Arpan logo  
   
 
  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does Arpan mean?
There is no literal meaning of Arpan in English. The closest translations are "To offer" or "To Surrender".
 
What is Arpan's mission?
Our mission is to be instrumental in transforming the lives of the underprivileged and the neglected of society and allow them to live a life of dignity.
  What is Arpan focused on?
  Arpan is focused on transforming the lives of the underserved. It aids institutions that are working at the grass roots level and serving the neglected members of society. Whether we are working with a neglected child or a physically and mentally challenged person, we treat them as our own, like parents would treat their child. Our help does not stop at just providing food, clothing, shelter or education. We want to give them everything and more. We want to be their guardians and address all of their needs just as we do for our own children. Moreover, we want to give them the required tools to live a life of dignity.

Arpan acts as a bridge between outstanding non-profit organizations and people who share our mission. There are many people in the United States who are willing to support exceptional humanitarian efforts, but do not have the time to visit, assess, and monitor such institutions. Arpan fills this gap. We, along with our associates, Caring Friends, identify, visit, and evaluate these organizations. This has helped us greatly as people have come forward with their contributions to support such institutions. The only criteria for support is the excellence of work and factors like caste, creed, religion, region, language or gender are of no consequence.

  Who are the people behind the institutions which Arpan supports?
  The people behind these institutions are no ordinary people. Some of them are graduates of eminent Indian universities like the IIT and IIM, Doctors, PhD's etc. One key organization - Maharogi Seva Samiti - has three generations of the Amte family dedicating their lives to the cause.
 
  What is the experience and background of the people behind Arpan?
  The people behind Arpan are CPA's, Doctors, professionals and entrepreneurs. The founders have a total of more than 40 years of social service experience.
 
  How does Arpan select a cause or an institution?
  We are proactive in the sense that we do not wait for any institutions to approach us. As we come to know about an outstanding cause, (from Newspapers, magazines, internet, TV or by reference), our engagement process with the associated NGOs is marked by the following characteristics:
  1. Proactive Reaching :
  2. More often than not, it is we (Arpan along with Caring Friends) who contacts the institution than vice-versa. For this reason Arpan does not restrict itself to examining only the proposals received (as is the case with grant making agencies in general). But reaches out on its own where it feels the work deserves support (based on its quality parameters) as well as it needs support (that no other source of adequate funding is available to them).

  3. Preliminary Study, Visit, and Post-Visit Detailed Study and Deliberation
  4. After the contact with the institution is established we call for its basic documents, and if satisfied, set up a visit to the institution by an experienced Caring Friends member. The visit report is then deliberated upon and based on a host of parameters. We decide whether to extend support to the NGO, and if yes, then to what extent and for what time-frame.

  5. Initial Grants and the 'Probationary Period'
  6. If the Core Team decides that support ought to be extended, then some members of the core-team (who are long-engaged with Arpan and/or Caring Friends) make substantial donations / grants to the institution in question. Very often for the first few months, or even a year or two, it is not included in the General Campaigning Program (wherein the campaign for fund-raising is done among a wider circle of potential donors). If and only if the Core Team is satisfied with the performance of the institution in course of the Probationary Period, the institution is included in the General Campaigning Program. The Core Team feels itself to be duty-bound to ensure that the only institutions it recommends to other potential donors have been thoroughly tested for a certain length of time through financial and time-effort involvement of only its core members, and that these institutions are never found wanting on any parameter. This is a fundamental 'Article of Faith' with Arpan and Caring Friends which greatly convinces the potential donors.

  7. Changed role post 'institution maturity'- the beneficiary becomes benefactor
  8. Institutions which have been engaged with us for long, and have been able to build up its own broad resource-pool due to increased visibility, assume a more evolved role in the Arpan/Caring Friends Family. While we may continue to support them financially (these institutions then generally see us as the donor of the last resort) and stands firmly behind them, these institutions take up a mentorial role in guiding other institutions by way of competencies, contacts, strategic and management guidance etc. They also help in expanding of the donors' network of Arpan and Caring Friends by introducing some of their own donors to us and in the due-diligence of new and probationary institutions.

  Is any Arpan member connected with the institutions it supports?
  No. Let us also mention that no one from our group recovers any 'out of pocket expenses' that we incur in course of volunteering for Arpan from any of these institutions. Each Arpan volunteer covers these expenses personally. This is a key article of faith in us, inviolable under any circumstances. Besides,
  1. Most of us have not been interested to have our names mentioned in nameplates, newspapers or any other medium.
  2. None of us accepts any office like that of a Trustee or any other office of profit in any of the institutions.
  3. Some of us have to accompany our donors, who want to visit these institutions, but for all such visits we bear our own travel expenses.
  How does Arpan make sure that the funds are correctly utilized?
  Arpan is an extension of an informal but highly effective group of philanthropists in India called "Caring Friends" (www.caringfriends.in) formally called "Mumbai Group of Friends". The Caring Friends consist of over 250 successful businesspeople and well-placed professionals. The governors of this group are Mr. Ramesh Kacholia (76), a retired successful businessman, but now full time philanthropist, and Mr. Nimesh Sumati Shah (49), a young, dynamic investment consultant, along with some other members who form the Core Group. This core group maintains day to day contact with these institutions and is aware of each of their needs and expenses. The Core Group personally scrutinizes the financial statements from all of our institutions every quarter, and performs the necessary due-diligence of periodic visits. They ensure that all the money collected is used for the purpose it was collected and there is no misappropriation or inefficiency anywhere. Arpan thanks Mr. Ramesh Kacholia and Mr. Nimesh Shah for making us a part of their group and for their outstanding humanitarian services.

Like Caring Friends, all the funds from Arpan Foundation go directly to the institutions. All the volunteers and Core Body members of Caring Friends too follow the same principles of bearing all expenses involved in the process of volunteering and engaging with the NGOs in their personal capacity.

  Why Arpan?
  As mentioned earlier, the people behind these institutions are no ordinary people. If making money was their only aim, many of them could have had riches pursuing their careers. But they chose a different path to use their skills and knowledge to serve the impoverished brethren of humanity. We at Arpan feel, that we can make a very valuable contribution if we help many of these organizations and the people running and serving them if we help in mobilizing resources, skills, and connecting many more people with their work, all of which shall definitely help them expand their work and transform lives of an increasing number of people.

Secondly, unlike many other fund-raising agencies 100% of your contributions go to the cause you choose. All overhead expenses will be borne by the core group of Arpan.

Thirdly, we work with several cause. You can select the cause which is most dear to your heart, from education, vocational training rehabilitation of vulnerable children of women in prostitution, Leprosy patients, physically and mentally challenged,destitute children to senior citizens.

Lastly, Arpan and Caring Friends members not only give their personal wealth but they give their time and their experience, which brings in more value. They share their experience when they make their visit to various institutions, and are continuously in touch with the Caring Friends Core Group as well founders / leaders of various associated NGOs. This helps our associated NGOs to deliver better quality and helps them grow.

  Is Arpan helping only in India?
  At present, yes. Arpan has a very good network in India. To follow up with the institutions it is supporting, we work closely with Caring Friends. Since the founders have been raised in India, it is easier to understand the dynamics of grassroots organizations and issues involved in their home country. That said, Arpan is always looking for similar kind of associations in other countries. Until we are 100% sure ourselves , we will not present new institutions to our supporters.
 
  Is donation to Arpan tax deductible?
  Yes. Arpan is a registered charitable organization under IRS section 501(C)3. Federal Tax ID# 20-5593243. All donations to Arpan are tax deductible in the USA.
 
  Is there a way I can visit these institutions?
  Absolutely. In fact, we highly recommend and encourage visiting these institutions before you contribute. If you tell us in advance about your visit and your interest in any particular institution, we can make the necessary arrangements. You can also visit these institutions without informing us. Most of the institutions' contact details are provided on our website or linked to the institution's website. We would be happy to hear about your experience and learn from your feedback.
 
  Why should I visit these institutions?
  We encourage each and everyone associated with Arpan to visit the institutions with their families. This is for three reasons: one to satisfy yourself that the hard earned money you are giving is going to the right cause and the right people. The second reason and most important to us is that after seeing true misery, one realizes how fortunate he is and thanks God for giving us such a beautiful life. You can only appreciate what you have when you see less fortunate brethren. Let our kids know from now, that they are so fortunate to be born in a family like ours, where they don't have such worries. As Swami Vivekananda had said, "Be grateful to the man you help, think of him as God. Is it not a great privilege to be allowed to worship God by helping our fellowmen?" Thirdly, our experience shows that a visit helps in understanding the work of the supported NGO in a much better way, and you can then provide valuable input to the leadership and management of these organizations and can become one of their campaigners in the USA.
 
  How much of the money donated to Arpan will go to the institutions?
  100%. All administrative overheads are borne personally by the core group of Arpan.
 
  How does Arpan manage to have zero overhead burden?
  Arpan's management has decided to personally bear the total administrative cost. During the year or at the end of the financial year, the founders of Arpan make their personal donation which takes care of the expenses incurred during the year. So 100% of your contribution will go to the cause. To keep our costs down, Arpan has decided to send the amount to the various institutions in installments of $2500 and above. For example if you donate $100 for any one cause, the same money will not be transferred immediately. We will wait till we have collected $2500 for that particular institution and then send the amount.

In addition, the founders have donated about $50,000 themselves, which is invested in CD's and bonds. Income generated from this amount will take care of the expenses and any surplus amount will be donated or re-invested depending on the needs and the circumstances.

  How can we trust Arpan has given 100% of the donated amount to the institutions?
  Arpan can prove to its donors in two ways. One is by providing acknowledgement from the institutions directly. It is our practice to send the name of the donors and their respective contributions to the institution when we do the wire transfer. Secondly by providing our bank statement showing the amount debited and the name of the institution. Our website provides all the information of the institutions. You can also verify by directly communicating with them. We are sure that once the trust is developed either on us or the institution we are supporting, you will not have any doubt in the future.
 
  Is Arpan's work transparent?
  We try to provide all the information needed to satisfy our supporters. The details of the institutions are listed on our website. We encourage you to make surprise visits to the institutions or send your relatives and friends to visit these institutions. We can provide the financial details of the institution you wish to support, and provide you the contact details of Caring Friends. But here we would like to caution you. If at all you meet Mr. Ramesh Kacholia or Mr. Nimesh Shah, we guarantee you that you will exceed your budget of "giving".
 
  Can I help a particular cause?
  Certainly. You earmark the donation for that particular cause and we will make sure that the money has gone to that particular cause and will inform you accordingly.
 
  How can I help Arpan?
  By donating money, giving time and most importantly spreading the word and convincing people about Arpan and its activities.
 
  How can Arpan update us with its activities and the recent developments?
  Sign up on our website for our newsletter. Here we admit we are not perfect. We definitely need help in this area. We are always looking for volunteers who have good writing skills.
 
  How do we send money to Arpan?
  You can send by two ways, by writing a check or going to our website and donating through Pay Pal at Donate.

Checks should be written in the name of "Arpan Foundation" and mailed to:
Arpan Foundation,
556 N. Diamond Bar Blvd, Ste. 201-B,
Diamond Bar, CA 91765

  Does Arpan accept any donation in kind?
  No. We are not ready to accept donations of in kind. We do get some requests for clothes and such but we want to make our foundation strong first. Our prime aim is to guarantee a fixed sum every year for these institutions. We want the institutions to be focused on what they are doing without worrying for finance. If they are focused, then we can expect better results and will get satisfaction that our money is well utilized. But in the future we may accept other forms of donation.