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

Social Impact Landscape in Asia

Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN)

This series of reports documents the landscape for social investment across Asia. Each report maps a country’s socio-economic development context, government initiatives and investment indicators related to the social economy, and notable actors in the social investment landscape. Opportunities, challenges and recommendations for investors and intermediaries are also discussed.

Read it here:

Contextualising CSR in Asia: Corporate Social Responsibility in Asian economies and the drivers that influence its practice

Lien Centre for Social Innovation, Singapore Management University

This report is a two-year inquiry into the practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in ten Asian economies. The ten economies covered are: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

CSR is gaining momentum in Asia as society’s expectations from businesses shift. This report draws on the historical notion of business responsibility and what drives CSR in Asia today, including cultural and societal norms and the role of government. Read it here.

The Landscape for Impact Investing in Southeast Asia

Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) & Intellecap Advisory Services

Southeast Asia is undergoing rapid development, but the region continues to face challenges. Impact investing is a growing practice and is seen as a means to generate positive social and environmental impact along with financial returns. This study examines the trends and landscape of impact investing in Southeast Asia. It outlines challenges and opportunities for impact investors and the political and economic factors that can inform investment decisions. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the three most active markets in the region–Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines–and a broader regional overview of Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Thailand. Read it here.

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

06 April 2020 - 13 April 2020

THE GIVERS
Individuals and foundations are donating supplies and funding initiatives supporting hard-hit communities.

Tanoto Foundation, founded by Indonesia’s Sukanto Tanoto, donated over 1 million gloves, 1 million masks, 100,000 coveralls, and 3,000 goggles to the national Covid-19 taskforce. The equipment will be distributed to hospitals in Jakarta, Medan in North Sumatera, and Pekanbaru in Riau.

Chaudhary Foundation has handed over 1,000 PCR testing kits to Nepal’s government to help accelerate the country’s efforts to mitigate Covid-19. The Foundation’s chairman, Binod Chaudhary, underscored the importance of collaboration with the government to contain the pandemic. The Foundation has also provided PPE and medical equipment to 48 health posts of seven provinces in Nepal. 

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google, donated Rs5 crore (approximately US$700,000) to nonprofit GiveIndia, matching an earlier donation from Google to GiveIndia. Google has set aside a total of US$800 million to help fight Covid-19 globally.

Kim Beom-su, founder and chairman of online company Kakao, donated his stocks worth ₩2 billion (approximately US$2 million) to help combat Covid-19 in Korea, and the company is matching the donation. Kakao has also been aiding Covid-19 relief efforts through its platform Together, and has raised approximately US$4 million as of April 7th.

In Korea, around 200 celebrities have contributed a total of over US$8 million in donations. K-pop groups are also spurring more donations to relief efforts. After K-pop group BTS singer SUGA donated ₩100 million (US$80,600) to Hope Bridge Korea Disaster Relief Association, 11,000 fans followed suit and donated a total of around US$500,000.

Government-led Covid-19 Funds in South Asia continue to see donations from local and foreign donors. Pakistani expats answer Prime Minister Imran Khan’s appeal for donations, with 900 expats donating a total of Rs45 million (approximately US$300,000) to the Prime Minister’s Covid-19 Relief Fund via the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development’s online donation portal. Sri Lanka’s Covid-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund established by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has now reached Rs517 million (approximately US$3 million). India’s PM Cares Fund saw donations of US$13.2 billion from Prosus and US$13.2 million from JSW Group.

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

Covid-19 and Chinese Civil Society’s Response. Stanford Social Innovation Review gives insight into the response from nonprofits, foundations, and businesses in China to Covid-19 and how civil society organizations from other regions can replicate their success.

India’s nonprofits are working closely with government to reach the most vulnerable communities during Covid-19, including NGO SEEDS, Akshaya Patra Foundation, Wishes and Blessings, and NGO Fuel.

EMpower (Emerging Markets Foundation), a global philanthropic organization, is working with a number of organizations on Covid-19 responses, such as the Teach Unlimited Foundation in Hong Kong and YKB in Indonesia, as well as providing flexible support to their grantees. The organization is also running the series #storiesofresilience, in which it features its partners who are helping fight Covid-19, such as the Indian NGO Saath.

THE BUSINESSES
Companies are funding relief efforts, supporting innovative startups, and leveraging their own resources to contribute to the fight against Covid-19.

Funding relief and vaccination efforts.

China Evergrande Group has set up a US$115 million effort that will support more than 80 researchers at top universities in Boston, including Harvard and MIT, and local biotechnology companies, to support research related to mitigating Covid-19.

Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), a private sector disaster risk reduction and management network, raised around US$31 million in donations through its Project Ugnayan. This week PDRF announced that the project has reached over 7.6 million beneficiaries in Greater Metro Manila poor communities in just over three weeks.

TikTok, the Chinese video sharing platform, donated US$6.28 million for the government of Indonesia to buy protective equipment for front-line healthcare workers.

India’s Jaypee Group contributed Rs4.22 crore (over US$500,000) to the fight against Covid-19. This includes contributions to the PM Cares Fund, Uttar Pradesh CM CARE Fund, Madhya Pradesh CM CARE Fund, and Uttrakhand CM CARE Fund.

Supporting start-ups.

Singtel Group has set forth a Special Pandemic Support Grant as part of its Singtel Future Makers program. The cash support will go towards promising start-ups with innovative technological solutions that help the social sector tackle the challenges posed by Covid-19. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to join the main program with other Singtel Future Makers 2020 finalists addressing other themes and challenges in the latter half of 2020. 

Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) is launching its Emergency Financing Facility, a revolving fund to provide grants and working capital loans to select high-impact SMEs. IIX surveys indicate that over 74.4% of SMEs in its network will require additional capital in the coming months in order to stay on course with their growth and impact plans.

Leveraging and donating their own resources.

35 Indonesian manufacturers are ramping up capacity to produce more than 18 million pieces of Covid-19 protective gear by early May. Many are redeploying raw materials used for manufacturing other products towards making the gear. Examples include PT Pan Brothers, which has shifted its usual garment production to manufacture 10 million cloth masks every month; and garment manufacturer PT Sritex, which plans to increase its protective gear production to a monthly 1 million pieces from the current 150,000 units.

Vietnam’s Vingroup is producing ventilators through two of its subsidiaries. Vinfast, its automaker, and Vinsmart, its electronics arm, are shifting their production lines to produce 10,000 ventilators per month. Vingroup also committed US$4.3 million for medical equipment and testing through the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee. Its retail arm, Vincom, also allocated US$13 million to support its tenants during Covid-19.

Huawei Malaysia donated four technology solutions to the Ministry of Health to aid communication between public health experts, front-line healthcare workers, public hospitals, and government as the country fights Covid-19.

Philippines’ financial industry and NGO groups have partnered for faster Covid-19 subsidy delivery. The joint initiative between NGOs, rural banks, cooperatives, and companies aims to provide alternative options to quickly disburse the government’s over P200 billion (approximately US$4 billion) emergency subsidy to over 18 million families.

Singapore gaming company Razer announced that it will set up Singapore’s first fully automated mask production. Other Singaporean firms, Frasers Property, JustCo, and PBA Group are supporting Razer’s initiative.

Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Group invested US$3 million to build a factory in Bangkok to produce 100,000 surgical face masks per day to donate to healthcare workers. The group is also providing free food delivery to patients and staff at more than 40 hospitals across Thailand.

Indonesian food group Mayora pledged to donate 1 million masks, 1 million water bottles, and 1 million biscuit packs to medical front-liners across Indonesia.

CJ Indonesia, the Indonesian arm of Korean CJ Corporation, donated test kits, hand sanitizer, and food and milk packages worth US$255,000 to healthcare facilities and motorcycle taxi drivers, who are impacted by the government’s social restrictions amidst Covid-19.

THE VOLUNTEERS

While Bangladeshi celebrities are helping with resources and awareness, student-led voluntary organizations are supporting communities on the ground. For example, at the beginning of the outbreak, voluntary organization Bidyanondo Foundation sprayed disinfectant in public transport vehicles and made arrangements to feed 200,000 people living in slums in and around Dhaka. Donations from Bangladeshis abroad are also being distributed by volunteer organizations on the ground, for example, through the nonprofit Resource Coordination Network.

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.

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

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

30 March 2020 - 05 April 2020

THE GIVERS
Philanthropists are donating supplies and funding initiatives supporting hard-hit communities.

Azim Premji, one of India’s most generous philanthropists, earmarked Rs1,125 crore (nearly US$150 million) to fight Covid-19. This charitable initiative is a joint effort by his eponymous foundation and Wipro, the IT company he founded. The Azim Premji Foundation is giving US$132 million, Wipro’s commitment is around US$14 million, and Wipro Enterprises around US$4 million. The funds will focus on providing immediate humanitarian aid.

Ratan Tata, Tata Trusts chairman and CAPS advisory board member, took to Twitter after he announced a Rs500 crore (approximately US$66 million) donation. In his message he stated, “In this exceptionally difficult period, I believe that urgent emergency resources need to be deployed to cope with the needs of fighting the Covid-19 crisis, which is one of the toughest challenges the human race will face.” Tata Sons and Tata Trusts have contributed a combined Rs1,500 crore (approximately US$200 million) to the fight against Covid-19.

Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, co-founders of Alibaba, have donated 2.3 million masks, 170,000 pieces of protective gear, and 2,000 ventilators to New York—the US epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

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

Meer Foundation, an NGO that works to rehabilitate burn and acid attack survivors and empower women in India, is joining the fight against Covid-19. Along with Ek Saath-The Earth Foundation, it will provide food to over 5,500 families and set up a kitchen to produce 2,000 cooked meals for households and hospitals in India. Meer Foundation and Roti Foundation will provide 300,000 meal kits for 10,000 people per day for at least a month. Meer Foundation will also provide essential items and groceries to over 3,500 wage workers across Delhi.

China NGO Consortium for Covid-19 was jointly launched by foundations (including the Narada Foundation) and local NGOs on February 2, 2020. So far, 67 Chinese foundations and NGOs have joined the consortium to share information and technical knowledge, build the capacity of front-line NGOs, and mobilize funding. The consortium also fosters collaborating to coordinate the social sector’s response to the pandemic.

Singapore’s Community Chest, the fundraising arm of the government’s National Council of Social Service, is giving SG$3,000 (approximately US$2,100) to social service agencies to cope with outbreak-related expenses.

THE BUSINESSES
Companies are setting up their own Covid-19 relief funds, leveraging their resources to contribute to relief efforts, and supporting government initiatives. Others are offering medical supplies, food and beverages, and cash vouchers to affected communities. Companies across Asia are also taking a “business not as usual” approach to help relieve financial stress.

Setting up funds to help combat Covid-19.

Hang Lung Group established the Hang Lung Novel Coronavirus Relief Fund to support a series of volunteering activities to combat Covid-19. This includes delivering health and food kits to over 10,000 beneficiaries in Hong Kong and mainland China. Hang Lung also donated nearly US$1 million from the Fund to Leishenshan Hospital.

Bajaj Group committed Rs100 crore (nearly US$14 million) to the fight against Covid-19 in India. The funding will go towards multiple initiatives including upgrading healthcare infrastructure, testing, and procuring medical equipment. A significant portion will go towards an economic aid program in rural areas, which includes direct survival grants followed by a livelihood intervention using a revolving fund mode. 

Jollibee Group allocated nearly US$20 million for an emergency fund to provide its employees with the needed financial support during the quarantine period enforced in the Philippines. The fund covers all employees of the Group’s offices, stores, commissaries, and logistics centers, including senior citizens and people with disabilities assigned to stores under the joint employment program with local government units.

Gokongwei Group’s philanthropic arm, the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation, established a near US$2 million fund to help fight Covid-19 in the Philippines. Funds are earmarked for front-line healthcare workers and will be distributed among UP Medical Foundation, referral hospitals identified by the Department of Health, and other hospitals at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19. The Foundation has also distributed in-kind donations, including PPE.

The Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings Group of the Ty family pledged a US$4 million fund for initiatives that support the fight against Covid-19 in the Philippines. These initiatives will help produce test kits and purchase PPE for front-line healthcare workers.

Macquarie Group is joining the effort and allocating A$20 million (approximately US$13 million) to the Macquarie Group Foundation to support select nonprofits in their response and relief work for Covid-19. Alongside this, the Foundation is offering flexible funding to its grantees during this time.

Supporting government initiatives.

Aboitiz Group’s Ramon Aboitiz Foundation partnered with the Cebu City government and the Metropolitan Cebu Water District for #HUNAW, a handwashing campaign to help mitigate Covid-19. The initiative includes installing sinks in areas with low water supply and without clean handwashing facilities, as well as deploying handwashing trucks to reach impoverished communities and densely populated informal settlements.

PLDT, one of the Philippines’ largest telecommunications companies, teamed up with the Department of Health to establish an emergency hotline for Covid-19. PLDT chairman and chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan said the collaboration is part of the company’s continuing efforts to fight Covid-19, noting that the hotline can help provide information and enable health authorities to deliver proper patient diagnosis and treatment.

India’s PM CARES fund, the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance & Relief in Emergency Situations Fund, has seen significant contributions from India’s private sector. Among the list of donations are: Rs500 crore (approximately US$67 million) from Reliance Industries; Rs400 crore (approximately US$53 million) from Aditya Birla Group; Rs150 crore (approximately US$20 million) from HDFC Group; Rs105 crore (approximately US$14 million) from LIC; and Rs50 crore (US$7 million) from Uday Kotak and Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Bangladesh Association of Banks donated Tk147.73 crore (approximately US$18 million) to the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund for purchasing medical equipment to combat Covid-19.

Indonesian conglomerate Bakrie Group donated US$1.2 million to the Covid-19 taskforce led by the government’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency. Bakrie Group CEO and president director Anindya Bakrie stated that his company wanted to contribute to helping the government combat the Covid-19 outbreak in Indonesia as the pandemic had led to a “multi-dimensional crisis”.

Korean conglomerate LG will donate 50,000 diagnostic test kits to Indonesia to help the Indonesian government handle the spread of Covid-19.

Companies are leveraging their resources to help fight Covid-19. Examples include: Godrej Group, which launched the #ProtektIndiaMovement, a nationwide campaign to promote mass awareness around handwashing. As the country’s second-largest soap maker, the Group has pledged to ramp up its production to meet the demand for soap and sanitizers. Indorama Ventures (IVL), the Thai petrochemical company, is accelerating the production of a fiber to make 54 million masks in one month.

Companies are donating PPE, test kits, and other medical equipment to front-line healthcare workers and affected communities. Examples include: Hang Lung Group in Hong Kong and mainland China; Aboitiz Group, SM Group, and Filinvest Development Corp in the Philippines; Chaudhary Group in Nepal; and Sido Muncul and Mayapada Group and the Tahir Foundation in Indonesia.

Companies are donating food, beverages, and cash vouchers to communities affected by quarantine measures, such as low-income families and daily-wage earners. Examples include: Aboitiz Group’s food subsidiary Pilmico, Fruitas Holdings, Manila Water Foundation, Jollibee Group, and San Miguel Corporation in the Philippines; Chaudhary Group in Nepal; Sido Muncul and Mayapada Group and the Tahir Foundation in Indonesia; and Reliance Industries in India. Companies with large numbers of daily-wage earners in their ecosystem, like Zee Group in India, are committing to continuing their pay to ensure that families of daily-wage earners are not severely impacted during Covid-19.

Companies in the Philippines are joining forces through the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), a private sector disaster risk reduction and management network. PDRF has partnered with Globe Telecom’s e-wallet service Gcash, Fintech Alliance Philippines, Smart Communications’ e-wallet service Paymaya, and crowdfunding platform Gava Gives to purchase PPE for healthcare institutions. Another example is Project Ugnayan, a fundraising initiative led by top business conglomerates in cooperation with the PDRF and Caritas Manila. The initiative has reached a total of P1.62 billion (approximately US$33 million) in donations to aid those economically displaced by the ongoing Enhanced Community Quarantine in Greater Metro Manila.

Real estate companies are waiving rent so that tenants can lend more financial assistance to their employees. Examples include: SM Supermalls, Gokongwei Group’s Robinsons Land Corp, and Filinvest Lifemalls in the Philippines; and Central Pattana, Phuket Square, and Rangsit Plaza in Thailand.

Banks are setting forth financial relief measures for their customers. The Straits Times shares examples of banks around the world, including in Singapore and Malaysia, that are suspending loan repayments as Covid-19 upends financial stability for many borrowers. Another example is Gokongwei Group’s Robinsons Bank in the Philippines, which is offering its customers an extension of the payment period for their various loan products.

Another company taking a “business not as usual” approach is Coca-Cola Philippines. It canceled all of its commercial advertising activities and dedicated its advertising budget of US$2.94 million to supporting Covid-19 relief and response efforts. The funds will support front-line healthcare workers and economically challenged communities in the Philippines. The company also pledged support to its distributors who serve small sari-sari stores and carinderias.

THE SOCIAL ENTERPRISES
While social enterprises are joining the fight against Covid-19, they’re also bearing the financial brunt of the pandemic.

Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre surveyed 239 startups and social enterprises in Malaysia on the impact of Covid-19 on their business. About 25% said they will not be able to survive for longer than two more months, and a mere 3% are confident of surviving at all if Covid-19 continues for more than 12 months. When asked about the need for financial aid, 35% said they needed loans, 24% asked for grants or subsidies, and 4% asked for deferment in repayments. However, the majority (75%) were unaware or unsure of the various support instruments or incentives available during this time. For example, Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara, and CIMB Bank have both set forth financial relief measures for borrowers.

THE INNOVATORS
Social innovation is leading to new ways to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Thai hospitals deploy ‘ninja robots’ to aid coronavirus battles. The robots were first built to monitor recovering stroke patients but have been quickly repurposed to help fight Covid-19. So far, the robots have helped staff at four hospitals in and around Bangkok to reduce the risk of infection by allowing doctors and nurses to speak to patients over video. Later models will be designed to bring food and medicine to patients and to disinfect hospital wards.

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

Azim Premji Foundation published a Covid-19 Pandemic Response Plan, a set of guidelines for civil society organizations in India looking to join the fight against Covid-19 and amplify their efforts. The Foundation brought together experts and practitioners from relevant fields to adumbrate areas of response in which organizations can contribute significantly to relief efforts, including assessing critical needs and conducting the “last-mile connect and delivery” of supplies and services to extend the reach of government relief measures.

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

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

16 March 2020 - 29 March 2020

THE GIVERS
Philanthropists are funding vaccine research, donating supplies, and setting up funds to support hard-hit communities. Crowdfunding websites in Indonesia and Singapore are also seeing a surge in donations.

Jack Ma, Alibaba co-founder, has donated millions of masks, test kits, and other relief materials to countries around the world. This includes the hardest-hit countries—the United States, Korea, Iran, Spain, and Italy—as well as other countries across EuropeAsia, Latin America, and Africa. Ma’s initiative is a collaboration between his eponymous foundation and Alibaba Foundation. The Jack Ma Foundation pledged US$14.4 million to vaccine research—including US$2.15 million to Australia’s Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and US$2.15 million to researchers at Columbia University in New York. 

Anand Mahindra, Mahindra Group chairman, offered 100% of his salary to a new Mahindra Foundation fund that will assist hardest-hit communities like small businesses and self-employed individuals.

Lei Jun, Xiaomi CEO, contributed US$1.8 million to relief efforts. The donation went to his home province of Hubei—the epicenter of the outbreak.

Li Ka Shing, Hong Kong tycoon, donated US$13 million to help Wuhan amidst its outbreak. His eponymous foundation also sourced medical supplies for hospital workers in Hong Kong and Wuhan.

The Lee family, which controls Henderson Land Development, set up an anti-epidemic foundation with seed-funding of US$1.4 million.

Adrian Cheng, scion of the family group behind New World Development and Chow Tai Fook Jewellery, donated over US$7 million to nonprofits, schools, and hospital in Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

Indonesian crowdfunding platform Kitabisa sees surge in fundraising campaigns for Covid-19. A total of 513 campaigns have been initiated by public figures, nonprofits, and members of the general public. Total donations amounted to US$1.4 million as of March 23.

Giving.sg, sees 67% spike in donations. More than US$1.5 million was raised on Singapore’s official fundraising site. 15% of the total was raised from campaigns included in the SG United Movement—a government initiative launched on February 20th to streamline contributions to coronavirus-related initiatives.

THE NONPROFITS
Charities in different cities are stepping up their operations and raising money for communities both at home and abroad.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust set up a HK$50 million (approximately US$6.5 million) Covid-19 Emergency Fund to provide emergency support to local communities and mitigate the health and societal impact of the outbreak.

Singapore Red Cross collected donations worth more than US$4.5 million for relief efforts related to the outbreak. Approximately US$1.7 million went to purchasing and distributing protective equipment for hospital staff and other healthcare workers in China. The charity also worked to educate Singaporeans about the outbreak by calling and visiting senior citizens to ease their concerns.

Pakistan’s largest charities, including Al-Khidmat Foundation and Saylani Welfare, are aiding the country’s Covid-19 efforts. Al-Khidmat Foundation is distributing soaps, sanitizers, and face masks across the country, and has designated isolation wards in the 52 charity hospitals it runs. Saylani Welfare has introduced a mobile phone application and telephone service where families in need can register themselves to get rations and supplies.

THE BUSINESSES
Companies are setting up their own Covid-19 relief funds, leveraging their resources to contribute to relief efforts, and supporting government initiatives. Others are donating through charities or donating needed medical supplies. Companies across Asia are also taking a “business not as usual” approach to help relieve financial stress.

Setting up funds to help combat Covid-19.

Tencent announced a US$100 million Global Anti-Pandemic Fund, with an initial focus on sourcing medical supplies for hospitals and healthcare workers. Prior to this global fund, Tencent had also established the China Anti-Pandemic Fund, which had allocated US$211 million towards research, medical supplies, technology support, as well as towards support for frontline workers, patients and their families. 

Alibaba set up a US$144 million fund to source medical supplies for Wuhan and Hubei province.

Godrej Group earmarked a fund of around US$7 million for community support and relief initiatives in India focused on public health.

Swire Group Charitable Trust (Swire Trust) established the HK$3 million (approximately US$400,000) “Community Fund to fight Covid-19” to support NGOs in delivering their services safely amidst the outbreak. Swire Group also donated over US$1.5 million to help combat the outbreak in Hong Kong.

K. Wah International (KWIH) announced a roughly US$500,000 donation through its KWIH Anti-Epidemic Fund for Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (TWGH). The fund will convert part of the Jockey Club Ngai Chun Integrated Vocational Rehabilitation Centre into a surgical mask production factory. TWGH will provide job training for people with disabilities to assist in the production of an estimated 2.2 million surgical masks per month.

Samsung Group raised nearly US$1 billion for an emergency support fund to aid to its subcontractors amidst Covid-19.

HSBC announced a US$25 million Covid-19 donation fund. The money will support international medical response, protect vulnerable communities, and ensure food security around the world. US$15 million will be made available immediately, with the remaining designated for long-term Covid-19 commitments.

Supporting government initiatives.

Unilever Vietnam committed US$2.245 million and partnered with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education and Training to implement its “Stay Strong Vietnam” initiative. Unilever also pledged to donate 550 tonnes of personal hygiene items, sanitization products, and food products to over 1.6 million people across 3,000 schools, hospitals, and isolated communities.

Petronas contributed nearly US$5 million worth of medical equipment and supplies for medical front-liners in Malaysia through its CSR arm Yayasan Petronas. The contribution will be carried out in stages in collaboration with Malaysia’s Ministry of Health and the National Disaster Management Agency.

Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) and Government-Linked Investment Companies’ (GLICs) Disaster Response Network, is coordinating support from companies to assist the Malaysian Health Ministry in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. The Disaster Response Network is managed by a joint secretariat led by Yayasan Hasanah, a foundation under Khazanah Nasional, and Telekom Malaysia. Early contributions from GLCs, GLICs, and private sector entities exceed US$9 million.

Malaysian companies including Spanco, DRB-HICOM, MMC Corp, and YTL Corp contributed donations ranging from US$230,000 to US$500,000 to the Covid-19 fund launched by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

11 Filipino-Chinese organizations, led by the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, announced a donation of nearly US$2 million worth of medical supplies. The donation will help the Philippines’ Department of Health acquire testing kits and other protective equipment.

Tencent joined Baidu and ByteDance to donate a total of US$115 million towards researching new treatments and helping authorities in the most affected areas in China.

Adaro Energy, Indonesia’s major coal producer, gave the government US$1.3 million to help it fight Covid-19 through its task force.

Leveraging their own resources.

Alibaba Cloud, DAMO Academy, and DingTalk together launched a series of AI technologies and cloud-based solutions to support companies and research organizations worldwide.

Mahindra Group offered resorts owned by the company to be used as Covid-19 hospitals. The Group’s chairman announced that the company is prepared to help government efforts. The Group’s engineering team also indigenously developed a prototype for a ventilator that could cost less than US$100 each.

Reliance will make 100,000 masks per day and offer free fuel to emergency vehicles. Reliance’s CSR arm has prepared one of its hospitals in Mumbai to be India’s first 100-bed facility for Covid-19 patients, and is offering free meals in various cities to support affected communities.

New World Development is outfitting a factory to manufacture more than 200,000 masks per day, and it has partnered with a nanotechnology company to research how nanodiamonds can be used to make masks more protective against bacteria and viruses.

Donating through charities or donating supplies.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs in India announced that the spending of CSR funds towards Covid-19 initiatives is eligible to be counted as CSR activity under the Companies Act. This frees up around US$2 billion in philanthropic capital to go towards combatting Covid-19.

Tata Trusts has committed nearly US$200 million to fight Covid-19. The funds will be used to buy protective equipment for medical workers, respiratory systems, testing kits, as well as for setting up modular treatment facilities for patients.

Shimao Property Holdings donated around US$4 million, via the Red Cross Society of China, to help combat the outbreak.

APP, a subsidiary of Indonesia-based Sinar Mars Group, donated US$14.4 million to the Overseas Chinese Charity Foundation of China.

Huawei contributed to the construction of the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan and donated medical supplies, computer tablets, and other technological equipment to several European countries. This includes 2 million face masks.

Hyundai Motor Group, SK Group, and LG Group donated over US$4 million each to the Community Chest of Korea to assist the hardest-hit city of Daegu and North Gyeongsang province.

Samsung Group donated a combined US$24.6 million to the Korea Disaster Relief Association.

Hana Financial Group, Shinsegae Group, Doosan Group, and CJ Group each offered nearly US$1 million in donations to the Korea Disaster Relief Association.

Lotte Group donated nearly US$1 million, of which US$254,000 went to the Korean Red Cross.

For hard-hit communities, including those in North Gyeongsang province, SK Group’s SK Siltron announced nearly US$400,000 for face masks and hand sanitizers. LG Household & Healthcare announced nearly US$1 million for hand sanitizer. Lotte provided meals and hygienic supplies to welfare facilities and gave sanitization products, food, and daily necessities to lower-income households, senior citizens, and healthcare workers.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son pledged to donate 1 million masks to elderly care facilities and doctors in Japan.

Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo, is donating 10 million masks to medical institutions in Japan and around the world. It’s also donating garments for medical staff and 1 million masks to countries with high infection rates—including the United States and Italy. 

Shiseido Group donated US$1.43 million to the Shanghai Charity Foundation and US$143,000 to the Charity Foundation of Wuhan. It also announced the Relay of Love Project, which will allocate 1% of the Group’s sales in Asian markets, between February and July this year, as in-house funds to support regions most affected by Covid-19.

Ayeyarwady Foundation together with Max Myanmar Group, AYA Bank, and AYA Sompo Insurance contributed over US$72,000 worth of medical supplies, hospital equipment, and protective materials to Waibargi Hospital and Yankin Children Hospital.

“Business not as usual” approach.

Gojek is offering a stipend to its driver-partners that test positive for Covid-19. Gojek is also extending support to healthcare workers in Indonesia by waiving food delivery fees in areas near hospitals and offering vouchers for trips to and from hospitals and testing centers.

Ayala Group announced around a US$47 million response package to offer financial relief to businesses within its ecosystem. This includes salary continuance for affected employees and partners, as well as rent-free periods for tenants of Ayala malls, which are closed during the community quarantine till April 14.

Bangkok Bank donated over US$300,000 to Thammasat University Field Hospital, the King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital and Thai Red Cross Society. The bank is also introducing financial relief measures such as reducing minimum payment rate for credit card customers to 5%.

CIMB in Malaysia is offering a six-month moratorium for customers on all types of financing payments except for credit cards. Credit card customers can now opt in to convert their outstanding balances into a term loan/financing over a period of up to 36 months.

THE SOCIAL ENTERPRISES
Social enterprises are adjusting their work to address the needs arising from Covid-19.

Hong Kong social enterprises are rising to the occasion to help combat the outbreak. SoapCycling has distributed masks and soap salvaged from local hotels to nearly 3,000 of the city’s street cleaners. Sew On Studio is selling face mask kits with fabric made by the city’s elderly tailors. Rooftop Republic, which usually promotes urban farming, is making washable, eco-friendly masks that can be worn over surgical masks.

Chinese social enterprise Yishan, a data-driven donor advisor, has built a platform for donations towards supporting Covid-19 relief efforts. So far, Yishan has registered over 40,000 grantmakers and 5,000 public charities, who have raised over US$4.5 billion thus far for their efforts in fighting Covid-19.

THE VOLUNTEERS
New volunteers are stepping up and coming together to help their communities during the crisis.

A new generation of volunteers emerges in Wuhan. Amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, ordinary people stepped up and joined forces to take care of emergency needs unmet by an overwhelmed government. Networks of young volunteers were formed over social media to respond to a variety of needs, from sourcing masks for hospitals to driving medical staff to and from work.

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
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought much attention to financial markets and businesses, but the nonprofit sector has also been severely impacted in these unprecedented times. These resources offer guidelines for how the sector can weather the storm.

India Development Review highlights five ways funders around the world are helping their partners cope with Covid-19. IDR has also crowdsourced guidelines and practices that social sector organizations—from donors to field workers—are taking in response to Covid-19.

Who’s Doing Good?

20 January 2020 - 2 February 2020

THE GIVERS

Jack Ma donates US$14 million to develop coronavirus vaccine. CNN reports that China’s richest man Jack Ma has donated a total of ¥100 million (US$14.4 million) through his eponymous foundation to help develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. The Alibaba founder has earmarked ¥40 million (US$5.8 million) for two Chinese government research organizations, while the remainder will support prevention and treatment measures. Alibaba has also announced a ¥1 billion (US$144 million) fund “to buy medical supplies for Wuhan and Hubei province, the epicenter of the virus outbreak.” According to the China Daily, other Chinese companies are also donating funds and offering measures of support to coronavirus treatment efforts.

Chinese tech giants and global philanthropists donate to help fight coronavirus outbreak. In addition to Alibaba, Chinese tech giants Baidu, Tencent, Huawei, and ByteDance are also offering support to help combat the novel coronavirus. Together, Baidu, Tencent, and ByteDance have pledged ¥800 million (US$115 million) to research new treatments and help authorities in the most-affected areas. Huawei has contributed by supporting the construction of the new Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan. Other companies from Chinese sportswear brand Anta Sports to large multinationals in the U.S. and Europe are also joining the effort. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it would commit US$10 million to support first responders in China and Africa, including US$5 million for treatment and vaccine development.

THE THINKERS

Philanthropists save their legacy, but the next generation saves the world, according to new report. A new Campden Wealth report, Global Trends and Strategic Time Horizons in Family Philanthropy 2020, reveals little variation in environmental priority for philanthropists globally. Educational causes remained the biggest beneficiaries of average philanthropic portfolios—with Asia-Pacific families being the biggest allocators to education. But next-gen philanthropists are shifting priorities as they move into decision-making roles in their families’ charities. Campden Wealth’s director of research noted, “Beyond next-gens’ strong influence in the sustainable investment space, they are also set to significantly affect philanthropic giving. This can result in more meaningful funding for certain important causes, such as the environment.”

THE NONPROFITS

Gates Foundation launches new agriculture-focused nonprofit. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Agricultural Innovations, or Gates Ag One, is a new nonprofit subsidiary of the foundation. It will focus on helping smallholder farmers—the majority of whom are women—adapt to climate change. As the president of the Gates Foundation’s Global Growth & Opportunity division noted, “While smallholder farms are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, the private sector is not incentivized to bring promising early-stage discovery to development in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.” Gates Ag One will work to not only accelerate agricultural research and development, but also make early-stage discoveries more accessible and affordable to smallholder farmers. 

THE BUSINESSES

SK Chairman Chey Tae-won advocates social value measurement model in Davos. Mr. Chey has advocated corporate social value creation since 2013, when he first proposed the concept at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “It is not an option but an obligation to change the goals and systems of corporate management from the interests of shareholders to those of stakeholders,” Chairman Chey said. At this year’s forum, he discussed SK’s developments in this area including the Group’s social value measurement model, which has been used to measure social value created by social enterprises since 2014 and by SK affiliates since 2018. In addition, SK Group has joined forces with the OECD, World Bank, the world’s four biggest accounting firms, and other companies to form the nonprofit Value Balancing Alliance and develop a standardized measurement model that can be accepted internationally. 

Top Indian companies’ CSR arms join forces to combat climate change. The philanthropic arms of leading Indian corporates announced a new partnership to combat climate change: the India Climate Collaborative (ICC). ICC will work to “strengthen the climate community locally, build a climate narrative, and drive solutions that will ensure both the natural world and people thrive.” The collaborative includes industry leaders such as the Tatas, Mahindras, Godrejs and Premjis. Vodyah Shah, Rohini Nilekani, and Harmendra Kothari are also part of the 40-member collective. Tata Trusts Chairman Ratan Tata had this to say about the ICC, “Our collective leadership through the ICC will indicate to the world that Indian philanthropy is ready to be a leader in climate action.”

THE INNOVATORS

Malaysia urged to make social enterprise scheme simpler. Thomson Reuters Foundation reports on the 22 social enterprises in Malaysia who received accreditation this month through a new government-backed scheme. The accreditation officially recognizes social enterprises and offers tax deductions and access to grants. Entrepreneurs expressed hope that accreditation will help raise awareness among the public and businesses. However, some said the registration process was too cumbersome. Analysts warn that regulations can sometimes have the unintended consequence of hindering the growth of social enterprises. This article urges Malaysia to make its new social enterprise registration simpler and to offer greater financial incentives to boost the growing sector.

IN OTHER NEWS…

Local Red Cross under fire over China coronavirus donations remaining in warehouse. Aljazeera reports on recent allegations against the Wuhan Red Cross and Hubei provincial Red Cross over their distribution of donations. A report from Hubei’s Red Cross revealed that only 200,000 of 2 million masks donated from across China had been delivered to hospitals. It was also revealed that hospitals designated to treat coronavirus-infected patients were receiving fewer supplies than others. A Red Cross official explained their decision, stating that the masks were “KN95” standard rather than the “N95” standard required for frontline medical workers. Wuhan Red Cross is also being questioned about the ¥390 million (US$56 million) cash donations it received, of which only 13% has been spent on supplies. According to the article, Hubei Red Cross later apologized on its official Weibo account, saying it was “deeply regretful” about what had happened. Some hospitals are now only accepting direct donations and bypassing intermediaries.

Who’s Doing Good?

5 August 2019 - 18 August 2019

THE GIVERS

Li Ka-shing donates HK$500 million (approximately US$64 million) to The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Hong Kong’s richest man and notable philanthropist Li Ka-shing is helping establish the city’s first synthetic biology institute through his most recent donation. Synthetic biology is a cross-disciplinary area of research in which genomes are designed and modified to help resolve challenges in life sciences. Advances in the field can impact key areas of human development such as manufacturing, medicine development, and food production. The need for innovations in such areas is urgent: current and future increases in global population are straining resources and necessitate the development of alternatives. Speaking on the occasion, Li underscored the vision behind his gift, “Just as synthetic chemistry and petroleum was central to the 20th Century, synthetic biology and DNA are the technology engines of this century, bringing disruption to traditional manufacturing and new opportunities in the industrialization of biology.”

Mano Amiga Philippines and She Talks Asia co-founder, Lynn Pinugu, discusses why she gives back to society. Lynn Pinugu traces the roots of her philanthropy to a financial crisis her family went through when she was in university. Her writing skills helped her win a journalism competition, which awarded her with a scholarship that supported her studies. She realized that children who lacked basic education would struggle to access such opportunities. After graduating, Pinugu volunteered in Mexico where she came across Mano Amiga, a network of low-cost schools transforming the lives of underprivileged students. She replicated their model in the Philippines in 2008, impacting over seven hundred lives since. Pinugu further expanded her work and founded She Talks Asia to support women in her country who are confined by traditional gender roles. Through She Talks Asia, Pinugu is offering them a safe space to discuss these issues. She concludes that humility and an eagerness to learn have kept her motivated in this journey.

THE THINKERS

Singapore falls quite behind Malaysia in responsible investing, according to Blooomberg. Singapore edges its regional competitor in several metrics such as efficiency and quality of life. In fact, CAPS’ Doing Good Index 2018 found that Singapore is one of Asia’s three economies doing the most to catalyze private social investment—Malaysia ranked a tier below. But a new Bloomberg report finds that fewer asset managers in Singapore have incorporated environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into their investment decisions relative to their Malaysian counterparts. In fact, nearly twice as many asset managers in Malaysia have developed their own ESG scoring models as compared to Singapore. These discrepancies, according to Ben McCarron, founder of sustainable finance analysis firm Asia Research & Engagement, are attributable to Malaysia’s clear regulatory push towards responsible investing. As a global center for Islamic finance, Malaysian investors are also more familiar with the use of social factors to guide their investments. Overall, however, Asia still lags behind financial centers in Europe and the United States when it comes to responsible investing.

The Economist Intelligence Unit profiles the impact investing landscape in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa in new report. Commissioned by Standard Chartered Private Bank, the report aims to create knowledge for high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) on sustainable finance and its intersection with philanthropy. The goal of the study is to help HNWIs decide how to allocate their portfolios to achieve the best return against their requirements. The report—based on desk research and in-depth interviews of eight experts—focuses on Asia, the Middle East, and Africa as these regions are witnessing the highest growth in either receiving or propelling sustainable finance, impact investing, and philanthropy. One of the report’s five main observations concerns definitions: there are often very subtle differences between terms such as impact investing and sustainable investing. The report recommends HNWIs to set clear parameters and objectives to navigate gray areas in the definitions.  

The path to scale is broken for nonprofits. In an opinion piece published by India Development Review, Dhananjay Rohini argues that the support ecosystem surrounding nonprofits may be failing them in their pursuit of scale. Nonprofits often find themselves solving “inherently harder” problems such as those arising out of market failures or weak institutions. Amid these challenges, nonprofits must also bear the high transactional costs of seeking funding for one project at a time. The successful delivery of projects may improve the chances of future funding, but “donor fatigue” could still be an impediment. This situation is quite contrary to the private sector where multiple mechanisms exist for raising funding and where unremarkable but stable companies often succeed in attracting funding. Among the strategies Rohini lays down to alleviate some of these failings are: donors paying the entire costs of programs, and funding large-scale initiatives instead of individual projects. Non-pecuniary support in payroll management, reporting, and HR can also help nonprofits focus on the core problems they seek to solve.   

THE NONPROFITS

Founder of nonprofit helping trafficking victims named among 2019 Class of Asia 21 Young Leaders by Asia Society. Ta Ngoc Van is the chief lawyer at Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit based in Hanoi which rescues Vietnamese women and girls who fall victim to human trafficking. Van is credited with helping 800 trafficking victims and has provided legal representation to nearly a hundred. Human trafficking affects over 40 million women, children, and men and according to the International Labour Organization, citizens of the Asia Pacific region are twice as likely to be at risk as those of a developed country. The Ministry of Public Security in Vietnam reports that about 80% of human trafficking victims end up in China. According to the article, this is in part due to the country’s gender imbalance, which is seen to exacerbate the issue. Van’s fellow honorees are playing their part in alleviating the region’s challenges through journalism, policy advocacy, and technology among others.  

THE BUSINESSES

KKR’s Global Impact Fund exceeds US$1 billion fundraising goal. The global investment firm, which manages assets worth US$148 billion, announced the Global Impact Fund as its first impact-focused fund in 2018. This new fund employs UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to guide investment decisions. The actual “investment playbook,” concerning the type, duration, and commitment to value-add, however, remains the same. The Global Impact Fund joins the likes of TPG’s US$2 billion Rise Fund, the world’s largest impact investing pool, and similar funds from Bain Capital and Partners Group. Co-head of KKR Global Impact, Ken Mehlman, states that the fund will allow KKR to access investment opportunities that previously had to be let go due to their size; the new fund will prioritize deals worth US$100 million or below. The fund has already deployed two investments: US$32.4 million in Singapore-based energy-saving company Barghest Building Performance, and about US$510 million in Indian environmental management company, Ramky Enviro Engineers. The latter investment is understood to have been funded in part from the Global Impact Fund and KKR’s 2017 Asian Fund III worth US$9.3 billion.

THE INNOVATORS

Korea’s SK Group developing blockchain donation platform. The donation platform will enable direct, low-cost, and peer-to-peer foreign currency donations that will be settled immediately without requiring any input from external or intermediary institutions. Cross-border money transfers are subject to various fees if sent through traditional intermediaries, and blockchain technology has emerged as a promising solution to the problem. This application of the technology, however, is yet to achieve mainstream approval despite its merits. While no firm deadline has been quoted for the project, SK Group has committed that the platform will be open sourced. Interested developers will be able to replicate the platform and alter parameters such as transaction terms. Donations on the platform will be settled in Korean won through the Social Value Coin (SVC), which will be pegged to the won in a 1:1 ratio. Another token, Social Value Power (SVP), will be distributed as reward to donors at the ratio 1:1000 SVCs (or Korean won).

Who’s Doing Good?

13 May 2019 - 26 May 2019

THE GIVERS

Lu Weiding named the most generous Chinese philanthropist. Hurun Report released its “Hurun China Philanthropy List 2019,” ranking the most generous philanthropists from Greater China. Lu Weiding, chief executive of Wanxiang Group, tops the list with a single donation of shares worth US$720 million. The donation was made to a charitable trust in memory of his father, Lu Guanqiu, who founded Wanxiang in 1969 and grew it into a multinational conglomerate that is China’s largest auto components company today. Ranked second this year, Chen Yidan, co-founder of Tencent, made a US$500 million gift comprised mainly of Tencent shares. He is followed by Xu Jiayin, chairman of Evergrande Group, who made a US$230 million donation. This year’s list also sees a notable increase in female philanthropists–up to 21 from 13–with Wu Yajun, chairwoman of Longfor Properties, leading with US$20 million in donations.

THE THINKERS

Challenges in measuring China’s nonprofit sector. A pioneering study, Research on the Calculation of NPO-GDP in China, conducted by Professor Ma Qingyu and his team from Beijing Wanzhong Social Innovation Institute (BWSII), aims to measure the burgeoning social sector’s contribution to China’s economy. The findings were presented at an international symposium hosted by BWSII and The Asia Foundation. Lester M. Salamon, a leading global expert on the empirical study of the nonprofit sector, hailed the study as an important step in measuring the economic footprint of the third sector. However, he noted that the definition of the “third or social economy” sector used by Ma, who follows the convention laid by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs, is limiting. It excludes volunteer work, as well as organizations such as social enterprises, cooperatives, schools, and hospitals that earn significant market incomes but do not distribute their profits. Salamon believes that a broader definition of the third sector, detailed in a UN handbook of which he is the lead author, is more commonly used internationally and would make it easier for China to share the story of its sizeable third sector with the world.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Sustainability Conference explores global trends of circular economy and sustainable finance. The conference, which is organized by CUHK’s MBA students, convened thought leaders and practitioners from both the public and private sectors to discuss growing global trends and recent developments in sustainability. The conference has traditionally focused on corporate philanthropy and company-initiated social services under the umbrella of corporate social responsibility. This year’s iteration also underscored the importance of advancing sustainability efforts and supporting innovative approaches towards creating positive social and environmental impact. Emerging trends in sustainability were discussed, including circular economy, ESG, and green finance, with an aim of nurturing the next generation of sustainability-minded business leaders.

THE BUSINESSES

Alibaba releases inaugural philanthropy report detailing the company’s social impact. Alibaba Group has released its inaugural philanthropy report, which details the company’s philanthropic initiatives and highlights its three platforms: Alibaba Philanthropy, Alipay Philanthropy, and “Each Person Three Hours.” According to the report 440 million individuals across China have used these platforms in the past 12 months, raising over US$184 million in charitable donations. Over 15 million people registered on the “Each Person Three Hours” platform, which lists over 3.05 million volunteer opportunities. In addition to showcasing Alibaba’s integration of philanthropy into each part of its business ecosystem and the company’s encouragement of personal philanthropy by employees, the report also lists several examples of Alibaba’s philanthropic initiatives outside of China. Sun Lijun, head of the Alibaba Foundation, underscored the Group’s commitment to philanthropy, “Here at Alibaba, philanthropy is the core of our business model. Our foremost priority is providing effective and sustainable solutions to problems faced by society.” Since 2011, when Jack Ma founded the Alibaba Foundation and announced a commitment of 0.3% of the group’s annual revenues to social responsibility initiatives, the e-commerce giant has grown to be a leader in corporate social responsibility in China.

Thai company partners with nonprofit Alliance for Smiles to provide surgery for 100 Myanmar children. In celebration of 30 years of their business in Myanmar, Thai oil and gas company PTTEP Myanmar Asset is funding surgeries for children suffering from cleft lip or palate. The initiative is in partnership with Alliance for Smiles, a volunteer-driven nonprofit that offers free comprehensive treatment for children suffering from these conditions in under-served communities. Thanks to PTTEP’s donation of US$100,000, Alliance for Smiles will be able to offer surgery to 100 children in Myanmar. During the signing of the agreement, PTTEP Myanmar Asset’s general manager stated, “We are very pleased with the results of this cooperation with Alliance for Smiles. This benefits not only the individuals but the entire community in the long run.”

Tata Group helps restore damaged power network in wake of Cyclone Fani. While the Odisha government’s speedy evacuation saved the lives of millions, countless homes and power lines were destroyed by Cyclone Fani, one of the strongest storms to hit India in decades. To aid recovery efforts Tata Power sent a team of 25 engineers and technicians from its regular operations to resurrect the power network. Tata Trusts and Tata Projects Community Development Trust are also providing drinking water supplies to affected areas, while Tata Power Solar has distributed over 4,000 solar lanterns to villagers. Praveer Sinha, chief executive officer and managing director of Tata Power, said, “As an integral part of the Tata Group, we always endeavor to stand by the fellow Indians in need. After the global recognition to the country for successfully managing the cyclone, let us all join hands in resurrecting Odisha with our concentrated efforts.”

THE INNOVATORS

Kitkit School and onebillion announced as co-winners of Elon Musk’s US$15 million Global Learning XPRIZE. Launched in 2014, the Global Learning XPRIZE is a competition backed by Elon Musk that challenges teams across the globe to help end global illiteracy. Teams work to design and develop scalable, open-source software solutions that enable self-teaching of basic reading, writing, and arithmetic within 15 months on Pixel C tablets donated by Google. Kitkit school, created by Enuma, a leader in digital early learning based in Seoul and Berkeley, draws on technology and gamification to boost children’s confidence and empower them to be independent learners. onebillion, an educational nonprofit based in London, developed onetab, a learning device that offers onecourse, a comprehensive and modular adaptive learning software that responds to children’s different learning needs. The two winning teams will split the US$10 million Grand Prize sponsored by Elon Musk.

THE VOLUNTEERS

Employees and executives of POSCO gear up for “POSCO Global Volunteer Week.” As part of Korean steelmaker POSCO’s corporate social responsibility, 63,000 employees and executives working in 55 countries will participate in the company’s annual week-long volunteer event serving their respective communities. The volunteer week includes a panoply of community service opportunities such as enhancing energy efficiency, offering free English classes, and building an infirmary. Choi Jeong-woo emphasized the importance of the global volunteer week to the company, “POSCO employees will have the opportunity to share their knowledge and skills to help other members of society prosper.” POSCO announced that this year’s event slogan will be “Share the Talent, Change My Town.”

THE TRUSTBREAKERS

Prosecutors and witnesses describe flow of state funds into Najib’s accounts. The Straits Times reports on developments in the first of five criminal trials against former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who faces seven charges related to the 1Malaysia Development Berhdan (1MDB) scandal. The scandal centers on an alleged US$4.5 billion said to have been embezzled from 1MDB, a state investment fund set up under the Najib administration in 2009. Last week, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur heard witness testimonies recounting how fund transfers designated for CSR programs were made under the orders of chief executive of Yayasan Rakyat 1 Malaysia, a charitable foundation that had deployed CSR funding to Ihsan Perdana in the past. Instead, the funds allegedly ended up in Najib’s accounts and may have been used to pay off personal and political expenses. The trial is expected to continue until August.