How Can Asia Boost Philanthropy?

AsiaGlobal Online

Wealth in Asia is growing rapidly, but philanthropy has not kept pace. Governments should improve regulation and change tax and fiscal policies to make it easier for Asians and corporations to give in a systematic way. They should also ensure donations can efficiently reach organizations working to meet society’s needs.

This article looks at how the Doing Good Index can help governments improve regulations and policies relevant to the philanthropic and charitable sectors by identifying the levers that best enhance local philanthropy across 15 Asian economies.

This article was first published in AsiaGlobal Online.

Who’s Doing Good?

4 June 2018 - 10 June 2018

THE GIVERS

The Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation donates for the preservation of the Great Wall. Sino Group’s Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation donated 10 million yuan (US$1.56 million) to the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation for preserving and protecting the Great Wall. The donation will be used to repair a 1,255-meter-long section of the Great Wall, including restoring No. 67, 68, and 69 lookout towards and reinforcing the side walls near these towers. On top of this donation, the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation will organize for Hong Kong youths to regularly visit the Great Wall.

Singtel donates to help fund Esplanade’s first medium-sized theater. Singtel, a major telecommunications company in Singapore, is donating SG$10 million (approximately US$7.49 million) to help fund the Esplanade’s first medium-sized theater, the largest single donation the national performing arts center has received since it opened in 2002. This new theater will open in 2021 and be named after the company for 15 years.

Korean conglomerate launches foundation to address social problems. SK hynix Inc., the world’s second largest memory chip producer, announced that it would set up a philanthropic foundation to foster experts in the three fields of safety, health, and the environment (SHE). The company plans to provide ₩35 billion (US$32.6 million) to the foundation over the next 10 years. The foundation will work to cultivate experts who can tackle problems related to the SHE fields. It will offer scholarships to future leaders of society, provide support to research activities focused on SHE-related issues, and promote diverse projects with stakeholders to address these issues.

George Soros donates to help boost South Korean soldiers’ human rights. The Open Society Foundations (OSF), an international group advocating democracy and human rights founded by investor George Soros, has decided to provide US$200,000 to an advocacy group in Korea to help improve enlisted soldiers’ human rights. This marks the OSF’s first donation in Korea.

THE THINKERS

“Crowdfunding is changing the world for the better.” In this article, author William Hofmann explains the rise of charitable crowdfunding.  According to the author, crowdfunding reduces operating costs that are traditionally associated with setting up a formal nonprofit organization and initiating fundraising projects. “In other words, they are democratizing philanthropy,” says Hofmann. Within Asia, Singapore was cited as a noteworthy example, where GIVE.asia more than doubled its total donations from SG$4.5 million (approximately US$3.37 million) in 2016 to SG$11.2 million (approximately US$8.39 million) in 2017.

WealthAsia Media hosts the inaugural BENCHMARK Private Wealth Awards. The company, which gives out best practice awards in the Asian financial services sector, sought to recognize “visionary service providers” emerging to meet the needs of a new generation of asset holders. As heavyweight entrepreneurs in Asia hand over their businesses to a generation that is increasingly cognizant of the importance of sustainability and leaving positive social impacts, WealthAsia aims to raise awareness about and award responsible private banking and impact investing.

THE NONPROFITS

Nonprofit Indian mobile application saves lives by matching blood donors with patients in need. Having experienced a personal tragedy due to a failed frantic search for blood donors, Sushil Lalwani started a new mobile application called MBLOOD to bridge the gap between donors and receivers and connect them in real time. MBLOOD has so far raised about US75,000 in funding for the application, which will be nonprofit-making. Since it was launched in January with just 150 members, MBLOOD has built a fast growing network of users and lists over 2,000 registered blood banks across India.

THE BUSINESSES

Samsung Electronics Indonesia donates solar-powered lanterns. Samsung Electronics Indonesia donated 3,000 solar-powered lanterns to two regencies lacking access to electricity, the East Kutai regency in East Kalimantan and the East Flores regency in East Nusa Tenggara. Following the donation, East Flores Regent Antonius Gege Hajon said, “It is just what we need. With these lanterns, children can study in the evening and women are able to finish their woven fabric orders faster.”

Coca-Cola launches Pakistan’s first ever digital donation drive. As an extension of the company’s “Bottle of Change” campaign which urges people to support the cause initiated by Abdul Sattar Edhi, Coca-Cola launched Pakistan’s first ever digital donation drive, the Coca-Cola Digithon. The Digithon went live on Coca-Cola’s Facebook page on June 5, 2018, hosting various celebrities and prominent figures to encourage the spirit of giving.

The Godrej Group reflects on its sustainability efforts over the last seven years. The results proclaimed by the Indian conglomerate, with operations in real estate, consumer products, industrial engineering, and other industries, are impressive. Among other achievements, the company has reduced its water consumption by a third, with 35% of water consumed being recycled. Greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 45%, with energy from renewable sources up to the same amount.

THE INNOVATORS

Online charity platforms in China attract one billion donors. According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, China’s recent charity law that came into effect in September 2016 has helped attract more than one billion online donors. A report by the China Philanthropy Research Institute also noted that in 2017, the 12 online fundraising platforms approved by the Ministry of Civil Affairs have collectively raised over 2.59 billion yuan (US$405 million). With this increase in use of technology to encourage individual giving came the call for increased transparency and accountability to verify the authenticity of suspicious fundraising projects and initiatives.

THE VOLUNTEERS

Singaporean minister calls for increased volunteerism. In an effort to better address the issue of its rapidly aging population, Singapore hopes to double its volunteerism rate from one in three currently to 70% in five years’ time. At the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network’s (AVPN) conference, Miniter for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said, “We hope for Singapore to grow as a giving nation with a volunteer in every household.”

THE TRUSTBREAKERS

Malaysian tax agency plans to re-investigate funds originally claimed to be a donation payment. The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) asys the RM2.6 billion (approximately US$651.72 million) allegedly received by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is now subject to further examination. Based on previous findings, the amount received was found to be a donation payment and had no income characteristics to be taxed. The IRB is expected to work closely with other relevant government bodies and newly formed task forces.

Who’s Doing Good?

28 May 2018 - 3 June 2018

THE GIVERS

Three more Indian billionaires pledge to donate half of their wealth. The Nilekani, Shetty, and Bhusri families have joined the Giving Pledge, an initiative by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett that encourages the world’s wealthiest individuals to commit to dedicating the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Now in its eight year, the effort has expanded internationally with the addition of 14 philanthropists in the last year alone, bringing the total number of pledgers to 183 from 22 countries.

THE THINKERS

Gendered differences in impact investing? A new study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis finds differences between men and women in their willingness to learn about, and participate in, impact investing. Overall, while men and women impact invest at similar rates, women are more interested in learning about impact investing, and are more likely to impact invest on top of their existing charitable giving.

“Effective altruism”: the head or the heart? To many, altruism is an appeal to the heart. The question of having their money well spent, however, is a perennial debate that seeming one can only agree to disagree: is making a wish come true for disease-stricken children a less worthy cause to buying bed nets for people in mosquito-infested area? This Economist article on ‘effective altruism’ continues the debate.

THE NONPROFITS

Nonprofits in Hong Kong push ahead temporary dwellings for people rather than profit. Hong Kong’s housing is one of the most unaffordable in the world, to the point that too many dwellers of the city can only afford to live in “cage housing”–small cubicle flats of 1.4 square meter s that cost an average of HK$1,500 (or US$192) per month, making them effectively more expensive than many of the posh apartments of Hong Kong. Nonprofits such as Society for Community Organisation (SoCO) are attempting to address the issue with their social housing scheme in a bid to provide temporary relief to those in need. Under the scheme, residents usually only have to pay rent of about a quarter of their household income, and are able to stay for a few years until they are allocated a public housing flat.

THE BUSINESSES

Enterprise Asia hosts its fourth International Corporate Social Responsibility Summit in Manila. Through its Asia Responsible Entrepreneurship Awards (AREA), Enterprise Asia rewards companies for responsible business leadership and outstanding CSR contributions. William Ng, Enterprise Asia’s president predicts that companies’ approaches are evolving and shifting towards a ‘shared value’ model, where companies find opportunities to solve societal problems while obtaining something in return, rather than focusing only on philanthropy: “Every organization on Earth will eventually migrate into the ‘shared value’ model. Everyone, without exception.”

THE INNOVATORS

The Gates Foundation launches a grant to better understanding how education works around the world. For a foundation known for big investments, the grant is comparatively small, at US$68 million. Yet, the fund is uniquely problem-first: it specifically tackles the challenge of comparing educational achievements between countries, with the goal of enabling greater knowledge sharing across borders. India is the grant’s pilot country, thanks to its wealth of local organizations with “enormous capability and expertise.”

THE VOLUNTEERS

62,000 employees from Korean steelmaker Posco volunteer in 53 nations in their annual “Global Volunteer Week.” This is the ninth year that the event has been held, with volunteers engaging in events both at home and abroad, as far as Thailand and Indonesia, contributing to projects such as enhancing energy efficiency in residential areas and assisting with coral reef rehabilitation.

THE TRUSTBREAKERS

Thai King revokes seven senior monks’ ranks for money laundering and alleged embezzlement. Five of the monks are being held in custody and were previously residents of three of Bangkok’s most popular temples. They are accused of siphoning tens of millions of baht from development and Buddhism study funds, amidst a sweeping investigation into corruption in temples countrywide.

 

Who’s Doing Good?

14 May 2018 - 20 May 2018

THE GIVERS

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ask for donations to charity in lieu of wedding gifts. The couple has asked for donations to a number of charities, instead of traditional presents for those who wish to send a wedding gift to them. 7 charities are chosen to represent a range of issues they are passionate about, including sport for social change, women’s empowerment, conservation, the environment, homelessness, HIV and the Armed Forces.

THE THINKERS

Funders, get out of your own way to achieve greater impact. Funders can be nonprofits and social enterprises’ greatest enemy, according to Open Road Alliance, a philanthropic initiative that provides bailout grants to social impact organizations that encounter mission-crippling obstacles. Its newly released Roadblock Analysis Report, which looks into the 102 applications for support the initiative received over the last five years, reveals that “Funder-Created Obstacles”, such as delay of disbursement, a change in funder strategy, and funder policy inflexibility, made up of half of the roadblocks nonprofits and social enterprises face during project implementation. Other factors, including weather event or market change under the “Act of God/Economics” category, and fraud/theft filed under “Organizational Misfortune”, tied at 27% each.

THE NONPROFITS

NGOs can play a bigger role to protect migrant fishing workers in Thailand. Natthaya Phetcharat, a labor rights activist, said members of legally registered NGOs should be allowed to collaborate with Thai officials to help migrant workers in fishing industry, as they have more confidence in the networks and feel more comfortable talking to NGO advocates than to just the authorities, according to a survey which interviewed 300 migrant workers in the industry.

THE BUSINESSES

Nokia vows to digitize 500 Indian villages in five years’ time. Through its newly launched “Smartpur” project, Nokia vows to bring connectivity and enable digital applications in education, healthcare, governance, and finance to 500 villages and rural communities across the country in 5 years. The initiative aims to bring efficiency in daily lives, transparency in governance, economic prosperity for households and ease of access to various government services and information, the Finnish telecom gear maker said.

Samsung vice-chairman holds on to foundation chairmanship. Lee Jae-yong, Samsung Electronic’s vice-chairman, will serve as chair of Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation for another term, despite speculations of the contrary after criticisms of him using the chairmanship to garner more control of the Korean conglomerate. The board re-appointed him last Friday in the belief that Lee “best understands the vision of the foundation and is the most suitable person to carry out its social contribution activities”.

THE VOLUNTEERS

Kodak expands global literary program with local printers and staffers. More printers across the globe are signing up for Kodak’s Print for Good initiative, which aims to print and donate children’s book titles and school notebooks. Last year, the initiative placed more than 30,000 books and printed materials to thousands of children in Europe, the US, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. Kodak staffers are also encouraged to support their own community’s literacy initiatives, including participation in local school reading programs. This year, the imaging company will establish a new partnership with Room to Read, a global nonprofit focusing on literary and girls’ education in low-income countries to roll out a literacy program for an Indian community.

Who’s Doing Good?

7 May 2018 - 13 May 2018

THE GIVERS

China’s “super rich” joins the world in upping their commitment to philanthropic causes. Who’s the most generous in China? According to the latest Hurun USA-China Philanthropy List 2018, which ranks the most generous individuals from the U.S. and China, He Xiangjian, founder of Midea Group, an electrical appliance manufacturer, ranked fifth on the list with a US$1.18bn donation he made last July. Xu Jiayin, chairman of Evergrande, a property developer, made it to the eighth with his donation of US$540m last year. Other renowned philanthropists on the top ten list include Bill Gates, George Soros, and Mark Zuckerberg. 76 in China, and 290 in the U.S donated more than US$5m in the last 12 months till March; education, in the form of scholarship, and healthcare remain the two most preferred cause among philanthropists in the two countries.

Regulatory hurdles hinder foundations and social enterprises in China to jump on the impact investing bandwagon. Charitable foundations and social enterprises in China are keen to allocate capital to impact investing funds that are in alignment with their social or environmental agenda, but many are struggling with regulations in using their funds as a non-profit entity, observed Amanda Zheng, principal at China Impact Ventures, adding that similar restrictions do not exist in markets such as Hong Kong.

THE THINKERS

Philanthropists and technologists discuss their role in unleashing tech potential for social good. Paula Goldman, vice president of Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm, led a panel discussion at the Global Philanthropy Conference on ways to leverage data with sensitivity to tackle the world’s greatest social challenges. The funders and practitioners in attendance contemplated the implications to humanitarian sector in unleashing data, such as satellite imagery, and geolocation data for humanitarian work. Attendees also talked about the risks, tradeoffs, and the norms to be set for ethical data usage. Despite skepticism in Facebook’s data privacy policy as the data breach scandal continues to unfurl, Chaya Nayak, who leads Facebook’s “data for good” initiative, said “the same data that is really powerful in building profit for the company could be equally, if not more, powerful in solving some of the world’s biggest challenges,” with reference to the disaster map work Facebook developed for humanitarian purpose.

THE NONPROFITS

China-NGO relations: ten years on after Wenchuan earthquake. Many sees the 2008 earthquake at Sichuan a watershed towards greater trust between the Chinese government and the nonprofits, but they remain uneasy bedfellows: the government may have realized the prowess and agility of the NGOs in disaster relief, but suspicion of some of these NGOs’ motives remain.

THE BUSINESSES

Ride-hailing with a cause in India. Ola has recently launched a crowdsourcing initiative on its ride-hailing platform to support India’s critical social issues. Riders in India can opt to contribute a sum of one rupee per ride. In partnership with Tata Trusts’ Alamelu Charitable Foundation, the crowdsourced sum will be allotted to strengthen cancer care in India.

THE INNOVATORS

Virtual technologies can transform how nonprofits communicate their message. Virtual technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have huge potential to transform how social messages are delivered. In this article, Susan Bales and Andrew Goldstein share their experience in adoption and utilization of these technologies for social good, as well as the pitfalls to avoid.

THE VOLUNTEERS

Ageing in place: Singapore trains volunteers to assist elderly in the community. The Singaporean government has trained volunteers, young and old, to engage with elderly in their neighborhood during their free time. Healthcare services and active ageing schemes available in Singapore are introduced to these volunteers in their training. As “Silver Generation Ambassadors”, they are expected to help point elderly residents in the community to the relevant support schemes depending on their needs.

THE TRUSTBREAKERS

South Korea regulator steps up its battle in taming the chaebols (article written in Korean). The Fair Trade Commission (FTC), which is the most powerful economic/private sector-regulating body in Korea, officially announced in its meetings with corporate executives of top ten chaebols in Korea that it will investigate into 57 corporate foundations of major conglomerates to identify issues of corporate foundations in aspects of tax and corporate ownership succession planning. FTC is expected to roll out comprehensive regulations in regard to these particular aspects of corporate foundations in the near future.

Child rape charge against Canadian aid worker raises alarm on loopholes in monitoring humanitarian staffers. The recent arrest of a prominent Canadian aid worker on suspected child molestation in Nepal brings to the fore once again the issue of monitoring international humanitarian NGO staffers dispatched to areas in crisis. This issue is only aggregated by limited government oversight common under such circumstances. “The absence of strict regulations means aid groups can be used as a cover for human traffickers and predatory behavior by humanitarian workers,” said Pushkar Karki, the head of Nepal’s Chief Investigation Bureau, the agency overseeing the case.

Who’s Doing Good?

30 April 2018 - 6 May 2018

THE GIVERS

Panda Express co-founder discusses donations to Caltech and underserved kids. Peggy Cherng, co-chair and co-CEO of Panda Restaurant Group born in Myanmar and raised in Hong Kong, spoke about her philanthropic donations to Caltech and for underserved children. With an engineering background herself, Cherng, along with her husband, pledged US$30 million to endow Caltech’s medical engineering department. She commented, “Our mission to help other people live better lives. With our support of Caltech, they can develop some devices to better people’s lives, that is something that touches our hearts.” Through their fast food businesses, the Cherngs also set up Panda Cares, the philanthropic arm of Panda Restaurant Group. Since 1999, Panda Cares has raised US$107 million, with US$89 million coming from in-store donation boxes. All proceeds go towards serving underserved children in health and education.

THE THINKERS

Debate on “the WhatsApp philanthropists.” “Social media is encouraging Indians to click for a cause. But should giving be about impulse or impact?” In her article, journalist Himanshi Dhawan touches on the rising trend of one-off giving via social media through a few simple clicks. Is the sheer amount of giving rising from this online philanthropy good on its own merit, or should we think about the more complex implications such as lack of regular giving?

Bill Gates expresses optimism about growing trend towards philanthropy in India. Bill Gates said he is encouraged by recent trend towards philanthropy in India and commended the example set by billionaire Azim Premji. “Well, I think Azim Premji and some others are pretty phenomenal in the example they’re setting. And they’ll do philanthropy, each person in their own unique way,” said Gates.

New index shows political uncertainty as greatest challenge to philanthropy. The Global Philanthropy Environment Index, released by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, reveals that the political environment presents significant challenges to philanthropic activity. The average score measuring the political environment was the lowest average score of all five factors studied.

THE NONPROFITS

International nonprofit joins forces with computer manufacturer. Rise Against Hunger, an international hunger relief charity, teamed up with Lenovo Malaysia to provide free meals to those in need. In conjunction with Lenovo Malaysia’s inaugural Make A Difference week, more than 100 Lenovo employees participated in a meal-packing event for Rise Against Hunger. Over 20,000 meals were packed at the event, which were then distributed by Rise Against Hunger to local schools, as well as other programs promoting self-sufficiency.

THE BUSINESSES

Google.org donates US$3 million to support Indian teachers. Having set aside a dedicated fund of US$50 million to bridge the gaps between students in developed, developing, and underdeveloped nations, Google.org, Google’s philanthropy arm, has announced its second round of funding for education and learning institutions in India. In 2017, Google.org had already donated more than US$8 million to local charities. In 2018, Google.org will make two major donations and grants. First, Google.org will grant US$1 million to The Teacher App, which provides free learning and teaching material to teachers. Second, Google.org will grant US$2 million to Central Square Foundation to create more video resources that could assist those interested in learning.

Yum China launches book donation and exchange program in China. On May 2, 2018, Yum China launched the Pizza Hut Book Donation and Exchange Program at Pizza Hut restaurants across China. The company’s CEO commented, “By pioneering innovative CSR programs like this, we aim to make a positive difference to the lives of our customers and the communities in which we operate. Using our strong brand and scale, Yum China is in a privileged position to support government initiatives to encourage reading in the long term.”

THE INNOVATORS

UNICEF turns to cryptocurrency mining for fundraising. UNICEF Australia has launched The HopePage, which allows people to make a donation by keeping the web page open and using the computer’s processor to mine cryptocurrency.

THE VOLUNTEERS

Korean celebrities participate in Children’s Day donation program. MBC, a major television broadcasting station in Korea, is hosting its 28th annual New Life for Children donation program. For the past 28 years, it has delivered over ₩40 billion (US$37 million) in donations and aided treatment for 13,000 children. Korean idol groups, actors and actresses, and comedians are expected to participate in the program’s television show, concert, and other promotional events to help raise donations and awareness.

Beneficiaries contribute to annual Ramadan charity drive. Resulting from a collaboration of 17 Malay/Muslim organizations with the mission of helping the poor, needy, and less fortunate, the Tabung Amal Aidilfitri (TAA) Trust Fund launched an annual Ramadan charity drive to raise donations. The article highlights examples of low-income beneficiaries of the TAA Trust Fund, who also give back to the donation campaign as part of their religious culture of giving.

 

Who’s Doing Good?

23 April 2018 - 29 April 2018

THE GIVERS

China’s tech billionaires make major donations to domestic universities. As President Xi Jinping urged businesses to step up innovation, CEOs of Baidu and JD.com and their spouses pledged hundreds of millions to Peking University and Tsinghua University. Baidu’s Robin Li Yanhong, his wife Melissa Ma, and the company jointly donated 660 million yuan (US$104 million) to Peking University, supporting cutting-edge research into areas that complement the company’s artificial intelligence technologies. Similarly, JD.com’s Richard Liu Qiangdong and his wife Zhang Zetian gave 200 million yuan (approximately US$31.6 million) to Tsinghua University for research into artificial intelligence, logistics, and other fields.

THE THINKERS

Singaporean government sets new guidelines for healthier food donations. Donating food products is one popular form of individual giving. In line with this trend, the Singaporean government’s Health Promotion Board has released its first set of guidelines for charities, voluntary welfare organizations, and individual donors to choose healthier products when making food donations for low-income families. Recommendations include having at least one item from each of the five main food groups (staples, oils, meat and alternatives, diary and alternatives, and fruit and vegetables) in each donation pack.

THE NONPROFITS

Malaysian charity wins award for refugee support. In recognition of its contributions to approximately 1,100 refugees, stateless people, undocumented students, and other marginalized groups in Kuala Lumpur, the Dignity for Children Foundation was awarded the second edition of the Sharjah International Award for Refugee Advocacy and Support (SIARA), which was established by The Big Heart Foundation in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. As part of the award, the charity received US$136,000, also receiving a personal donation of US$1 million from Sharjah’s Dr. Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi.

Vietnam Red Cross Society launches Humanitarian Month. On April 28, 2018, the Vietnam Red Cross Society and its Hanoi chapter launched the Humanitarian Month to promote good deeds among the public and enhance authorities’ sense of responsibility towards humanitarian activities.

THE BUSINESSES

Multinational pharmaceutical companies donate ₩25.9 billion (US$24 million) in South Korea last year. According to the Korea Research-based Pharma Industry Association, a total of 26 multinational drug companies donated a combined ₩25.9 billion (US$24 million) in South Korea last year. The 2017 amount accounts for 0.48% of their total revenues and represents a five percent increase from the previous year. The calculated amount includes money donated to various charities, as well as goods and merchandise used during CSR activities.

THE INNOVATORS

Korean steelmaker builds sustainable steel housing. Posco, a major steelmaker in Korea, is using its business expertise to provide sustainable steel homes, playgrounds, and bridges in Vung Tau, Vietnam. This “Steel Village” program has been selected by the United Nations as a leading best practice model for the Sustainable Development Goals.

THE VOLUNTEERS

Meet the Chinese charity worker helping children in Syria. Through his small nonprofit organization called LoveZone Charity Foundation based in Suzhou, China, Zhuang Zhi supplies prosthetic limbs to children in Syria. Zhuang first thought access to education for Syrian children was an important area for him to work in, but after consulting the Syrian ambassador in China and his wife, he shifted his focus to providing mobility to disabled children. As a first step, Zhuang and his organization sent about 300,000 yuan (US$47,300) in donations and visited Damascus in last August. Zhuang now has an ambitious goal of building a factory that could make artificial limbs for about 3,000 children a year.

THE TRUSTBREAKERS

Singapore Commissioner of Charities finds “severe mismanagement” at Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. The Commission of Charities (COC) found instances of “severe mismanagement” at the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple at Serangoon Road, one of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temples. In particular, suspected offenses pertained to mismanagement of the religious charity’s funds and assets. For example, key officers had “prevalently issued uncrossed cheques and allowed uncrossed cheques to be exchanged for cash in the Charity’s premises.”

Who’s Doing Good?

9 April 2018 - 22 April 2018

THE GIVERS

Manny Pacquiao builds homes for the poor. World-renowned boxer, Manny Pacquiao, has revealed that he has been buying hectares of land to build two-bedroom houses in Sarangani and General Santos City to give them to the poor for free. Pacquiao has claimed that the beneficiaries of this free housing program have reached more than one thousand families.

Tata Trusts crosses Rs 1,000 crore in disbursals for 2017-2018. For the first time in its 126-year history, the Tata Trusts, India’s oldest and largest philanthropy initiative, will cross Rs 1,000 crore in disbursals in 2017-2018, doubling the amount from eight years ago.

Indian philanthropists support advancement of scientific research in India. The article highlights major philanthropic individuals and organizations that significantly contributes to the advancement of scientific research in India. Examples include the Tata Trusts, Wadhwani Foundation, and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.

THE THINKERS

“Making Indian Philanthropy Matter.” While celebrating the exponential increase in philanthropic giving in India, the article points out remaining challenges and obstacles, arguing that the charitable sector must “address the roots of inequality, nonprofit dependency on business, and an underdeveloped philanthropic system.”

THE BUSINESSES

Singaporean real estate developer serves as a role model for sustainability. City Developments (CDL), Singaporean real estate developer famous for being involved in some of the most iconic buildings in the city-state, is equally well known for its environmental sustainability. Knowing that buildings account for 40% of energy consumption and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, CDL is contributing to providing clean, green, and health spaces for homeowners, tenants, and the public. Most notably, the company launched the CDL Future Value 2030 sustainable blueprint, raising its carbon emissions reduction target from 25% to 38% from 2006 levels by 2030.

THE VOLUNTEERS

“Hong Kong social entrepreneur who quit her job to help others on fighting inequality and saving the environment.” Keilem Ng, who stepped away from her lucrative career at a Hong Kong investment firm, is now helping others by fighting inequality and saving the environment. Working as a director of the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network’s Hong Kong office, Ng is also running various charities and projects such as “Eco Marine” and “Exchange and Empower” to promote marine education and research programs and to support female athletes in Nepal, respectively.

THE TRUSTBREAKERS

Korean police questions KT chairman in donation probe. Hwang Chang-gyu, Chairman of the Korean telecommunications company KT, was questioned by the Korean police over suspicions that the company made illegal political donations in exchange for favorable legislation, estimating that former and current KT executives may have paid around 90 legislators a combined ₩430 million (US$401.8 million) in illegal donations between 2014 and 2017.

Who’s Doing Good?

26 March 2018 - 8 April 2018

THE GIVERS

Korean financial conglomerate businessman donates dividends eight years in a row. Park Hyeon-joo, chairman of Mirae Asset Daewoo, decided to donate his 2017 annual dividend worth ₩1.6 billion (US$1.51 million). Park has made similar donations for the past seven years, totaling his net donations to an amount of ₩21.6 billion (approximately US$21.1 million). Park’s donations will be allocated to his scholarships that fund Korean students who want to study abroad.

Chinese Filipino tycoon donates for construction of table tennis training center. Stephen Techico, chairman of the Uni-Orient Travel Inc. and honorary president of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Associations of the Philippines, gave a P10 million (US$200,000) donation to the Philippine Sports Commission to support the construction of a new table tennis training center in Manila, which will be named as “Philippines-China Table Tennis Training Center.”

THE THINKERS

“The charity business: drawing the line in spending for philanthropy” In this article based on multiple expert interviews, the author touches on perennial debates and challenges facing the charitable sector. Should nonprofit employees earn competitive wages? Should charities spend donations on advertising? Why do charities face different standards compared to businesses?

Pakistan hosts its first national forum on philanthropy in Islamabad. The 1st National Forum on Philanthropy in Pakistan was hosted by the Higher Education Commission jointly with the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy and Global Donors Forum at the Commission Secretariat. The theme of the forum was “Conventional to Strategic: A New Paradigm in Giving.” Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society’s Mehvesh Mumtaz Ahmed presented the findings of the Doing Good Index as a guest speaker and panelist.

 

THE BUSINESSES

Hana Financial Group supports sports for the disabled. Hana Financial Group, a major financial services company in South Korea, donated ₩1 billion (approximately US$930,000) to the Korea Sports Association for the Disabled. The donation will particularly support national athletes participating in the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympics. The donation was made as part of the company’s larger “humanity financing” corporate social responsibility project.

THE INNOVATORS

Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia list recognizes innovative Asian social entrepreneurs. From tackling environmental problems to raising awareness about contraception and sex, 30 social entrepreneurs across Asia have been chosen by Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia list for their work.

THE VOLUNTEERS

Volunteers make octopus toys to help premature babies. Inspired by the Danish Octo Project’s “Octopus for a Preemie” movement, Michelle Neo from Singapore scaled up her personal hobby of making octopus toys for premature babies to a larger volunteer movement. Such octopus boys, explained by the Danish Octo Project to resemble an umbilical cord and “remind babies of their time in the womb,” are believed to have some soothing effect. Now, Neo and six of her friends are running a Facebook page “Handmade with LOVE Octopus – for Preemies” to solicit volunteers to make octopus toys for hospitals and those in need.

THE TRUSTBREAKERS

Singapore police arrests four men for collecting donations from public without license. Four men, aged between 18 and 24, have been detained by the police for publicly collecting donations without having the House-to-house and Street Collections license. The suspects were reported to claim that they were representatives of an organization and that the donations would go to former convicts and underprivileged families.

Who’s Doing Good?

19 March 2018 - 25 March 2018

THE GIVERS

Chinese philanthropist donates US$3 million to alma mater. Ming Mei, co-founder and CEO of GLP, a leading provider of global logistics solutions, is donating US$3 million to Indiana University. Half of the donation will endow a tenured chair in Chinese economics and trade in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, while the other will establish a tenured chair position in logistics.

Singaporean philanthropists come together to develop facility for assisted living. A group of five philanthropists from Singapore have joined forces to set up the first purpose-built assisted living facility that will allow seniors with mobility issues to live independently.This announcement was made by Laurence Lien, chairman of the Lien Foundation, at the inaugural ASEAN Philanthropy Dialogue. The facility is expected to be completed by 2021.

THE THINKERS

“Philanthropy in Pakistan: Why civil society organizations get bypassed in favor of donations to individuals.” In this article, Shazia M. Amjad and Muhammad Ali of the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy explain why Pakistanis prefer to donate directly to individuals over nonprofit organizations. Four major reasons are cited: 1. Compassion spurs in-the-moment giving in small cash. 2. Religious institutions receive the bulk of giving that goes to organizations. 3. There is a lack of trust in nonprofit organizations. 4. It is usually with more wealth that giving to formal organizations become more common.

Malaysian Sultan states Islamic finance can be combined with impact investing and philanthropy. Speaking at a forum themed “Enhancing the value of Islamic capital market through social and impact investment” co-organized by the Securities Commission Malaysia and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah said that the Islamic finance sector must remain relevant by being involved in the global agenda to alleviate poverty and inequality. Impact investing was one channel through which Islamic finance could contribute to social causes, while he also cited philanthropy as another area that can be combined with Islamic finance via institutions such as sadaqah (voluntary charity) and waqf (endowment).

“Money or Mission? The Fight about Big Tobacco’s Philanthropy” In this article, Erin Rubin discusses the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s conflict of interest with the tobacco industry. While tobacco companies provide roughly US$15 million in donations for social projects sucha s programs to end child labor, they are also notorious, according to the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations, for “poor working conditions, exploitation of workers, and abuse of their rights.”

THE NONPROFITS

Lien AID leads a collective effort to provide clean water access in rural Myanmar. Lien AID, a Singapore-based international nonprofit committed to enabling sustainable access to clean water and sanitation for Asia’s rural poor, is planning to create more clean water projects in Myanmar. To do so, Lien AID believes tackling the problem of sustaining access to clean water must be a collective effort. That is, it seeks to work in close partnership with governments, businesses, individuals, other nonprofits, and academia in order to increase the impact of its own programs.

THE BUSINESSES

AmorePacific hosts marathon for breast cancer awareness. AmorePacific, South Korea’s beauty and cosmetics conglomerate, hosted a marathon in Busan to raise public awareness about breast cancer. According to the company, about 5,000 participated in the marathon, and funds raised during the event from ticket sales have been donated to the Korea Breast Cancer Foundation to cover surgical expenses and medical examinations for cancer patients.

THE INNOVATORS

Three Southeast Asian social entrepreneurs win inaugural social impact award. Three social entrepreneurs were chose as the winners of the inaugural ASEAN Social Impact Awards in recognition of their social impact and innovation. Indonesia’s Tri Mumpuni won first place for her efforts in providing access to electricity, as well as training villages to run the plants independently. Cherrie Atilano from the Philippines and Somsak Boonkam from Thailand were runners-up. Atilano was recognized for her role in increasing farmers’ access to finance, technology, and information on the best farming practices for the purposes of fair trade, as well as working with farmers on sustainable farming methods to protect the environment and farmers’ future livelihoods. Boonkam was recognized for his work with local communities to build their capacity for community-based tourism.

THE VOLUNTEERS

Zhou Xun announced as TOMS giving ambassador. Zhou Xun, a renowned Chinese actress who is also a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, will become the American footwear company TOMS’ Goodwill Giving Ambassador in Asia. Zhou and the company’s founder Blake Mycoskie went on a trip to Yunnan province late last year to donate shoes to primary school students.

THE TRUSTBREAKERS

Former Korean President’s private foundation comes to the spotlight amidst corruption allegations. Founded by former President Lee Myung-bak, Lee & Kim Foundation (known as “Cheonggye Foundation” in Korean) was recently criticized for receiving tax benefits as a charitable organization when only 0.7% of its total assets were used for scholarships. This criticism comes at a time when President Lee is currently under investigation for a corporate corruption scandal involving his family members and cronies.