Who’s Doing Good?

12 February 2018 - 18 February 2018

This weekly brief is a one-stop shop for selectively curated news on “doing good.” From mega-donations and CSR to nonprofits and social enterprises, “Who’s Doing Good?” keeps you up-to-date with the ever-bustling market of philanthropy and charity in Asia.

THE GIVERS

Bill Gates shares his insights on doing philanthropy in India. In this comprehensive interview with Hindustan Times, Gates touches on a variety of pertinent issues such as healthcare and shares the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s experience of working and interacting with governments and other philanthropists.

THE THINKERS

Pakistani think tank argues CSR should be used to build peace. The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) says the private sector in Pakistan has the potential to better promote businesses and contribute to economic development by allocating funds for fighting against extremism and promoting social harmony and peace.

Are we missing the bigger picture for CSR? In her article in the India Development Review, Vanessa D’Souza, CEO of Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action (SNEHA), discusses the bigger picture companies are missing in their CSR strategy when deciding which NGOs to work with. D’Souza points out how CSR-nonprofit relationship has turned down to resemble a job interview, where the majority of the questions revolve around “everything organizational.” From financial sustainability to risk management processes, companies are focusing less on the actual programs and ground-level knowledge of nonprofit professionals, but more on organizational capacity. D’Souza poses the question, “How will these organizations answer questions on financial sustainabiltiy and risk management when they don’t have the wherewithal to put all these systems in place?” Read what D’Souza has to say to learn what CSR can actually do to help the sector of doing good.

THE NONPROFITS

NGO promotes palliative care in Indonesia. Rachel House, a nonprofit organization that specializes in children’s palliative care, is successfully creating an ecosystem for palliative care in Indonesia. When it was founded in 2006, Rachel House was the first pediatric palliative care service provider in the country. Now, it is working to train professionals and build capacity of other individuals and organizations for a strong palliative care ecosystem.

THE BUSINESSES

AboitizPower donates technical-vocational equipment to senior high schools in Cebu, the Philippines. AboitizPower, a major power generation company in the Philippines, provided two Cebu high schools with technical-vocational equipment such as sewing machines, heavy-duty power drills, and spindle moulders worth P2.8 million (US$54,000). A total of 844 students were seen to benefit from this gift.

Lotte Duty Free celebrates 38th anniversary with charitable donations and community initiatives. Just before its 38th anniversary on February 14, 2018, Lotte Duty Free, a major travel retail company in Korea, hosted a number of community service activities and gave charitable donations to those in need. Hundreds of employees, including the CEO, volunteered for welfare centers and local organizations, while the company donated approximately ₩25 million (US$23,000) and rice to support the elderly and the homeless.

Sir Ronald Cohen announces setting up two major impact investment funds in India. Sir Ronald Cohen, Chairman of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG), has announced setting up two impact investment funds, each estimated to reach up to US$1 billion by October. The India Education Outcomes Fund (IEOF) will aim at improving the quality K-12 education, while the India Impact Fund of Funds (IIFF) will look at other development programs. The IEOF will raise funds primarily from bilateral agencies, philanthropists, local and global institutional donors, CSR budgets, and government institutions, while the IIFF will raise funds from Indian high-net-worth individuals, both abroad and at home.

THE INNOVATORS

Alibaba applies its business products and services to tackling poverty in China. On top of the many charitable funds and donations led by its executive chairman, Jack Ma, Alibaba has integrated its e-commerce and technological expertise into its CSR programs. From providing e-commerce platforms for rural entrepreneurs to offering online micro-lending to farmers, Alibaba is making “doing good” smart.

With a public fundraising platform, Yahoo Japan helps raise money for Hualien earthquake victims in Taiwan. As of February 14, 2018, 139,138 donors in Japan had contributed about ¥126 million (US$1.16 million) through the Japanese online portal’s crowdfunding platform. The online fundraising campaign is expected to continue for one more week.

THE VOLUNTEERS

Two volunteers share their experience of “voluntouring.” In a magazine interview, two Singapore-based volunteers talk about their personal stories of working with the Happy Hearts Fund, a charity that helps rebuild schools in disaster-affected parts of the world. Specifically, they discuss their experience of “voluntouring,” traveling to other countries to do charitable work. Having visited Indonesia to help rebuild schools, one interviewee said, “If they [children in Indonesia] cannot afford to travel to see things for themselves; at least the ‘world’ is coming to them.”

THE TRUSTBREAKERS

Oxfam’s sexual misconduct scandal has ramifications on not only its own charitable work, but also the larger aid industry. Since allegations of sexual misconduct have been made against Oxfam and its employees, many stakeholders have responded, suggesting there may be greater implications than a mere scandal. The Charity Commission of the United Kingdom has launched an inquiry, while some corporate partners have chimed in as well. The British government also told Oxfam it could forfeit large sums of government money if it did not explain itself, while the European Union, another major financial supporter, called for transparency from the organization. This scandal comes at a time when public trust in the sector was already at its lowest-ever in the country, and what is most concerning is that this scandal is bolstering the agenda of the Conservative Party to terminate the country’s commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid.

Singaporean hospital warns of cancer research fund donation scam. Tan Tock Seng Hospital, one of the largest multi-disciplinary hospitals in Singapore, warned its social media followers about a scam soliciting donations to a cancer research fund. According to the hospital, relevant authorities have been informed of the situation, and local media outlets are in the process of requesting for more details from the hospital.

Who’s Doing Good?

5 February 2018 - 11 February 2018

This weekly brief is a one-stop shop for selectively curated news on “doing good.” From mega-donations and CSR to nonprofits and social enterprises, “Who’s Doing Good?” keeps you up-to-date with the ever-bustling market of philanthropy and charity in Asia.

THE GIVERS

Chinese home appliance-maker’s founder tops the list of China’s top 100 philanthropists for the first time. He Xiangjian, founder of Midea Group Co., Ltd., donated 6.8 billion yuan (US$1.09 billion) to charity last year, topping for the first time the list of China’s top 100 philanthropists published by Beijing Normal University’s China Philanthropy Research Institute. According to the same report, the top 100 givers in China donated a total of 23.3 billion yuan (US$3.68 billion). In comparison, the top 50 givers in the United States donated US$12.2 billion to charity in 2016.

In the wake of the Hualien earthquake, donations from Taiwanese philanthropists pour in. Including those from ultra-high-net-worth philanthropists, total donations (as of February 8, 2018) to disaster relief funds for people affected by the earthquake in Hualien, Taiwan, is reported to have exceeded NT$600 million (US$20.42 million). List of notable companies and organizations includes: Hon Hai Precision Industry, Formosa Plastics Group, Lin Rung San Foundation of Culture and Social Welfare, Union Bank of Taiwan, Pegatron, and Fubon Financial Holding.

Prince Charles launches education impact bond for India. With the support of the British government’s Department for International Development, Comic Relief, the Mittal Foundation, the UBS Optimus Foundation, and philanthropists like Sir Ronald Cohen, the US$10 million Development Impact Bond (DIB) aspires to help improve education for over 200,000 children in India. The DIB is the largest bond of its type in South Asia and is the latest fundraising initiative by the British Asian Trust, which was set up by Prince Charles in 2007 to fight poverty in South Asia.

THE THINKERS

SK plans to launch research unit on social enterprises. In March, the South Korean conglomerate will establish and fund a nonprofit research foundation on issues relating to social enterprises. Chey Tae-won, Chairman of the SK Group, has been a longtime supporter of social enterprises in Korea.

THE NONPROFITS

Doctor and his healthcare charity win the The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year award. Dr. Goh Wei Leong and his team have been named The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year, an award organized by The Straits Times and sponsored by UBS Singapore. Dr. Goh co-founded HealthServe, a healthcare charity in Singapore that provides migrant workers with affordable healthcare and other social services.

THE BUSINESSES

Hyundai Motor supports the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics by providing 4,100 vehicles and ₩50 billion (US$46.95 million) donation. On top of the logistical and financial contributions it has made to PyeongChang, Hyundai has been an active supporter of winter sports in Korea, developing upgraded bobsleighs and providing coaching staff for the country’s national team.

THE INNOVATORS

Grab and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) join forces to raise funds for supporting vulnerable communities. Grab is Southeast Asia’s leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform, and its customers will now be able to convert GrabRewards loyalty points to a donation to the IFRC. Such partnership is the IFRC’s first fundraising initiative globally to use a smartphone application.

The Tata Trusts launches the “Social Alpha Energy Challenge” to find high-impact innovations that could catalyze system change in the field of energy. The challenge is managed and run by the Tata Trusts’ Foundation for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (FISE), which supports innovative, technology-based solutions for social impact. It specifically focuses on clean technology, sustainability, and energy efficiency and will select a maximum of 10 winners, whose ideas will receive incubation and other forms of support from the Tata Trusts.

THE VOLUNTEERS

Charity and volunteerism help fight aftermath of the Hualien earthquake in Taiwan. On top of the reported total of NT$600 million (US$20.42 million) in charitable donations, many are offering to help as volunteers utilizing their resources and skills. Hsu Tang-yu from Taichung, for example, showed up in Hualien to provide rescue workers with bowls of noodles from her mobile ramen cart, while a team of traditional Chinese medicine practitioners set up a station to treat rescue workers’ back pain and sore muscles.

THE TRUSTBREAKERS

A Hong Kong millionaire’s bribery case in Africa shows another incident where a donation and NGO status are abused as a bribery vehicle. Chi Ping Patrick Ho, former Hong Kong Home Affairs Secretary and founding chairman of an energy NGO registered in Hong Kong and the United States, was alleged to have drafted a letter to the President of Chad expressing a Chinese company’s desire to make a US$2 million “donation” to support “social and other programs as [the President] see[s] fit.” Ho’s bail application and request to be put under house arrest were rejected.

Who’s Doing Good?

29 January 2018 - 4 February 2018

This weekly brief is a one-stop shop for selectively curated news on “doing good.” From mega-donations and CSR to nonprofits and social enterprises, “Who’s Doing Good?” keeps you up-to-date with the ever-bustling market of philanthropy and charity in Asia.

THE GIVERS

Indian-born Middle East billionaire joins the Giving Pledge. Shamsheer Vayalil, founder of VPS Healthcare whose net worth is projected to be around US$1.7 billion, joined the Giving Pledge along with his wife on his 41st birthday. On top of this commitment, Vayalil is also in the process of forming the VPS Foundation for providing healthcare and education to “those people who tend to be forgotten.”

Apple teams up with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai to fund education for 100,000 girls. The support from Apple will help the Malala Fund double the number of grants to fund secondary education for girls in India and Latin America. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, will also join its leadership council.

THE THINKERS

With the right policies and incentives, the Doing Good Index claims Asia can unlock over US$500 billion in philanthropy. The DGI is a groundbreaking inaugural study by the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society that maps the philanthropic and charitable landscape in Asia and looks at the enabling environment for “doing good.”

Rati Forbes argues, “Impact is not limited to big philanthropy.” In her opinion editorial, Forbes laments the lack of supporting ecosystem and resources for smaller individual givers, who are more than eager to ensure that their giving is making an impact. Her four-point advice includes: 1. Identify a cause that resonates with you; 2. Build a long-term association with a nonprofit; 3. Think about sustainability; and 4. Collaborate.

THE NONPROFITS

Singaporean charities help bridge economic, religious, and racial divides. With the support of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and its Harmony Fund, various community organizations have stepped up to address societal issues facing Singapore. While Beyond Social Services have helped convene residents of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds to mediate their complaints against one another, Roses of Peace and More Than Just have addressed interfaith and interethnic conflicts.

THE BUSINESSES

A New York Stock Exchange-listed company wins top awards at the China Charity Festival. Air Products, a world-leading industrial gases company serving China for 30 years, has won the “2017 Overall Community Care Award” and “The Best Community Program of 2017” at the China Charity Festival, a nonprofit event co-organized by over 30 Chinese media outlets advocating philanthropic spirit and behavior of individuals and organizations. Air Products has been consistently recognized for its services that help Chinese manufacturers improve their environmental performance and for its many CSR initiatives such as the LIN Ambassador Program, an education initiative that fosters the next generation’s interest in science and innovation.

PetroChina does good and does well in Indonesia and Myanmar. PetroChina, the country’s largest oil supplier and distributor, has gone philanthropic, thereby earning trust from the foreign local markets. In Indonesia, the company has helped with the long-term sustainability, capacity, upscaling of local coffee farmers. In Myanmar, it donated more than US$24 million for various infrastructure projects.

THE INNOVATORS

South Korean city debuts “smart donation box” for charitable contributions. Incheon, known for its international airport, became the first in Korea to offer high-tech donation boxes that allow passersby to use credit, debit, or transportation cards for charitable giving. The machines are run by a local social enterprise that also selects a portfolio of beneficiary organizations.

THE VOLUNTEERS

Jet Airways’ internal employee-driven volunteering program continues to help the underprivileged in India. “Joy of Giving,” branded in line with its corporate slogan of “Joy of Flying,” is an annual corporate volunteering program that engages with a host of NGOs serving the cause of the less privileged such as children, women, and senior citizens. This year, Jet Airways’ employees not only spent time with those affected, but also donated cash and other resources.

THE TRUSTBREAKERS

Major charitable crowdfunding scam hits Singapore. A scammer has been targeting people who raised money on crowdfunding websites for charitable purposes. One case includes losing SG$53,000 raised via Give.asia for a baby’s surgery. This scandal ironically comes at a time when the Commissioner of Charities-led code of practice for online charitable fundraising was launched only last month.

Love for the Least, the Last, and the Lost

Caritas Manila: Shaping, Serving, and Empowering the Poor

For more than 60 years, the social services and development ministry of the Archdiocese of Manila has helped the less fortunate to find self-reliance and dignity. In doing so, it has cultivated its next generation of leaders and donors.

Caritas Manila works to benefit the disadvantaged of Manila in the areas of social development, family empowerment, social entrepreneurship and other special concerns. And though it operates as a distinct, non-profit entity that is separate from the Catholic Church with only 26 full-time employees, it is able to use its vast infrastructure to do much of its work; thousands of volunteers from the 365 Catholic parishes across the city work on the frontline to help programs and deliver services.

Fr. Anton Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila, describes it as “a non-governmental
organization that is faith-rooted and love driven,”whose goals are to help the least, the last, and the lost. “Because we are the church, we build a Christian community,” he said. “You get the best of both worlds: the best of church and the best of NGO.”

Online and Offline

Academy of Sharing: Using Social Media to Build a Social Movement

Users of Twitter and other social media platforms connect with each other to build an Indonesian foundation committed to sharing, learning, and bridging gaps between the classroom and the professional world. 

Academy of Sharing is a 21st century social movement that has spread to 23 Indonesian
cities. The brand translates in the Indonesian language to Akademi Berbagi. Fittingly, given how it began, the words were truncated in the social media universe to, simply, Akber.

Though some changes have been made to help Akber manage its growth and maintain quality, it is still driven by the same key principle – alternative access to free education by leading experts for whichever students want to learn in classes organized by volunteers, in the way Ainun Chomsun did when she, as Akber’s founder but also first volunteer, assembled the details for her first copywriting class.  Some 30,000 students have attended about 1,000 Akber classes, led by about 200 teachers assisted by about 200 volunteers.

Driving Value

Taiwan Taxi Academy Association: Flipping Perceptions of the Taxi Industry

Under the aegis of a public-private partnership model, a non-profit taxi association was formed to improve the livelihoods of low-income taxi drivers, while bolstering the local economy.

The Taiwan Taxi Academy Association (TTAA) was formally established as a non-profit organization(NPO) by a team of university professors in 2014, keen to apply what they have learned from years of academic research to improve the lives of taxi drivers. They developed a platform for drivers to be able to undergo professional training and gain access to collective learning opportunities. The goal was to “rebrand” taxi drivers to appeal to international and domestic tourists as friendly, reliable professionals who can provide high-value services.

There are more than 150 members today, all of whom rely on chartered taxi tourism for their main source of income. To help them in this, TTAA combines resources from government authorities, universities, and the taxi industry to develop the capabilities of drivers. This unique organization, which works with government, industry, and academic stakeholders to create opportunities for drivers to work and thrive exemplifies how multi-stakeholder efforts can help to address a social problem — in this case, the dearth of opportunities for marginalized taxi drivers to improve their incomes.

Trading Up

BN Vocational School: Giving China’s marginalized youth a shot at success

By providing free-of-charge vocational education to the disenfranchised children of migrant workers and ethnic minorities, BN Vocational School (BNVS) has helped to improve their career prospects — and meet the growing need for well-trained and confident workers in China’s burgeoning services sector.

Since its first Beijing school was founded in 2005, BNVS has expanded to nine branches in
the cities of Chengdu, Nanjing, Sanya, Wuhan, Zhengzhou, Dalian, Yinchuan, and Lijiang — and now one far from home, in Luanda, Angola. The Angolan branch has embarked upon a program of vocational training that has been tried and tested by 2,500 underprivileged young people from across China who have graduated from the BNVS network, armed with a set of vocational skills to help them navigate their way through the country’s competitive labor market.

From its inception, BNVS has offered the option of free vocational training to those who might otherwise lack the opportunity to continue their education. The organization’s original focus was on the children of low-income migrant workers, whose movement from the countryside to the cities has underpinned China’s remarkable urbanization story.

A Virtuous Economy

Hong Chi Association: Creating Green Opportunities for Hong Kong’s Disabled Workers

Through a unique tri-partite collaboration, Hong Chi Association has kick-started a glass bottle recycling project that has provided disabled workers with valuable life skills while changing public attitudes to the environment.

Hong Chi, formerly known as the Hong Kong Association for the Mentally Handicapped, was established in 1965 as a school and care site for just four students, the parents of whom championed the cause for an educational center and environment for their handicapped children. In 1997, the name of the association changed to Hong Chi: in Chinese “Hong” means “to assist,” and “Chi” refers to “the intellect,” reflecting the organization’s founding mission to assist mentally handicapped people to develop their potential as valuable members of society.

Within three years of Hong Chi’s founding, the school had expanded to 70 students across two campuses. With the help of dedicated teachers and the early recognition of these students’ potential, some graduates went on to find work. At a time when there were no resources to support mentally handicapped individuals, nor was there a support system for their families, Hong Chi stepped into the breach. Today, it is dedicated to serving over 7,000 people of all ages and levels of intellectual disabilities. It operates 81 services that provide special education, job training, sheltered and supported employment, and adult education, among other things that are vital to supporting Hong Kong’s people with intellectual disabilities (PID) to live their lives to the fullest.

Pathways to Education

Pamulaan Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Education: Leading the Way

In piloting an education model that is sensitive to the experiences of young indigenous peoples in the Philippines, Pamulaan has shown the way for government to scale up.

The Pamulaan Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Education is a formal, tertiary school providing education for indigenous peoples as a means to build their self-reliance. Departing from mainstream systems of instruction, Pamulaan espouses an education rooted in the life and culture of indigenous peoples. Cultural values and traditions inspire school programs that focus on forming leaders amongst the youth, as well as developing the indigenous peoples’ elders. Founded as a unique partnership between non-government organizations (NGOs), academia, and the state, Pamulaan has gone far in its first ten years.

No Shadow, No Worry

WWWSE: Helping a Nation Rethink its Approach to Education

A fervor for education paid big post-war dividends for the Republic of Korea, but also spawned a private market that undermines public education and gave rise to the World Without Worries about Shadow Education (WWWSE) campaign to increase knowledge and decrease anxiety among students.

WWWSE was founded in 2008, its goal to strengthen public education by reducing reliance on private education. To strengthen public education, national policies would have to change; that could only happen if minds were changed.  In six years’ time, WWWSE, or, for short, World Without Worries (WWW), changed many mindsets across the country, from towns to cities to provinces, and, finally, to the nation’s capital.

WWW began with a series of lectures and research papers about the negative effects of shadow education on the nation’s children, including the 40% of those aged 13 to 19 who in a government survey blamed suicidal thoughts on the premium attached to high grades and the CSAT pressure-cooker; and those aged 9 or above who in another government report rated their quality of life the lowest of those similarly aged across 31 of the world’s advanced nations.

In 2014, WWW’s efforts resulted in an achievement few would have imagined: the passage of a national law regulating “preceding education” – or education ahead of the proscribed schedule for learning in the public school curriculum. The law was aimed at ending one of shadow education’s most dramatic effects – almost 92% of students already know what will be taught in the public schools, by at least by one semester in advance and often times by many more semesters.