NGO Insights: The DEAN Foundation

Dated : 11 Nov 2013
  1. Sector and Positioning:

The ‘Tibetian Book of Living and Dying’ by Sogyal Rinpoche was the inspiration that provided a structure to the cherished dream of the founder and led to the establishment of DEAN Foundation, an acronym for ‘To Dignify and Empower the Ailing and the Needy’. The Foundation was born out of a deep desire to provide compassionate love and care for the patients affected with chronic and terminal diseases and to make dying a transformative and peaceful experience.

DEAN Foundation offers free Palliative care (area of healthcare that focuses on relieving and preventing suffering of patients) on an outpatient and home care basis, provide therapies to those suffering from life threatening diseases to ease their pain, counsel patients to prepare them to deal with death in a positive way and counsel relatives to help them overcome the fear of separation. It also maintains a database on allied health services in the city through referrals and networking.  

Deepa Muthaiya, founder and trustee, was the first Indian to receive the Children’s Hospice International Elisabeth Kubler Award for Outstanding Contribution in 2003 in the field of Pediatric Hospice and Palliative care.

  1. Financial Parameters:
  • Total income in FY12 was Rs7.3mn, with substantial contribution from Government to the tune Rs30mn comprising of 73% of total income (sector average: 21%). ONGC is their only contributor in Government sector.
  • Individual donations contribute to about 20% of total income in FY12 (sector average: 43%). DEAN Foundation receives funds from corporates as well. However, as the amount of corporate donations cannot be quantified separately, all donations have been considered as Individual donations.
  • Donations from Idhayangal Foundation, UK have led to a sharp increase in foreign donations from Rs92,000 in FY10 to Rs0.4mn in FY11 and FY12. However this still contributes only 5% of total income.
  • Sales and Sponsorship income comprises of proceeds from sale of scrap.
  • Expenses in FY12 totaled to Rs7.4mn with 47% pertaining to direct program expenses. Though the direct program expenses do not constitute major proportion of the total expenses, they are in line with the sector average of 51%. Indirect expenses accounting for the balance are in the nature of travel expenses, depreciation and other overhead expenses such as rent, electricity charges, interest and fuel charges to name a few.
  • Staff cost related to programmes has increased from Rs0.90mn in FY10 to Rs2.35mn in FY12. This can be attributed to cost incurred for retaining the existing staff.
  • Professional fees have decreased from Rs20,000 in FY10 to Rs330 in FY12. Fees for FY12 have not been accounted for during the year and would be paid in FY13.
  • Cash and Bank has increased by about 7x from 0.2mn in FY11 to 1.3mn in FY12. This is on account of the donations received for the purchase of vehicle deposited in bank.


  1. Sustainability Parameters:
  • DEAN Foundation has a dedicated staff of 42 including two full time doctors, one part time doctor, four nurses, two administrative officers, three drivers and other essential staff.
  • DEAN Foundation treated 1,277 patients in FY12 including 1,005 cancer patients and 272 patients suffering from other illness.
  • There is negative income growth of 3.4% in FY12 as compared to the growth of 52% in FY11. This can be attributed to donations received in kind being written off in FY12.
  • The self-sufficiency ratio is at 0.2x (ratio measures how much of expenses can be met from own income – individual donations/corpus income/fee income) as major source of income is from Government sources.
  • The repayment capacity ratio is 1x. This Indicates ratio of own funds to total borrowings. Own funds include corpus funds and accumulated funds and excludes unrestricted funds. All of DEAN Foundation’s borrowed funds are from its own members (Rs3mn) and account for 40% of total funds in FY12.
  1. Major Challenges:
  • Non availability of Medical professionals due to non lucrative nature of work.
  • High attrition of already trained medical and non-medical staff.
  • Lack of funds for an inpatient hospitality centre.
  • Reluctance of owners to let out premises on rent for such ailing patients.
  • Late referrals making it difficult to enhance the quality of life left.
  • Non acceptance of the concept of professional care for terminally ill, aiming at quality end of life days, by a large majority of Indians. 
  1. Governance & Reporting Standards:

The Governing Board of DEAN Foundation comprises a three member team of Ms Deepa Muthaiya, Dr. Ravi Sundar George, MVSc., Ph.D., Professor - T.N. Veterinary & Animal Sciences University and Mr. P.S. Govind Rao, G.D.Arch., A.I.I.A., F.I.I.A, Architect. These members oversee the activities of the Foundation. In addition to this, DEAN Foundation has constituted a Technical Advisory Committee comprising of eminent specialists from different medical, paramedical and professional streams of work. Technical inputs for the progress of Palliative care and DEAN Foundation are provided by the committee as and when required.

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