Philanthropy, Education, CSR, Poverty Alleviation
Asia, Global, India, Philippines, Singapore

Who’s Doing Good?

11 February 2019 - 17 February 2019


Asia’s second wave of philanthropists favoring hands-on approaches to philanthropy. Second- and third-generation philanthropists from wealthy families in North Asia are transforming the philanthropy landscape as they pursue different practices than those of their parents. The findings are part of a report published by Stanford Social Innovation Review. The report adds that these philanthropists not only prefer managerial models of governance but also demonstrate greater interest in social enterprise and social value investment models. Kyung Sun Chung in Korea, Daisuke Kan in Japan, and Allen Liang in China are leading examples of philanthropists working to build strong ecosystems for social entrepreneurship and social innovation in their countries.

Donation from Mitsubishi Motors’ STEP Fund helps build new school building in the Philippines. Voluntary donations from employees at Mitsubishi Motors to the company’s STEP Fund, matched with an equivalent contribution by the company, amounted to a ¥3 million (approximately US$27,000) donation to build a classroom building at Camayse Elementary School in the Philippines. As the company builds its presence across the ASEAN region, it has committed to stronger CSR efforts in the local communities where it operates. The project was conducted by the World Vision Development Foundation in the Philippines, and construction of the new classroom building was completed in January 2019.


Bill and Melinda Gates publish annual letter highlighting surprises in philanthropy in 2018. In their 2019 letter, titled, “We didn’t see this coming,” the couple highlights nine surprises they encountered through their foundation’s philanthropic work. These range from gender gaps in global data and mobile phone ownership to the potential of at-home DNA tests. The couple underscores the important role such surprises have played in their philanthropic journey, stating, “A benefit of surprises is that they’re often a prod to action.” While these new discoveries have stirred curiosity and concern at the Gates Foundation, the couple concludes their letter with optimism and confidence in the power of innovation to address extant and emerging issues.

Oxford study recommends crowdfunding for financing UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Crowdfunding has grown significantly in the Asia-Pacific region in the last few years – it helped raise US$103 billion in the region in 2016. However, a new study by the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School highlights that only US$165 million of these funds were donations, which pales in comparison to the U.S. which despite raising only US$35 billion, received nearly twice as much in donations (US$339 million). According to UN estimates, achieving the 17 highly ambitious Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 will cost around US$5 trillion to US$7 trillion a year, about US$4 trillion of which is required in developing countries. The report also highlights the potential of SDG-related crowdfunding platforms to encourage social entrepreneurs with opportunities for match-funding by corporations, foundations, and governments.


Women Who Code partners with VMware to retrain 15,000 women for tech jobs in India. VMinclusion Taara is a joint initiative of Women Who Code (WWCode), an international nonprofit that inspires women to succeed in the tech industry, and VMware, a computer software subsidiary of Dell Technologies. The VMinclusion Taara initiative was formed to train and upskill 15,000 women in India who have left the tech industry. According to estimates, 45% of women working in tech normally quit the industry after 8 years. This program, which creates a path of re-entry for women through free training and certification on advance digital transformation solutions, will be WWCode’s biggest reskilling and back-to-work initiative.


KKR’s global impact fund co-invests with KKR Asia’s Fund in Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited. Investment firm KKR has acquired a 60% stake in Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited (REEL), a leading provider of environmental services in India and overseas, for approximately US$510 million. The investment is a part of KKR’s Global Impact strategy, which focuses on identifying and investing in businesses with positive social and environmental impact that contribute to the SDGs. KKR’s Global Impact strategy will build upon the firm’s expertise in environmental issue management and REEL’s experience in environmental management to innovate and provide critical solutions to reduce pollution and improve sanitation infrastructure worldwide.


Singapore’s vibrant social innovation ecosystem rooted in strong public-private-people collaborations. Singapore’s government recognizes that cross-sector partnerships are needed for an ecosystem that supports innovation and social impact. Its efforts to boost the sector’s growth have been buttressed by intermediary organizations that are improving cross-sector coordination and Singapore-based private investment networks that are connecting social businesses with global partners and investors. Universities in Singapore are also contributing to new curricula and experiential learning programs that promote social business values and social entrepreneurship. This commitment from Singapore’s government, businesses, and universities to social responsibility is transforming business culture and positioning the country to be a leading force in social innovation.


A partnership between Standard Chartered Bank and volunteer organization, RSVP Singapore, to create more volunteer opportunities for seniors. In Singapore’s aging population, silver volunteerism has been gaining attention as the number of Singaporeans aged 65 is expected to double by 2030. The three-year partnership seeks to tap into this growing pool of seniors with a wealth of skills and experience through initiatives such as an inter-generational volunteering program. The collaboration will also train senior volunteers to help conduct health tasks and mindfulness practices as part of a nationwide expansion of a pre-dementia program. As other countries in the region face aging societies, innovative engagement and intergenerational programs can integrate the growing population of skilled and experienced seniors in efforts to create social impact and serve local communities.