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.

Frugal Innovation

BAIF Development Research Foundation: Transforming Lives in Rural India

Through 50 years of innovation in agricultural technology, BAIF Development Research Foundation (BAIF) has helped millions of Indian farmers to upgrade their animal husbandry practices, cultivate productive homestead orchards, and better manage natural resources.

From its early days, BAIF has focused on driving rural prosperity. Initially, it empowered farming communities to improve productivity of animal husbandry through technology and training — it had supported 5,892,045 families in this way by 2014. The organization went on to help 201,144 rural families roll out innovative homestead agri-horti-forestry, or “Wadi,”orchards, that combine techniques and resources to allow farmers to rear fruit trees, flowers and vegetables. BAIF has also applied its technical expertise to help farmers find better ways of managing their land, soil, and water resources. Over the years, it has expanded its focus to undertake health, women’s empowerment, and resilience programs in conjunction with its agrarian interventions to drive holistic development in rural communities.

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.”

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.

Building Collective Impact

New Homeland Foundation: Empowering a DisasterStruck Community in Rural Taiwan

With the help of the New Homeland Foundation (NHF), the poor mountain village of Taomi emerged from the tatters of a catastrophic earthquake as a premium eco-village and tourism hotspot.

In 1999, a disastrous earthquake struck Taomi, and the destruction brought further suffering to local residents. In response, a non-profit organization (NPO) called the New Homeland Foundation (NHF) stepped up to the plate, helping the community to channel resources for the emergency response and the eventual regeneration of Taomi’s economy.

NHF worked with experts from different fields to sketch out a roadmap for Taomi to re-invent itself as an eco-village. Over the course of a decade, external professionals and NHF empowered local residents to see the value of the environment and rural lifestyles for their economic prospects: a pre-quake bamboo grower would became an ecological guide and B&B operator. NHF also transformed itself along the way. Initially acting as a champion for Taomi to restructure its aid-reliant economy, NHF became an eco-tourism entrepreneur itself when it established a learning park that became a major tourist attraction. In doing so, it became a critical player in Taomi’s eco-village economy and continues to play an important role in its ongoing success.

Water for Life

Dilasa Sanstha: Securing the livelihoods of poor farmers in India

By adapting indigenous irrigation techniques and empowering farming communities to generate alternative income streams, Dilasa Sanstha has changed the lives of impoverished rural farmers in Maharashtra State. Its partnership with the Axis Bank Foundation has allowed it to scale its rural interventions to new heights.

Based in Maharashtra State, Dilasa has been working with farming communities in Vidarbha from the mid-1990s. Today, the NGO works across 1,170 villages spanning ten districts in Vidarbha, Marathwada and South Maharashtra. The organization began life as the brainchild of individuals who shared a common goal: to bring relief to suffering farmers.

From there, Dilasa has emerged as a pillar of the rural communities it serves, now helping farmers to access alternative sources of income and credit options. In this evolution it was supported by a strategic partner, the Axis Bank Foundation, which has encouraged Dilasa to operate at a scale and reach beyond what its founders could have imagined when it was founded as a seven-person organization.

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.

Social Enterprise in the Countryside

CARD MRI: Empowering the Poor in the Philippines

The case of the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) tells how a non-government organization providing microfinance services grew over three decades to develop a social enterprise model that enables landless rural poor women to become managers, owners, investors and guardians of their families’ futures.

The history of the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) is a powerful story of innovation and growth. It began in 1986 and over three decades has developed a network of “Mutually Reinforcing Institutions” (MRIs) to expand services to poor women in the countryside. It is a story of service delivery and social entrepreneurship on a very large scale on behalf of its main client base – the “nanays”, or mothers, of the countryside.

The efforts of the network known today as CARD MRI reach far across and deep into the life of several provinces in the Philippines, a nation of about 100 million people, of whom about 25% are poor.

Bright Young Sparks

Songkhla Forum: Empowering Thailand’s Youth for the 21st Century

An innovative model developed in collaboration with the Siam Commercial Bank Foundation allows young people in Songkhla Province to design and implement community development projects to develop life skills and a sense of civic-mindedness.

In 1991, the Songkhla Forum (SF) was established  as a communications platform to share information and raise awareness so that the people of Songkhla, a strategically important province on the border with Malaysia, could participate in the development of the province and country at large.

In 2012, SF received help in the form of a new partner, the Siam Commercial Bank Foundation (SCBF). This collaboration has resulted in an innovative new model for young people to contribute to Songkhla’s development while growing their self-confidence and capacity as engaged citizens. Since then, some 300 youth have come together through SF to work on more than 60 community development projects, some of which have made a significant contribution to civic life in the province.