profits are commendable. I have a question: Are these grants available only for new non-profits or can mature non-profits launching new areas also apply?

At Villgro, after a successful three-year pilot, we are launching our gender inclusion vertical. Our strategy focuses on supporting women-led climate enterprises and creating livelihood opportunities for rural women by building synergies with livelihood-generating climate enterprises. This aligns well with Rainmatter’s focus on localised production and consumption. While Villgro’s 20 years of incubation experience plays to our benefit, we do require the support of donors such as Rainmatter to enhance our organisational capacities and build relationships in this new area.

1 Like

Thanks. At the outset - we would want to like this thread not to become primarily around funding related Q&A but largely around the thesis, our partnerships, gaps in these and where collaborations/more attention might help with the overall chase of making a large dent in the climate problem.

That said, to your question - we fund irrespective of size and age of the org - the only bias is around the ambition and audaciousness of the approach, the willingness and ability to introspect, learn, pivot and partner, and chase end goals more than supply side metrics which often lead to “success” without truly moving needles. Climate is an urgent problem and we’re trying to think of the net effect of the work across the network together, not piecemeal, and in a mainstream way.

The other one we’re starting to look out for rather hard is the intervention problem. Of course, we understand that oftentimes these are journeys that, if individuals and orgs are willing to take them, we’re happy to support.

Villgro has done really great work in livelihoods, and I think we’re engaged with the team, btw. Of course, let’s take that offline :slight_smile:

@sameershisodia Absolutely resonate with this thought. Lately, it’s good to see climate change being tackled in forces - companies moving beyond just solving one value chain problem but looking towards overall empowerment and capacity building of rural communities to tackle climate change (for example one might offer a farmer a subsidised solar dryer to make premium dry products, but if he/she can’t access the market to sell it, the product gives no value to him/her)
In fact, in the last few years, we have expanded our scope beyond just being an incubator to a value chain enabler in sorts after seeing ground realities and talking to communities, understanding their needs.
Also, I connected with my team and am glad to know that we’ve talked before. We would love to connect with you again - now that we have our questions set that we wish to answer in the coming years to create the impact we envision. I’ll drop in a mail to you. Looking forward to it!


Hi Pragati,

We are in talks with Anant from Villgro, Please feel free to connect offline to take those discussions forward

1 Like

Hi Sameer, We at GormalOne, are leveraging our tech platform “NITARA” to transform the dairy ecosystem primarily focused on cattle, small farmers, vets, dairies, banks etc. Keen to explore a collaborative alliance with your foundation as well as foundation supported start ups to aggressively transform livelihoods of 10 crore people including farmers associated with dairying. Manish Jain

@sameershisodia - would love to know more about Rainmatter’s thesis on veganism as a climate solution, specifically in the Indian context, given dairy is such an important part of our culture, diet and farmer livelihoods? Is this something you have been thinking about given the shocking statistics globally on animal agriculture’s / fisheries impact on deforestation, land use, water pollution, antibiotic and chemical use, etc, etc?

Not sure we have a take on this as a Foundation. Personally, I live in the greys of life and this is there too - large factory farms like in the west are surely a huge issue. Smallholder livestock, especially native, with natural feed and part of a strong carbon cycle, less so. Also, it’s a logical choice in certain landscapes (veganism in the steppes or vast grasslands would be tough).

At the Foundation, we’re aligned with a few principles that might inform this, of course. Local context and whatever is sensible with that in mind, and an overall bias towards answers coming from biology than from mining-derivative processes that need higher energy. Also, accounting for total lifecycle costs including landscape management, soil quality and sequestration and the water security etc that spring from it.

Applying these, if livestock in grasslands helps manage grasslands better, provides food, reduces migration, and overall transport and processing/packaging and storage linked footprint, it could likely make more sense. But these are complex calculations and there’s no clear black/white answer.

1 Like