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

28 April 2020 - 11 May 2020

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

Hussain Dawood, chairman of Pakistan’s Engro Corporation and Dawood Hercules Corporation, pledged PKR1 billion (approximately US$6.3 million), in services, supplies, and cash to support various organizations in their fight against Covid-19.

Enrique Razon and his group of companies have donated Php 500 million (approximately US$10 million) in medical supplies. The company foundations of both Solarie and International Container Terminal Services have also contributed to other relief efforts, such as creating and retrofitting Covid-19 treatment facilities and donating food.

Senior administrators at Hong Kong’s nine main universities are donating portions of their salaries to Covid-19 relief funds. Presidents and vice-presidents at The Education University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, The University of Hong Kong, Lingnan University, and The Open University of Hong Kong will give 10% of their salary for the next 12 months. The Chinese University of Hong Kong president, along with seven pro vice-chancellors and vice-presidents, will give 15% of their monthly salaries from May to December.

THE THINKERS

CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) Senior Adviser and Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics Scott Kennedy examines the response of Chinese philanthropists to Covid-19. According to data from the YISHAN China Philanthropy Data Center, donations to public charities from late January to April 22 had reached over US$5 billion. The large majority (72%) had come from companies. The article looks at the breakdown of corporate donations to Covid-19 relief efforts by industry, firm ownership, and regional distribution.

Tao Ze, Founder and President of YISHAN, shares his observations on Covid-19 and its effect on the nonprofit sector in China. This includes insights into the impact of the crisis on operations and growth of nonprofits, government support for the sector, and what other countries can learn from China’s social delivery organizations.

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

In 13 states in India, NGOs fed more people than government did during lockdown. According to a reply submitted by the central government to the Supreme Court: 84,260,509 people in India were provided meals during the lockdown that started on March 25. Overall nearly 37% people were fed by NGOs, but in 13 states, NGOs outperformed state governments in providing free meals. In nine states and union territories, NGOs fed more than 75% of the people who were provided meals during the lockdown. In Kerala and Telangana, all meals were exclusively provided by NGOs. To ensure uninterrupted supply of food grains for NGOs carrying out these services, the central government directed the Food Corporation of India to provide wheat and rice to NGOs at the open market sale rates without the e-auction process, which previously was only offered to state governments and registered bulk users.

THE BUSINESSES
Companies are contributing to Covid-19 relief funds and donating needed supplies to affected communities. Companies are also expanding their efforts to aid other countries where they operate.

In Japan, Sony announced that it will manufacture and donate medical face shields to hospitals to make up any shortfall in PPE (personal protective equipment) for healthcare workers. Sony will also help mass produce ventilators designed and developed by Acoma Medical Industry. Toyota, Suntory, Mitsubishi Motors, Teijin, Toray, Kao, Fast Retailing, and Shiseido have also pivoted their production lines or launched new operations to ease the shortage of medical supplies. Daiichi Sankyo announced a US$1 million donation, through the Japan Center for International Exchange, to the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. LINE Corporation and its group companies have set forth 15 different initiatives to support its users in Japan, as well as an array of initiatives for users in Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Thailand. These include facilitating donations, medical consultations, mental health counseling, and more. Mitsubishi Electric announced it will contribute JPY100 million (nearly US$1 million) to support frontline medical workers in Japan and children who are affected by the suspension of school. Eisai, the Japanese pharmaceutical company, is funding and donating PPE to healthcare institutions and organizations in Japan, 10 other Asian countries, the United States, and 8 European countries. 

In Korea, Oriental Brewery (OB) and L’Oreal, through their Korea arms, have contributed to relief funds, conducted volunteer activities, and donated supplies to help fight Covid-19.

In Indonesia, 13 Singaporean companies donated 100,000 masks and five tonnes of hand sanitizer to the city of Batam, where 11 of these companies operate. The effort was organized by Singapore’s Economic Development Board, and donations will go to frontline healthcare workers. Chinese iron and steel company Rockcheck Group and Indonesian conglomerate Rajawali Corpora joined forces and donated over a million surgical masks and gloves, after a previous donation of PPE, to support healthcare workers. The Rockcheck Group has donated 100 million yuan (US$14.1 million) so far to eight countries severely affected by the pandemic.

In Myanmar, telecom operator Ooredoo Myanmar donated over 13,000 pre-loaded SIM cards to regional and state governments to distribute to individuals in quarantine centers. Ooredoo is also providing toll-free call access to Consultation Call Centres for those seeking medical advice or information related to Covid-19. Korea’s SK Energy and SK Trading International have donated 4,000 Covid-19 test kits, worth around US$50,000, to Myanmar. POSCO International also donated 100 virus test kits that can run 10,000 tests to Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports.

In the Philippines, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) is aiding government relief fund distribution. RCBC was given the authority by the Monetary Board to accept government funds and assist in cash distribution under the social amelioration program for Covid-19. Downstream oil industry companies spent Php180 million (approximately US$3.6 million) through their CSR programs for Covid-19 relief efforts. They also donated PPE and gave free fuel to frontliners. The Philippines arm of Macau’s Suncity Group donated US$1 million worth of PPE to 40 public hospitals in Luzon province. LT Group has mobilized at least Php200 million (approximately US$4 million) worth of internal resources to aid frontline medical workers, healthcare institutions, and military personnel. Alliance Global Group companies have donated over Php603 million (approximately US$12 million) to support the country’s medical workers, NGOs, and impacted communities. It also waived rental charges for tenants in various Megaworld and Lifestyle Malls.

In Hong Kong, the business sector is contributing to the fight against Covid-19. A recent article in South China Morning Post highlights examples from the array of corporate relief measures—from offering financial support to providing hotel rooms and testing kits. Examples include relief efforts from HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, New World Development’s hotel arm, Pentahotel Hong Kong, and a collaboration between Prudential and Prenetics. Bank of China (Hong Kong), through its BOCHK Centenary Charity Programme, donated HK$50 million (approximately US$6.5 million) to charitable organization Po Leung Kuk to support a total of 31 programs. Bank of China (Hong Kong) also sponsored the distribution of anti-epidemic packs to Po Leung Kuk’s beneficiaries. Hong Kong-based Baring Private Equity Asi (BPEA) announced a US$5 million Covid-19 Relief Fund to support affected communities across the region. BPEA Founding Partner and CEO, along with the firm’s four other investment committee members, will forego and contribute 100% of their annual salaries.

In India, Goodera, a Series B funded startup and India’s largest platform for CSR and employee volunteering, is leading India Inc’s efforts against Covid-19. Goodera has curated a list of real-time needs of medical institutions, NGOs, and state governments to facilitate coordination with companies looking to deploy CSR funds to vetted and approved organizations. Goodera has also enabled its massive network of volunteers to virtually lend management expertise to help NGOs execute projects and scale up their operations. Through its dedicated portal for Covid-19, Goodera has seen over 1 million volunteers sign up, and nearly 250,000 users are actively participating in Covid-19 relief campaigns. With CSR funds going directly to Covid-19, NGOs in India are looking at steep reduction in corporate support. FSG, a social action nonprofit, shares perspectives on how CSR funders and nonprofits in India can navigate funding needs amidst Covid-19. Interviews with 18 CSR leaders and corporate CEOs show that companies are giving to relief efforts—directly or through the PM CARES Fund and chief ministers’ relief funds. However, much of this funding has come from CSR budgets, with the remaining being prioritized for nonprofits addressing Covid-19 issues. This has left nonprofits focusing on other issues uncertain about the funding of their projects. Yet, the question on how to prioritize CSR funding during Covid-19 sees different responses. In Pakistan, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has advised all listed companies to divert their CSR funds towards fighting Covid-19.

THE INNOVATORS

Promoting resilient social enterprise ecosystems: Cambodian ecosystem enablers are pivoting their operations during Covid-19 to support the country’s entrepreneurs. For example, SHE Investments and Technovation Girls both have moved their accelerators and coaching services for female entrepreneurs online. Impact Hub Phnom Penh has coordinated with the private sector, universities, and ministry partners to run the HacKHtheCrisis virtual hackathon, which brings together different actors who are already working on addressing Covid-19. CAPS partners in Indonesia, PLUS and Instellar, have also moved training programs online in order to keep supporting social enterprise startups during lockdown. In Korea, CAPS partner Underdogs has also introduced online training. 

Precious One, an Indonesian social enterprise, employs disabled crafters for its handicraft business. This video by The Jakarta Post shows how the enterprise has pivoted during Covid-19 to produce cloth face masks and keep their business afloat.

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

India’s Private Giving: Unpacking Domestic Philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility

OECD Development Centre & OECD Centre on Philanthropy

This report maps India’s domestic giving sector, comparing the volume and scope to other development funding sources. Economic growth, landmark corporate social responsibility (CSR) regulations and growing international interest has transformed the country’s philanthropic sector. This report is based on a survey of 178 of India’s largest CSR and philanthropic organizations. Strategies for increasing the impact of private giving are discussed. Read it here.

Catalyzing Productive Livelihood: A guide to education interventions with an accelerated path to scale and impact

Asia Philanthropy Circle (APC)

This report provides insights into philanthropists’ role in achieving impact in Indonesia’s education system. Education is a key priority of the Indonesian government. However, the country’s large population necessitates cross-sector collaboration to drive improved education outcomes. Read it here: English, Bahasa Indonesia.

China’s Philanthropy Boom

Dmitriy Frolovskiy (The Diplomat)

This article is an overview of China’s changing philanthropic landscape. It analyzes the government’s role in boosting charities by removing restrictions and easing registration procedures. As philanthropy becomes a growing trend among China’s wealthy, capital is channeled to causes ranging from conservation and climate change to early childhood education. It also explores the changing attitude of citizens towards charities. The article is a useful resource to better understand this growing interest in philanthropy among China’s citizenry. Read it here.

How BRAC, the world’s biggest charity, made Bangladesh richer

The Economist

This article delves into the role BRAC played in Bangladesh’s development. Although presently relying heavily on international funding, Bangladesh’s steady GDP growth may soon make BRAC ineligible for international development aid. This article provides recommendations for how BRAC can prepare and adapt to a changing funding landscape. Read it here.

Higher education across Asia: An overview of issues and strategies

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

This study examines the challenges of developing higher education further in the region. Higher education in Asia is heavily supported by governments and is recognized as an important contributor to economic and social development. However, common challenges Asia’s higher education systems face include quality, curriculum relevance, financial constraints, balancing access and equity of education, and demand outstripping supply. The study also proposes actions that universities, governments and development organizations can take to strengthen the education sector at large. Read it here.

The shape of global higher education: understanding the ASEAN region

British Council

This report proposes a framework for comparing and benchmarking national higher education systems and policies in the ASEAN region. It also looks at how collaboration can raise the profile of the region’s educational institutions.

ASEAN is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world with a combined population of over 620 million and an economy of over US$2.6 trillion. The region is strongly committed to education development. It has seen increases in intra-region student mobility, regional research partnerships and collaboration across the education sector. This report shares how the region can do even better. Read it here.

Putting Higher Education to Work: Skills and Research for Growth in East Asia

World Bank

This publication argues that East Asia’s higher education systems are failing to deliver the necessary skills and development to sustain productivity and economic growth. It delves into the steps that institutions must take to deliver more relevant labor market skills to university students.

East Asian economies, especially the low and middle-income ones, are facing the challenge of sustaining and accelerating the growth that they have achieved in recent decades. Due to demographic changes and aging populations, they must rely on improvements in productivity to drive growth. This publication spotlights the role higher education systems can play in this effort. Read it here: English, Thai.

Higher education in Asia, expanding out, expanding up: the rise of graduate education and university research

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

This book analyzes the reasons behind the increase in undergraduate enrollment in Asia and cites examples from Malaysia and Thailand to illustrate how this has led to expanded postgraduate education. It also looks at how university research can contribute to national economic development.

Enrollment in higher education in Asia over the last 20 years has seen dramatic growth as a result of high birth rates, increasing participation in school, and the perceived importance of attaining an advanced degree. This increase has required high education systems to ‘expand out’ by building new universities, hiring more faculty and encouraging private education providers to enter the market. Systems now need to ‘expand up’ and provide more graduate programs. Many governments also see education institutions as centers of research with the ability to yield positive economic returns to the country. Read it here.

Who’s Doing Good?

28 October 2019 - 10 November 2019

THE GIVERS

RS Group and Convergence launch US$3 million blended finance funding window for natural capital in Asia. Convergence, a global network for blended finance, and RS Group, a Hong Kong-based family office, have launched the Asia Natural Capital Design Funding Window to support “practitioners who are finding new ways to enhance and protect the world’s stock of natural assets, including water, land, soil, air, plants, and animals.” By using blended finance solutions, the Window aims to draw new investors into this underfunded development area. Channeling investment into natural capital is especially important for bridging the US$200-300 billion annual funding gap in preserving the world’s last healthy ecosystems. 

Programs by National Parks Board and donation from billionaire Peter Lim will help young Singaporeans develop green thumb. Together with partner organizations, National Parks Board (NParks) will create more opportunities for young Singaporeans to learn about greenery and biodiversity. These efforts are bolstered by billionaire Peter Lim’s SG$10 million (approximately US$8 million) donation to NParks’ Garden City Fund–the single largest donation by any individual to the fund. Thanks to Lim’s generosity, students from less-privileged backgrounds will have access to NParks’ programs including the new Green Friends Forum and Youth Stewards for Nature. NParks offers programs for students from pre-school to university. 

THE THINKERS

The Macquarie Group Foundation and Seefar Enterprise launch new report on forced labor in Asia. Seefar Enterprise, a social enterprise that conducts research and supports vulnerable groups in Asia, recently launched their report, “Making Migration Work: Understanding forced labour amongst migrant domestic workers in Asia.” The report focuses on the forced labor of migrant domestic workers in Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Funded by the Macquarie Group Foundation, the study surveyed over 3,000 returned and current migrant domestic workers, of whom 77% reported indicators of forced labor. The report shares migrant workers’ perspectives and compares recruitment processes and working conditions across the four economies. 

THE BUSINESSES

Philippine private sector responds to Mindanao earthquake. Through the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), the Philippine private sector has provided air and ground transportation, relief goods, water, and sanitation support to those affected by the magnitude 6.5 Mindanao earthquake. Private sector actors who have stepped up include Aboitiz Foundation/Aboitiz Power, the Ayala Foundation, Globe Telecom, Manila Water, and Air Asia, among others. Ayala Corporation Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, who is also co-chair of PDRF, stated, “The private sector is committed to helping people affected by the Mindanao earthquake. Through PDRF, we are extending assistance and mobilizing resources for relief and recovery.”

DBS Asia Hub 2 opens Digital Literacy Centre in Hyderabad, India. In partnership with the NASSCOM Foundation, DBS Asia Hub 2 opened its Digital Literacy Centre in Hyderabad. The center aims to facilitate training infrastructure in support of the National Digital Literacy Mission initiative by the Government of India. This includes teaching basic computer and digital skills as well as empowering beneficiaries to leverage the power of social media and the internet. Alex Woo, CEO of DBS Asia Hub 2, stated, “Digital Literacy Centre aligns with the larger ethos of being purpose-driven and making a positive impact on lives. This initiative is a step towards fulfilling our vision to become the best bank for a better world.”

Samsung and LG reach out to society by donating electronics. The Korea Herald highlights how Korea’s leading conglomerates are donating their signature electronic devices to meet societal needs in tangible ways. Samsung Electronics plans to donate a total of 1,000 sets of thermal imaging cameras and other equipment to every fire station across the country. This came to fruition after a fire department official took park in the company’s new CSR program, “Samsung Tomorrow Solution,” and proposed the idea of developing thermal imaging cameras and telecom equipment. LG Group had earlier announced plans to donate over 10,000 air purifiers to schools across Korea in response to heightened concerns about unprecedented levels of fine dust. 

Hong Kong companies rank highest in Asia for environmental sustainability. According to Refinitiv’s inaugural “Financing a Sustainable Future in Asia” report, companies in Hong Kong recorded the best overall performance in Asia for environmental sustainability. The report is the first in a series which examines the ESG (environmental, social, governance) performance of the largest companies across Asia. Asia’s regional average score—based on emissions, resource use, and innovation—scored slightly higher than the global average. While Hong Kong leads the region in adopting emissions policies, Japan ranks the best for emissions reductions targets. China has the largest gap between intention and action, where 77% of companies have emissions policies but only 8% have reduction targets. The report also highlights the notable growth of green finance in Asia.

THE INNOVATORS

Temasek-backed ABC World Asia closes inaugural fund for impact investing at US$385 million. ABC World Asia is a private equity fund for impact investing established by Temasek Trust, the philanthropic arm of Singapore investment company Temasek. It will invest in companies that commit to generating measurable social and environmental impact, alongside a compelling risk-adjusted return. The fund will focus on themes including financial and digital inclusion, health and education, climate and water solutions, sustainable food and agriculture, and smart and livable cities. Investments will be made in China, Southeast Asia, and South Asia.