Keystone Foundation, India

Founded in 1993, the Keystone Foundation works at the intersection of environment and development economics amongst indigenous communities in the hill areas of the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve in Tamil Nadu, India. In 2018, Keystone embarked on an exploration process with its local area centre partners to explore the feasibility of some of them transitioning into individual community funds or foundations. This involved a series of discussions and consultations with partners which examined the potential for mobilizing different kinds of assets and resources at the community level and on Keystone’s evolving role from grantmaker to a knowledge centre, facilitator and hub for a devolved network of community-based foundations.

So far, interest in exploring the potential for a local level community foundation has emerged in three different communities: one is a youth-led group that focuses on music and musical traditions as a strategy for strengthening community identity and pride, another is based around land rights (including access to ancestral lands) and the third, in Nilambur, was prompted following the community’s response to severe floods and the need for a joined up community response to protect, preserve the local environment, as well as to be able to act quickly in the event of any future natural disasters.

The GFCF has provided U.S. $40,000 in grant funding to the Keystone Foundation (in 2018 & 2019). Keystone Foundation is also a member of an action learning group of GFCF partners focused on measurement in community philanthropy.



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