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.”

Changing Lives with the Gift of Water

Lien AID: Enabling the Rural Poor to Protect Their Health

By helping villagers in rural communities become owners and operators of their own water facilities, Lien AID through its clean water and sanitation programmes has improved the health and well-being of thousands of rural poor in Cambodia and elsewhere in Asia.

The Lien Foundation was established by prominent Singaporean banker and entrepreneur Dr. Lien Ying Chow. Orphaned at age 10 and without a formal education, Lien established the foundation in 1980 with almost half of his wealth to give back to society what it had given to him. Lien AID was incorporated in 2006, with the mission to improve living conditions in developing communities in Asia and as an autonomous vehicle to champion the foundation’s interests in water and sanitation.

By the end of 2014, Lien AID had reached about 682,000 direct beneficiaries in poor communities across Southeast Asia and China. It had built more than 1,300 water facilities and 22,000 toilets. It had made water and sanitation accessible for more than 200 schools and 2,800 villages as well as 59 healthcare facilities. In Cambodia alone, Lien AID had implemented 43 community-based water social enterprises by May 2015 and is looking to deliver at least 18 more by 2018.

Helping Mothers and Children

Society for Nutrition, Education & Health Action: Nourishing India

A walk by a caring pediatrician through one of the world’s largest slums inspired the founding of a Mumbai NGO that became a model for how to help poor mothers and families learn about nutrition and protect the health of their children.

From 1999 to 2015, the Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action (or SNEHA, meaning “affection” in Hindi) grew from a five-member team working on an ad hoc basis and driven by the simple desire to help the poor, to a 360-person institution with focused and integrated programs to nurture the physical and emotional health of its clients.

The development of community-rooted programs with demonstrable impact was a key reason for SNEHA’s success. The approach was simple and two-pronged: spread information about healthy habits and provide the resources to develop them. A second reason for SNEHA’s success was the decision to collaborate with government to utilize and coordinate public health systems and maximize resources. The government experience of its leaders enabled it to establish government relationships that might have been more difficult for organizations too prone to accept ideas about how government red tape can stand in the way of progress. The bottom line is not red tape, but what is possible.

Sustainability Through Innovation

Eden Social Welfare Foundation: Developing an Eden on Earth

Eden supports disabled persons in Taiwan by providing services and advocating for their rights. Through skills training and the development of its social enterprise arm, it is now enabling them to realize their potential in the workplace.

Over the past three decades, Eden has responded to the ebb and fl ow of social and political
change in Taiwan, diversifying to meet the needs of disadvantaged groups. It has expanded beyond its original focus on persons with disabilities to help the elderly, children, dysfunctional families, underprivileged communities, and even delivering overseas aid. In that period, it has grown from an organization of just two persons serving Taipei City to one that employs 2,800 full-time staff across 85 offices in 21 counties and cities.

As one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Taiwan, Eden plays a unique role in its society. It is a major government contractor, providing social welfare services to the disabled and disadvantaged of Taiwan. At the same time, it remains an effective social advocate for persons with disabilities, driving public initiatives, legislative change, and promoting holistic careers for disabled people as a means of creating both social and economic value.

Response and Recovery

MERCY Malaysia: Healing the Wounds of Disaster and Conflict

With emergency relief and long-term intervention, a humanitarian aid organization helps treat the physical and emotional wounds of people and nations across the Global South.

MERCY Malaysia, also known as the Malaysian Medical Relief Society, started from a small group of well-meaning doctors to a humanitarian aid organization respected across the Global South. In the beginning,  MERCY Malaysia focused on emergency relief and its aftermath, and on medical care. Those remain priorities, but in consultation with its partners, it has also developed a systematic approach to areas hit hard by disaster – going beyond emergency relief to recovery, prevention, and preparation.

Haven of Hope: Helping the Elderly, Sick and Handicapped of Hong Kong

Care for the Body and of the Spirit

The case of Haven of Hope Christian Services (Haven) tells how a faith-based organization can stay true to its founding mission and values while responding to the tremendous growth of the community it serves. It tells how committed leaders, managers and staff integrate medical and social services to help comfort people in need, physically and spiritually.

Today, Haven of Hope Christian Service’s integration of medical and social services occurs at 46 locations, and has so far benefited about 100,000 people. It employs doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers and personal care workers. Many reverends lead regularly scheduled services at its facilities, which often include chapels. Medically, it focuses on chronic disease and mental or physical disability rather than acute illness. It also focuses on mental and spiritual counseling, and operates many different home-based and community-based programs aimed at the elderly and mentally challenged people.

Haven’s approach and philosophy remain rooted in the beliefs of Sister Annie Skau, a Norwegian nun and missionary who “saw the need of not only providing medical care, but also psychological and physical care” for the people it serves, said Dr. Lam Ching Choi, Haven’s CEO.

Back in Sight, Back in Mind

HANDA Rehabilitation & Welfare Association: Healing Wounds for the Traumatized and Stigmatized

In partnership with people taken from their families and confined to remote camps before a cure was found for a destructive disease, HANDA Rehabilitation & Welfare Association helps the leprosy-afflicted find comfort and dignity while contending with the emotional and physical consequences of lives lived in isolation.

HANDA Rehabilitation & Welfare Association, a NGO headquartered in Guangdong province provides services to leprosy villages in 12 of China’s 23 provinces, but mainly focuses on Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan provinces, the three with the most villages.

The NGO is commonly known as simply HANDA. The first three letters come from the surname of a Norwegian doctor, Gerhard Hansen, who in 1873 identified the bacteria that cause leprosy and which typically breed in areas with low-quality water and sanitation. The last two letters of HANDA are a tribute to the first name of Damien de Veuster, a Belgian priest who devoted his life to helping residents of a leprosy village in Hawaii. The organization’s name was the idea of a Chinese professor and doctor, Yang Lihe, HANDA’s founder, who spent his professional life researching the treatment and prevention of leprosy.