Forty years of PFI
Born as Family Planning Foundation (FPF) on October 12, 1970, the Population Foundation of India (PFI) was the brainchild of the late JRD Tata and Dr Bharat Ram. The idea emerged from their experience of supporting social development initiatives around their factory sites. They found the large family size of factory workers often negated their social and economic growth and from here the need of paying serious attention to the idea of family planning emerged. To address their concern, they garnered the support of a group of enlightened, socially committed and philanthropically inclined industrialists and founded the FPF.
The foundation aimed to assist “all non-official efforts in the country willing and anxious to play their part, however small, in the great national task of controlling the growth of our population and helping millions of our people to plan the size of their families”. The passion with which the foundation was born is reflected in its very first annual report where the members express the hope that “all those able and willing to support worthy causes will realize that for many years to come none will be more important to future progress and perhaps even the survival of the nation than the control of growth of its population”.
Refrained from government grants
In its first year, the foundation focused on mobilizing grants and resources for supporting research in the area of family planning as well as rendering financial assistance to such family planning programmes being undertaken by other organizations. It raised Rs 30 lakh as funds from 147 business and industrial houses, with donations ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 3 lakhs. It also received support from an international agency, the Ford Foundation, which contributed monetarily to the enterprise with $ 200,000 ie Rs 14.4 lakhs and also provided support by way of two bungalows to house the Executive Director’s residence and the FPF office. The members however, refrained from seeking government grants to allow for greater operational flexibility and to pursue an innovative role.