Q1. How many employees does OSAAT have?
OSAAT is not a facility-based organization, and as such does not have any employees. It is run entirely by a core committee of volunteers who meet, plan and execute all functions necessary. Other volunteers support the organization during events and various phases of a project, be it a site-visit to check the progress of a project or a meeting with the chosen school.
Q2. Is OSAAT trademarked and registered as non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation?
In the USA, OSAAT is a registered non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation, tax Id: 20 2043649.
OSAAT Educational Charitable Trust (herein after referred to as OSAAT (India), was incorporated in 2012 with the sole objective of working with OSAAT (USA) for the smooth execution of school building construction/renovation projects being funded by the latter. OSAAT (India) was granted charitable status (80G) in 2015.
Q3. How many volunteers do you have in OSAAT(India) and what do they do?
We have many dedicated volunteers in India and the number keeps increasing. They play an active role in being our eyes and ears before, during and after a school is chosen. They meet with the school’s board and/or staff, check the physical and financial conditions of the school, verify that the information provided by the school to us in the Request for Proposal (RFP) is accurate, develop partnerships with other charitable organizations in India, and also monitor the progress of the reconstruction from start to finish.
Q4. Does OSAAT collaborate with other organizations (educational or cultural) and NGOs (eg: Rotary Club)?
Most certainly. We believe that all individuals and organizations with a passion to make a difference are great partners. Their skills and strengths compliment ours and help in our mission. As an example, from to time we leverage the volunteer base of other organizations, and vice versa. Networking with NGOs like Rotary Club allows us to execute our projects much more efficiently without interference from local city or state governments.
Q5. Why is OSAAT doing this?
OSAAT’s work needs to be understood in terms of the fundamental issue of education of underprivileged kids in rural India. Most rural schools are in a state of utter disrepair, having been built many years ago. The “school” typically is an old, decaying structure with crumbling walls, collapsed roof, dangerous and hazardous to the health of the kids. Lacking even the most basic amenities such as clean drinking water and toilets, the school cannot provide an environment for the kids to learn and thrive. The poverty-stricken parents and the local community are both helpless, and the kids are vulnerable to be pulled out of school and exploited as child laborers. Lack of toilets for girls is especially terrifying to parents, and a key reason to stop sending them to school.
India is the largest democracy on earth with over 1 billion people. A significant percentage of this population is rural, spread across many states, many languages and many socio-economic, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The needs of the poorest of the poor are many, and varied – education, employment, housing, and healthcare, to name a few. No single organization is large enough or diverse enough to serve them all. Children’s education is so important that they need a helping hand to stop the vicious cycle of poverty and illiteracy. Their needs can only be served with many helping hands and by employing many creative solutions. OSAAT is proud to be one such helping hand and one such creative solution.
Q6. Are there other non-profits doing the same thing? If not, why not?
Infrastructure rebuilding is capital intensive and manpower intensive. As a result, most charitable organizations hesitate to take on the task of rebuilding schools. OSAAT’s organization structure and method of operation are quite distinct. By putting rigorous processes in place, OSAAT keeps its administrative costs down to an absolute minimum while maximizing volunteers’ time and talent.
Q7. Why OSAAT? Aren’t there other non-profits doing the same thing?
It is very simple. India is the largest democracy on earth with over 1 billion people. A significant percentage of this population is rural, spread across many states, many languages and many socio-economic, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The needs of schools serving this population are varied and no single organization is large enough or diverse enough to serve them all. Their needs can only be served with many helping hands and by employing many creative solutions. OSAAT is one such helping hand and one such creative solution. While OSAAT’s mission and goals may be common with other organizations doing similar work, OSAAT’s organization structure and method of operation are quite distinct.
Q8. Can you explain the key functions and procedures OSAAT has in place?
The following is a list of key functions and procedures followed. While all of them are followed with due diligence, the order in which they are carried out depends. Most tasks are run in parallel where necessary for efficiency.
OSAAT (India) – Key Roles and Responsibilities:
OSAAT (USA) – Key Roles and Responsibilities:
OSAAT (USA) compliments OSAAT (India)’s efforts by playing a critical role in several aspects that are related to the organization as well as projects. The following is a list of key functions and procedures followed. While all of them are followed with due diligence, the order in which they are carried out depends. Most tasks are run in parallel where necessary for efficiency.
Q9. Does OSAAT only help schools in Karnataka?
OSAAT is a young organization and was started in 2003 by a few like-minded philanthropists originally from Karnataka, living in the San Francisco Bay area. What started as a private effort on their part to help some of the needy schools in rural Karnataka resulted in many more people getting interested, and ultimately in the formation of OSAAT. There are no restrictions as to the physical location of schools.
Q10. How do I know that my donation will go towards a deserving school?
OSAAT has designed a very extensive Request for Proposals (RFP) process. Anyone can nominate a school and any school can submit an RFP. Depending upon the information provided to us in the RFP, we will initiate a fact-finding mission and verify all the facts. There are a number of other factors we investigate as well, such as how many kids are being served by the school, what, if any, is the impact if the school cannot be helped, how motivated the school staff is, what kind of support is available from different sources to sustain the school, etc. We ensure that the school has no political or religious affiliations that conflict with OSAAT’s mission and objectives. The same applies to any partner organization we choose to work with. In addition, no one in the partner organization can have any vested interest, be it for financial gain or fame and publicity. We are very focussed on the needs of the school and the kids served by the school. You can rest assured that the school we choose is very well deserving of your support. We post the financial details of every project on our website so that our patrons and supporters can see exactly where their donations are going. One key factor that is worth your attention is that there is absolutely minimal OSAAT administrative cost, to cover fundraising and marketing expenses, thanks to dedicated, talented volunteers.
Q1. How do I donate money to OSAAT?
You can donate by sending a check payable to the address listed in donation page. Fundraising is a constant, continuous effort to help needy schools. You can donate to OSAAT anytime, any amount. Whether you are a private individual or a corporation or a group of friends, you have several options as follows:
Q2. Can I get tax exemption for my donation?
Yes. In the USA, OSAAT is a registered non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation, tax Id: 20 2043649. You can claim tax exemption in accordance with the applicable IRS guidelines. Donors contributing $500 or more will receive an official thank you letter from us. In India, please contact email@example.com for details.
Q3. Can I donate money in installments through my bank account or credit card?
At the moment, we do not support such automatic withdrawals from bank accounts or credit cards. We will have that capability in the near future, and will incorporate it on our website.
Q4. Do you accept any other in-kind contributions such as cars, books or furniture?
At the moment, we accept monetary contributions only, in the form of cash or check payable to OSAAT.
Q5. Can I donate in-kind gifts directly to a school you have chosen?
With Bajegoli primary school, our maiden project, we witnessed a generous outpouring of support from the local community. Donations such as lumber and other building materials were very welcome and put to good use. Depending upon the needs of schools, other practical donations such as benches, tables, chalkboards, pots and pans, water storage tanks, etc., would also be welcome. Since there is no physical facility in the USA or India for us to collect and process in-kind donations, they may be accepted at the actual project site as needed and as deemed necessary and practical. Please contact us if you would like to make such donations.
Q6. Do you have any tips for taxpayers making charitable contributions for OSAAT?
Q1. I do not live in the San Francisco Bay area but would like to get involved. How can I help?
All you need to get involved is interest, enthusiasm and willingness. You can help us in any of the following ways:
Q2. Can kids help in any way?
Kids can help us in many ways! OSAAT’s “Yuva Shakti” (YUVA = Youth Uncovering Values through Action) team was founded in 2013 by a bunch of enthusiastic, highly motivated kids ranging in age from 8-16. The following are examples of what they do:
We appreciate the values these kids are discovering – empathy for their counterparts in India, caring and sharing – along with the joy of friendship and teamwork with their fellow team members.
Q3. I can help you from time to time. I am not sure what skills I need to have. How can I help?
When it comes to skills, whether it is graphic design or accounting or public relations, people of all skill levels and from all walks of life can help us. Just let us know a bit about yourself by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we would love to work with you.
Q1. What are OSAAT’s criteria for selecting a school?
Q2. What are some of the guidelines used by OSAAT to manage a school project?