Responding to Covid-19: Who’s Doing Good?

12 May 2020 - 24 May 2020

THE GIVERS
Individuals continue to donate cash, services, and supplies to Covid-19 relief efforts.

Donations to the Cambodian government’s efforts to fight Covid-19 pour in. An estimated US$23 million in donations have come in from local donors and civil servants—64,000 of whom pledged to donate portions of their salaries to help fight Covid-19. Another US$40 million has come in from international partners.

Popular TV talent Shinobu Sakagami and Japanese rock star Toshiki of X Japan are going public with their donations to Covid-19 relief efforts in hope that it will nudge others toward charity. Both stars upped their charitable giving during the crisis—Sakagami pledged to donate his entire salary for the duration of Japan’s state of emergency and Yoshiki donated ¥10 million (nearly US$95,000) to Japan’s National Center for Global Health and Medicine. They aim to fight the stigma around publicizing one’s charity and hope to tap into what Sakagami calls a “hidden reservoir of generosity” in Japan. CAPS’ upcoming Doing Good Index 2020 shows that 88% of surveyed social delivery organizations in Japan believe that individual giving remains low in their economy.

THE THINKERS

Fixing the trust deficit in our sector. Rachita Vora, co-founder and director of India Development Review (IDR), writes about how Covid-19 has irradiated the value of the nonprofit sector, offering a unique opportunity for the sector to rebrand itself. In this article, Vora outlines how the sector can “tell a different story about the work nonprofits do, why it matters, and why the sector must be a crucial part of any effort at strengthening our influence in society.”

THE NONPROFITS
Charities continue to serve communities affected by Covid-19, even as they deal with economic hardship and disrupted operations.

BRAC has allocated BDT 30 million (approximately US$355,000) for low-income families in Bangladesh who were impacted by Cyclone Amphan. Funds will focus on repairing households and water sanitation and hygiene facilities damaged to ensure people living in these areas can continue hygiene practices during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. BRAC is also providing cash assistance to 100,000 families affected by Covid-19 in Bangladesh.

ChildFund Korea is donating US$77,000 to a ChildFund Cambodia project that will help educate more than 275,000 children and their families across 334 villages in Cambodia. The project will help commune councils strengthen their relief plans as well as provide educational materials across national television and social media. Videos produced by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, UNICEF, and Save the Children will be part of the campaign focusing on disease prevention amidst Covid-19, learning from home, and mental and physical well-being, among other topics. Khmer Times interviewed other NGOs in Cambodia to highlight the impact of Covid-19 on nonprofits and how they are soldiering on.

THE BUSINESSES
Companies continue to donate cash and needed supplies to communities affected by Covid-19. For organizations dependent on CSR funding, the pouring of such funds into Covid-19 relief efforts is leaving them uncertain about their future projects. 

In Bangladesh, mobile finance service provider Bkash is the latest company to add a ‘Donation’ button to the main menu of its mobile app to streamline donations to 11 humanitarian organizations aiding Covid-19 relief efforts. Dettol Harpic Porichchonno Bangladesh (DHPB) will donate hygiene products such as Dettol soaps, Harpic cleaners, and other products to 50,000 families across the country, in partnership with BRAC and Bangladesh Scouts. The company will also partner with BRAC to provide cash donations to 500 poor and needy families in rural Bangladesh. 

In China, Ant Financial Services Group released its 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, detailing its efforts to leverage digital technology for social good. The report also details the variety of digital services and measures launched to help fight Covid-19 and mitigate its impacts. 

In India, ET Intelligence Group looks at how Covid-19 is likely to have a severe impact on traditional CSR expenditure and the ecosystem dependent on it, as donations to the PM Cares Fund and Covid-19 relief work qualify as CSR expenditure. The article highlights how some companies in India have already exceeded their FY19 CSR expenditure on Covid-19 related efforts. Whether companies will expand their CSR budgets given the pandemic is still a question to be answered. According to an official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office on May 13, the PM CARES fund will allocate ₹3,100 crore (approximately US$410 million) to Covid-19 relief measures, including funds for ventilators, migrant workers, and vaccine development. The announcement comes one and a half months after the fund was established on March 27. SBI Foundation, the CSR arm of State Bank of India, has committed ₹30 crore (approximately US$4 million) to implement various Covid-19 relief programs across the country.

In Malaysia, brands joined forces to launch CSR efforts that support communities in need during Ramadan. This includes Fave Malaysia, Nestle Malaysia, UMobile, Tiffin, AirAsia, Shell Malaysia, and others. Nestle has mobilized its value chain to launch a global Covid-19 response, including in Malaysia. Nestle has pledged to support 200,000 socially vulnerable Malaysians amid the crisis, committed US$3.4 million to a fund that will supplement the livelihoods of lower-income communities and small enterprises, donated US$230,000 to the Malaysian Red Crescent, donated 10,000 Nestle family food packages, and channeled US$115,000 to the Yayasan Food Bank Malaysia. 

In Pakistan, the National Bank of Pakistan has topped up earlier contributions towards Covid-19 relief with a donation of Rs80 million (approximately US$500,000) to support over 26,000 financially vulnerable households.

In the Philippines, LT Group is donating a bio-molecular laboratory, worth P15 million (approximately US$300,000), to the Philippine Red Cross in Batangas City, capable of conducting 4,000 Covid-19 tests daily. The lab is scheduled to be completed within a month. Union Bank of the Philippines’ UShare donation platform is helping ramp-up relief operations by facilitating online donations to NGOs in the largely cash-based country. Since the quarantine began, daily transactions via the platform have increased by 87%. Hyundai Motor through H.A.R.I. Foundation, the CSR arm of Hyundai Asian Resources, donated 2,200 PPE items to the Lung Center of the Philippines. Philippines Tatler gives a round up of Filipinos leading the fight against Covid-19, from conglomerates like SM Group to local mayors. The government also launched a public-private task force T3 (Test, Trace, and Treat) to urgently expand testing for Covid-19 from approximately 4,500 tests per day to at least 30,000 tests per day. The government task force is receiving support from the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), the Philippine National Red Cross, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and other private sector actors.

In Singapore, Perennial Real Estate Holding and Hong Kong-based Shun Tak Holdings have teamed up to donate five million surgical masks to the National Council of Social Service for vulnerable communities, making it the largest donation of surgical masks in Singapore for Covid-19 to date. Some Singaporean companies who do not need the Government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) payouts have decided to return the payouts to government, while others are donating the money to charity. For example, German pharmaceutical group Boehringer Ingelheim is donating its JSS payouts to five charities selected by its employees. Food firm TiffinLabs, co-founded by one of Singapore’s youngest billionaires Kishin R.K., has setup the Food is Love Foundation to give free meals to the needy during Covid-19. This includes 20,000 restaurant-quality meals in partnership with charity Free Food For All and 10,000 meals to healthcare workers, among other initiatives.

In Cambodia, Coca-Cola Cambodia diverted US$200,000 from its advertising budget to invest directly in a campaign to help stop the spread of Covid-19. The company also partnered with the Ministry of Health, City Hall, Union Youth Federations of Cambodia, and Samdech Techo Voluntary Youth and Doctors Association to help distribute anti-epidemic supplies, PPE, and educational materials to impoverished communities, front-line medical workers, tuk-tuk drivers, hospitals, health centers and quarantine facilities. 

THE INNOVATORS

Crowdfunding projects help virus-hit businesses in Japan. Popular crowdfunding sites Campfire, Readyfor, and MotionGallery have waived commission fees since late February. Since, these platforms have raised a total of over ¥1.7 billion (approximately US$16 million) for at least 1,000 projects up till May 8, including support for restaurants, hotel operators, and event hosts who suffered sharp falls in sales amid Covid-19.

IN OTHER NEWS…

Oxfam to close in 18 countries, including its country offices in Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. Oxfam International is to lay off almost 1,500 staff and close operations in 18 countries as the nonprofit’s funding has been impacted by Covid-19 and recent scandals, including the Haiti sex abuse scandal. The charity announced that it will focus on ushering in change and facilitating a deeper footprint of impact in the countries they will continue to operate in.

Covid-19 shrinks civic space in Southeast Asia. In a recent article for The Jakarta Post, the directors of Bangkok-based Asia Centre highlight examples from across Southeast Asia, where civil society organizations (CSOs) are feeling the grip of Covid-19 legislation and social distancing measures. The article looks at how restrictions have halted organizations’ work and how funding has been diverted from CSOs to Covid-19 relief efforts.

International NGOs likely to slash funds for Nepal as pandemic affects developed world, stakeholders say. According to the Development Cooperation Report 2018-19 published by the Finance Ministry, international NGOs disbursed US$215 million to various projects in Nepal in that year. Stakeholders expressed uncertainty about whether the country will see the same funding commitments in the coming year amidst Covid-19. The president of the Association of International NGOs in Nepal noted that while aid pledged to the health sector is likely to remain stable, funding to other sectors might decrease. After the Social Welfare Council allowed foreign NGOs to divert 20% of their budget to Covid-19 efforts, a growing number of foreign NGOs have followed suit.

For microfinance lenders, Covid-19 is an existential threat. The Economist argues that the financial interests of the world’s poorest are not receiving enough attention as Covid-19 impacts microfinance lenders around the world. The article includes examples from Asia, such as Dvara Trust in Chennai, India and the microfinance arm of BRAC in Bangladesh, who are unable to carry out business as usual amidst lockdown measures and economic headwinds from the crisis.

Korean NGO’s role in supporting ‘comfort women’ questioned. The Diplomat reports on recent accusations from a former victim of mishandled donations. According to the Korean daily Chosun Ilbo, if allegations are true, the NGO Korean Council for Justice Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan might have exaggerated when reporting to the tax authorities. In a press conference, the NGO’s director Yoon Mi-hyang admitted there were mistakes in the organization’s accounting practices but pointed to “the nature of a civic group without enough people to handle heavy workloads.”

We’d also like to hear from you. How is your organization responding to Covid-19? Email us your stories at research@caps.org

Learning Communities in Asia

Doing Good Together

What is a Learning Community? It is a group of stakeholders which may include funders, grantees and related government agencies committed to learning from success as well as failure in order to improve impact around a particular issue or challenge. A successful learning community takes collaboration to a different level. CAPS’ latest report, Learning Communities in Asia: Doing Good Together, shares findings on which factors contribute to vibrant and sustainable learning communities within the Asian context.

Business for Good goes digital!

Maximizing the Value of Social Enterprises in Asia

Through the Business for Good microsite, you can interact with our latest study, Business for Good: maximizing the value of social enterprises in Asia. Featuring a data dashboard, our microsite lets you filter and explore data from our survey of 584 social enterprises and interviews of 140 stakeholders across 6 Asian economies: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, and Thailand. Click here to access the microsite.

Responding to Covid-19: Who’s Doing Good?

14 April 2020 - 20 April 2020

THE GIVERS
Individuals are funding initiatives that support nonprofits and hard-hit communities.

Laurence Lien, Singapore philanthropist, and his family donated SG$2 million earlier this month to aid 17 charities in Singapore affected by Covid-19. 

Adrian Cheng, executive vice-chairman of New World Development, launched a new Covid-19 initiative that will install 35 “Mask To Go” dispensers at designated NGOs in all 18 districts across Hong Kong. NGOs will provide contactless “Mask Redemption Cards” to pre-registered low-income families and disadvantaged groups. The dispensers will begin to operate by the end of April.

THE THINKERS
Organizations are collecting data to better understand the impact of Covid-19 on nonprofits and communities.

BRAC, the world’s largest nonprofit based in Bangladesh, published the findings from its Rapid Perception Survey on Covid-19 Awareness and Economic Impact survey of 2,675 individuals in Bangladesh. Among other key findings, the survey shows that the average household income is down 75% from the previous month, and that 96% of households are not receiving any government support.

Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD) launched its latest report, The effects of Covid-19 pandemic on civil society organizations in Vietnam. The study surveyed 101 organizations, with almost all (96%) reporting that their operations have been impacted as a result of the outbreak. Click here for the Vietnamese version.

THE NONPROFITS
Charities are stepping up their operations and joining forces to serve communities affected by Covid-19.

Hong Kong Jockey Club launched a number of initiatives to support those affected by Covid-19, earmarking HK$30 million (approximately US$4 million) for the distribution of more anti-epidemic packages to vulnerable groups, HS$42 million (approximately US$5.5 million) to provide free mobile internet data to underprivileged students to facilitate online learning, and a HK$50 million (approximately US$6.5 million) top-up its “Covid-19 Emergency Fund.”

The Asia Foundation is refocusing its work to help battle Covid-19 and support disproportionately impacted communities. For example, the foundation is expanding access to its “Let’s Read” library, Asia’s only free digital and multilingual library for children, to help improve access to education materials at a time when 9 out of 10 children in the world are out of school. Read more about the foundation’s other relief efforts, such as those in Myanmar, Pakistan, and Nepal here

International Justice Mission (IJM) has expanded rescue and awareness operations in response to issues exacerbated by Covid-19 in India and the Philippines, including online child trafficking and increased violence during lockdowns. IJM is also working with governments to provide food support, offer hand-washing trainings, and raise awareness about the virus.

A number of organizations in Pakistan are providing direct healthcare services to communities in need. This includes Indus Health Network, Alkhidmat Foundation, Kashmir Orphan Relief Trust, Patients’ Aid Foundation, and Ghurki Trust Teaching Hospital.

THE BUSINESSES
Companies are contributing to Covid-19 relief efforts and donating medical supplies, food and beverages, and other staples to affected communities. Some companies, such as Alibaba and ByteDance, are expanding their portfolio of response efforts with new initiatives.

B.Grimm, one of Thailand’s leading conglomerates, recently launched “B.Grimm Fights Covid-19 with Compassion” and donated over 46 million baht (nearly US$2 million) to relief efforts. Donations from the company have gone to hospitals and a number of charities in Thailand.

Oishi Group, a subsidiary of ThaiBev, launched the “Oishi Gives to Fight against Covid-19.” Through this campaign, the company is donating cash as well as food and beverages through the Thai Red Cross Society, which has totaled 24 million baht (approximately US$800,000) to date.

CP Group has donated more than US$29 million in Thailand to tackle Covid-19 and provided free food delivery to 88 hospitals across Thailand. Additionally, CEO Suphachai Chearavanont announced that the Group is committed to not making layoffs across the Group worldwide, will cover employee medical expenses, provide food to quarantined employees, and provide education loans for their employees’ children.

Carousell, one of the world’s largest digital marketplaces, launched “Covid-19 Free Ads for Charity,” among other response efforts. This initiative will offer up to SG$2 million (approximately US$1.4 million) of its advertising inventories for nonprofits in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the Philippines helping affected communities. The initiative aims to help nonprofits gain more visibility and access to volunteers and potential donors.

DBS Bank pledged SG$10.5 million (approximately US$7.5 million) to help communities affected by Covid-19, both in Singapore and across the region. The DBS Stronger Together Fund will provide around 4.5 million meals and packages containing food and staples to affected individuals in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia, and Taiwan. In Singapore, DBS is partnering with two local nonprofits in a SG$2.5 million (approximately US$1.8 million) plan to provide food for the elderly, low-income, and migrant workers.

Alibaba Group has published a factsheet, listing all of the donations and relief efforts of both the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation to date. The foundations also shared a coronavirus prevention and treatment handbook—available in 23 languages—which offers key insights from doctors, health care workers, and hospital administrators at the First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, who were at the frontline of the outbreak in China.

ByteDance recently published an overview of its Covid-19 response initiatives, categorized by country. Examples include contributions to Covid-19 relief funds, donating medical equipment, and creating online, multi-lingual training modules to help educate health workers around the globe.

Tsinghua University and China Vanke Co have joined together to establish the Vanke School of Public Health, aiming to boost talent training and scientific research and enhance China’s capacities in public health management. A special fund was set up with a donation of 200 million Vanke shares, valued at around 5.3 billion yuan (US$748 million) to the Tsinghua University Education Foundation. The former director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, was named the inaugural dean of the school. China Vanke and Dalian Wanda Commercial Management have also teamed up for a combined US$225 million in funding initiatives to help people affected by Covid-19.

Ping An Insurance Company donated US$1.5 million worth of Covid-19 medical supplies and technology to Indonesia. This includes medical technology that can generate accurate and rapid analysis of CT scans. This smart image-reading system has provided services to more than 1,500 medical institutions in China, including Hubei Province, and has assisted doctors with analysis in over a million CT scans for more than 20,000 patients. Earlier, Ping An donated more than US$20 million worth of supplies and cash in China, among a number of other donations and initiatives aimed at fighting the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Korean companies that conduct business in India are donating to help the country’s fight against Covid-19. Examples include: Samsung India, Hyundai Motor, and LG Electronics.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Relief Fund for Covid-19 saw a commitment of Rs100 million (approximately US$700,00) from English Biscuits Manufacturers (EBM) and Rs50 million from Telenor (approximately US$300,000). Telenor has also pledged PKR1.6 billion (approximately US$10 million) in cash and supplies towards Covid-19 relief efforts. Jazz, the Pakistani telecommunications company, has also contributed PKR50 million (approximately US$300,000) to the PM Pandemic Relief Fund, part of the company’s total pledge of PKR1.2 billion (approximately US$7.5 million) for Covid-19 relief efforts.

PepsiCo Foundation pledged US$700,000 in grants to support the response efforts of nonprofits certified by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP), operating in more than 30 districts across Pakistan. Through its certification and Advised Grant Making services, PCP helps identify nonprofits with high standards of governance, financial management, and operations, building donor confidence and facilitating the deployment of funding. PepsiCo India, along with PepsiCo Foundation, is also providing 25,000 Covid-19 testing kits and over 5 million meals to support families impacted by the coronavirus outbreak in India.

Airbnb is partnering with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) to expand its global Frontline Stays to the Philippines—an initiative to provide housing to 100,000 Covid-19 responders and relief workers. PDRF, together with partner hospitals, will help identify priority areas and healthcare workers in need of temporary housing.

THE TRUSTBREAKERS 

In this section, we usually share stories about scandals that are having negative repercussions for the social sector. With the fear and anxiety surrounding Covid-19, there are some trust-breaking stories circulating from price-gouging to faulty medical supplies. Fortunately, the stories of people being constructive during these times far outnumber them. We look forward to bringing more of these positive stories to you in the coming weeks.

RESOURCES

India Development Review analyzed a total of 75 resource announcements from the CSR community in India during the Covid-19 crisis. Combined, these contributions total more than ₹4,124 crore (nearly US$550 million). Of these, 89% is earmarked towards relief work, and of this, 54% is directed towards the Prime Minister’s PM-CARES Fund or state Chief Minister Relief funds.

Thank you to all the individuals and institutions stepping up to help fight Covid-19. Watch CEEW India’s #SupportYourSuperheroes video thanking the unknown heroes working to ensure the health and safety of their communities.

We’d also like to hear from you. How is your organization responding to Covid-19? Email us your stories at research@caps.org

Muhammad Yunus & Ruth Shapiro: Doing Good in an Uncertain World

As a significant portion of global wealth shifts into the hands of a few, Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus discusses the transformative power of social businesses in helping people escape poverty and fix, what he believes is a ‘broken economic system’. This discussion was hosted at the Commonwealth Club of California and moderated by CAPS’ Founder and Chief Executive, Ruth Shapiro.

Healthcare in Asia: The innovation imperative

Economist Intelligence Unit

This report analyzes healthcare systems across Asia and the challenges faced in improving access and quality. The report notes it is harder for low- to middle-income countries to overcome these challenges. Innovation is needed not only in new drugs or better technology, but in new approaches to healthcare financing, regulation, models for delivering healthcare services, and forging partnerships between different healthcare organizations. Read it here.

Aid barriers and the rise of philanthropic protectionism

Douglas Rutzen (International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law)

This article discusses the restrictions imposed by many countries on civil society organizations that impede them from receiving foreign funding. These organizations are coming under increasing scrutiny as governments grow wary of foreign influence and increasingly perceive it as a threat to political stability. It explores the rationale for increased restrictions on foreign funding in this context and draws from several examples from Asia including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. Read it here.

A Perspective of Future Healthcare Landscape in ASEAN and Singapore

Deloitte

This report provides a landscape analysis of Southeast Asia’s healthcare systems. The ASEAN region has experienced high economic growth and lifted swathes of its population out of poverty. Health, however, remains an area where only limited progress been made. Challenges posed by population growth, epidemiological shifts and underdeveloped public healthcare systems require renewing healthcare business models to better engage individuals and cater to an increasingly mobile population. Read it here.

Ways to Achieve Green Asia

Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)

This publication provides a comprehensive overview of the environmental challenges Asia faces and the economic impact of climate change. It analyzes environmental regulations, governance and evaluation methodologies, and the growth of carbon markets in the region. Informative case studies on China and India are included. Read it here.

Venture Philanthropy Practices in Asia: A Guide to Effective Capacity Building

Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN)

This report discusses best practices in social investing and venture philanthropy, and stresses the importance of both financial and non-financial support in making social purpose organizations investment- and impact-ready. It highlights 10 case studies of intermediaries from Asia and the strategies they employ in creating and delivering capacity building programs for budding social purpose organizations. Read it here.