This article argues that the locus of knowledge and power has shifted to grantees during Covid-19, who is most cognizant of the pressing needs of their communities. The immediacy and devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic is upending traditional grant-giving practices. It cites a recent study of 40 grantmakers and grantees that indicate a desire to continue recalibrating industry practices to allow efficient responses to locally-defined needs, such as less-restricted funding and less cumbersome reporting requirements. The authors offer recommendations on how to build off a new dynamic relationship between Global North and Global South philanthropic organizations—one that allows for more local capacity development and the effective use of local knowledge. Read it here.
How Covid-19 is shifting the Global North-South Philanthropic Power Dynamic
The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind
This book provides a big picture analysis of the three pillars that support societies—markets, the state, and communities—and how they interact. It pinpoints the neglect of communities as the cause of modern discontent. This is illustrated through examples in history where shifts in technology, economic and political forces have further alienated communities, leading to wealth inequalities, and spurring the rise of populism and political radicalization. The book argues for a rethinking of the relationship between markets and civil society, and advocates for strengthening local communities to remedy the imbalance in society’s pillars. Read it here.
The Intellecap Lighthouse: An Anthology of Ideas & Insights
This report is an anthology of thought pieces by stakeholders from the agriculture, energy, financial services, sanitation and healthcare sectors. It includes pieces on the significance of gender lens investing and impact investing, ways to strengthen India’s overburdened healthcare system, in addition to the emergence of circularity in the textiles and apparel industry. This compilation looks to drive sustainable solutions to bring us closer to achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. This is the second edition of Intellecap’s Lighthouse report. Read it here.
The Legatum Prosperity Index 2020
This report quantifies prosperity in 167 countries and identifies specific actions that can contribute to strengthening the pathways from poverty to prosperity globally. The 14th edition in this series reviews progress over the past decade, with Asia-Pacific region having the greatest improvement in prosperity, accounting for the largest portion of global increase. Read it here.
CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good
CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good
Hong Kong companies offer HK$130 million (approximately US$16.7 million) worth of incentives to encourage Covid-19 vaccinations. New World Development is partnering with local NGOs to offer a HK$1,000 allowance to 500 underprivileged individuals. Other Hong Kong companies, including Sino Group, Hang Lung Properties, The Airport Authority Hong Kong, are offering lucky draw and discount prizes, ranging from shopping coupons to a HK$10 million (approximately US$1.3 million) apartment.
In the latest Philanthropy Impact magazine, CAPS explains how blended finance can pave the way to achieving the SDGs. Asia faces a significant financing shortfall in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, especially in the wake of the pandemic. CAPS’ Director of Research Mehvesh Mumtaz Ahmed describes how blended finance, which uses catalytic capital from government or philanthropists to attract private capital, can help. She also showcases different blended finance strategies from across Asia. Continue reading on page 26 of Philanthropy Impact →
Companies are partnering with nonprofits and government to boost Covid relief in India. Microsoft, Hitachi, and Honeywell are working with various charities to manufacture and provide essential equipment to Indian hospitals. The foundations of Vodafone and NASSCOM are partnering with Childline India Foundation to launch a helpline for children in distress.
Additionally, Dasra launched the campaign #BacktheFrontline to raise US$10 million for over 100 NGO first responders as the country shifts from relief to rebuilding. Some of US philanthropist Mackenzie Scott’s recent bequest of US$2.7 billion is going to Indian nonprofits working in pandemic relief, such as GiveIndia, The/Nudge Foundation and Mann Deshi.
With private sector support, Covid-19 vaccination rates gain pace in Japan and Taiwan. Rakuten is preparing a nationwide vaccination rollout, collaborating with industry, academia and government to establish additional vaccination centers and administer over 30,000 daily doses. Japan’s largest companies, including Toyota Motor, Softbank and Nomura, are setting up employee inoculation facilities. In Taiwan, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. will purchase 5 million vaccine doses on behalf of the government. This follows recent news of Foxconn’s pledge to purchase 5 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
Korea will introduce ESG guidelines by the end of this year. The Korean Government plans to establish infrastructure and incentives to help companies embed environmental, social and governance (ESG) values in corporate strategies. It is also considering a revision of the stewardship code towards responsible investing, which would affect Korea’s National Pension Fund, currently the world’s third largest. These developments will help Korea keep pace with other Asian economies. Continue reading in The Korean Times →
Kakao’s founder Kim Beom-su (Brian) establishes new eponymous foundation. We reported in February 2021 about Kim’s pledge to donate more than half his wealth. He recently sold ₩500 billion (approximately US$440 million) worth of company shares, part of which will be put towards the newly formed Brian Impact Foundation. The foundation will support social impact projects’ research and development, and businesses developing artificial intelligence and other future-leading tech. Continue reading in The Korea Herald →
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Global Philanthropy Report: Perspectives on the global foundation sector
This report seeks to create a knowledge base for institutional philanthropy. Wealthy individuals, families and corporations are looking to invest more strategically and maximize impact. The report highlights how financial resources are being deployed to do good, identifies priority areas for investment and operational approaches of grant makers. Insights from Asian research partners in China, Hong Kong and India are provided. Read it here.
CAF World Giving Index 10th Edition
This special 10th edition of the Index looks at trends in charitable giving based on aggregated data over 10 years. It is based on surveys of 1.3 million people on three aspects of giving behavior: helping strangers, donating to charities and volunteering.
While the World Giving Index measures how likely an individual would be to donate or assist a stranger on an ad hoc basis, it contrasts with CAPS’ Doing Good Index, which considers the enabling infrastructure for making large-scale philanthropy in Asia. Read it here.
Who’s Doing Good?
Singaporeans donated SG$90 million in first five months of 2020, equal to whole of last year’s donations. From January to May of this year, SG$90 million (approximately US$64 million) was donated to the Community Chest, the Community Foundation of Singapore’s Sayang Sayang Fund, and through the online donation platform Giving.sg. This amount was around the same as the total donations received by the Community Chest and Giving.sg in the entire year of 2019, according to a joint statement by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Ministry of Social and Family Development.
17th China Philanthropy Ranking released. The 17th edition of the annual China Philanthropy Ranking, supported by China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs and the China Charity Times, was released on June 16. This year’s ranking includes 118 philanthropists with a total of ¥5.45036 billion (approximately US$771 million) in donations, and 605 companies with a total of ¥1.245 trillion (approximately US$176 billion) in donations.
GIIN’s 2020 Annual Impact Investor Survey released. The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) released the 10th edition of its flagship report, which provides an overview of the global impact investing market. This report includes an updated market sizing analysis—estimating the current market size at US$715 billion—trends analysis, and insights on topics such as climate investing, the evolution of impact measurement, and policy developments over the past decade. CAPS’ recent study, Business for Good: maximizing the value of social enterprises in Asia, points out that impact investment in Asia is not yet living up to its full potential. While Asia accounts for nearly 50% of global GDP, GIIN’s latest report finds that only 14% of global impact investment is allocated to the region.
CEO of Singapore’s NVPC argues corporate giving during Covid-19 more than just a PR exercise. Melissa Kwee, CEO of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), highlights examples of corporate efforts amidst Covid-19 that aligned a company’s purpose and expertise to enable more strategic giving. She cites Temasek, which leveraged its supply chain networks to provide hand sanitizers to all Singaporean households, and the Singapore Metal & Machinery Association, which mobilized a donation of 3,800 sets of PPEs. Kwee states that this is a step up from past CSR efforts that can sometimes be peripheral to the business or more reactive activities that lack a larger strategic intent.
Covid-19 covers 80% of CSR budget for India Inc., according to Crisil Foundation. According to the Foundation, CSR spending thus far has been in the form of contributions to the PM CARES Fund and other relief funds, as well as distribution of food, PPE, and other relief supplies to the needy. The Foundation’s chief operating officer stated, “Interestingly, the 130 companies analyzed by Crisil accounted for nearly 80% of the total CSR spend by all listed companies in fiscal 2019. Assuming other companies would have followed a similar path, India Inc. has already allocated over 80% of the annual CSR budget to address the pandemic. This could impact spending on other areas this fiscal year.”
ASEAN and The Asia Foundation, with support from Google.org, collaborate to equip 200,000 micro and small enterprises with digital skills and tools amidst the Covid-19 crisis. The ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and The Asia Foundation have jointly launched ‘Go Digital ASEAN,’ supported by a US$3.3 million grant from Google’s philanthropic arm. The initiative will focus on expanding economic opportunities across ASEAN member states and mitigating the negative impact from the Covid-19 crisis. It aims to close the digital divide by equipping micro and small enterprises, as well as underemployed youth in rural and isolated areas, with crucial digital skills and tools.
Largest donation for Philippines’ fight against Covid-19 came from Project Ugnayan of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) at US$29.1 million. PDRF, the Philippines’ major private sector vehicle and coordinator for disaster management, has made the largest contribution to the government’s Covid-19 response to date: US$29.1 million. The next biggest donors to the government’s relief efforts are USAID, San Miguel Corporate, and Unilab. Ayala Group, which took an active part in Project Ugnayan, has set forth an array of other relief efforts to tackle Covid-19 in the Philippines. Recently, Ayala Group donated an automated RNA Extraction machine and two RT-PCR machines to Southern Philippines Medical Center and other institutions, which will help Davao boost its testing capacity to a maximum of 1,000 tests per day.
Tzu Chi Foundation Indonesia raised Rupiah 500 billion (approximately US$36 million) towards fighting Covid-19. The six biggest donors to the Foundation’s Covid-19 initiative were Sinarmas, Djarum, Indofood, Astra, Agung Sedayu Group, and Artha Graha Peduli. The funds will be used to purchase various equipment needed to help handle the outbreak in Indonesia.
Excelerate Energy has become the key sponsor of the HOPE Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh to support the organization’s Covid-19 relief efforts at the Rohingya camp outside Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh—home to more than a million refugees. The US company’s donation will provide up to 10,000 patients a year with outpatient and in-patient services, diagnostics, critical care, emergency transportation. It will also fund PPE for staff and surrounding community, staff training, and awareness programs.
Mastercard builds on Covid-19 response with commitment to expand financial inclusion initiative. The new commitment—an extension of Mastercard’s 2015 pledge to bring 500 million excluded people into the financial system—will bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro- and small- businesses worldwide into the digital economy by 2025. This article shares examples of Mastercard’s financial inclusion initiatives in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
American Express India has pledged INR 9 crores (approximately US$1.2 million) towards Covid-19 relief efforts. This includes contributions to the PM CARES Fund and nonprofits working in Covid-19 relief areas—such as mobilizing essential supplies, providing medical kits, feeding healthcare professionals, and developing and providing PPE to vulnerable communities. American Express India has also partnered in an initiative called ‘Hunger Heroes’ that will help distribute dry rations and essential supplies to the families of 10,000 food delivery riders impacted by the pandemic.
PwC Singapore launches new initiatives to support the community amidst Covid-19. The company is releasing “Digital Fitness for the World,” a learning app aimed at increasing digital acumen and upskilling, to the public for free from June 8 onwards. PwC is also working to help small and medium enterprises accelerate digitization with dedicated digital advisory services, solutions, and upskilling programs. Other Covid-19 initiatives from PwC include purchasing and distributing food to vulnerable communities.
Indonesia-based e-sports company helping fight Covid-19 through streaming, direct action. EVOS Sports, which operates across Southeast Asia, has initiated a number of efforts, including streaming matches and collaborating with influencers and social delivery organizations, to give back. For example, in Malaysia, EVOS Sports’ PUBG Mobile team played matches among themselves over a livestream and encouraged viewers to contribute to the “Give with Ikhlas” charity initiative, which has raised RM1 million (approximately US$230,000) so far. In Thailand and Indonesia, EVOS Sports’ athletes have also stepped on the ground to cook 3,000 meals for the underprivileged and donate 50,000 masks and surgical gloves.
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Responding to Covid-19: Who’s Doing Good?
Individuals continue to donate cash, services, and supplies to Covid-19 relief efforts.
Donations to the Cambodian government’s efforts to fight Covid-19 pour in. An estimated US$23 million in donations have come in from local donors and civil servants—64,000 of whom pledged to donate portions of their salaries to help fight Covid-19. Another US$40 million has come in from international partners.
Popular TV talent Shinobu Sakagami and Japanese rock star Toshiki of X Japan are going public with their donations to Covid-19 relief efforts in hope that it will nudge others toward charity. Both stars upped their charitable giving during the crisis—Sakagami pledged to donate his entire salary for the duration of Japan’s state of emergency and Yoshiki donated ¥10 million (nearly US$95,000) to Japan’s National Center for Global Health and Medicine. They aim to fight the stigma around publicizing one’s charity and hope to tap into what Sakagami calls a “hidden reservoir of generosity” in Japan. CAPS’ upcoming Doing Good Index 2020 shows that 88% of surveyed social delivery organizations in Japan believe that individual giving remains low in their economy.
Fixing the trust deficit in our sector. Rachita Vora, co-founder and director of India Development Review (IDR), writes about how Covid-19 has irradiated the value of the nonprofit sector, offering a unique opportunity for the sector to rebrand itself. In this article, Vora outlines how the sector can “tell a different story about the work nonprofits do, why it matters, and why the sector must be a crucial part of any effort at strengthening our influence in society.”
Charities continue to serve communities affected by Covid-19, even as they deal with economic hardship and disrupted operations.
BRAC has allocated BDT 30 million (approximately US$355,000) for low-income families in Bangladesh who were impacted by Cyclone Amphan. Funds will focus on repairing households and water sanitation and hygiene facilities damaged to ensure people living in these areas can continue hygiene practices during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. BRAC is also providing cash assistance to 100,000 families affected by Covid-19 in Bangladesh.
ChildFund Korea is donating US$77,000 to a ChildFund Cambodia project that will help educate more than 275,000 children and their families across 334 villages in Cambodia. The project will help commune councils strengthen their relief plans as well as provide educational materials across national television and social media. Videos produced by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, UNICEF, and Save the Children will be part of the campaign focusing on disease prevention amidst Covid-19, learning from home, and mental and physical well-being, among other topics. Khmer Times interviewed other NGOs in Cambodia to highlight the impact of Covid-19 on nonprofits and how they are soldiering on.
Companies continue to donate cash and needed supplies to communities affected by Covid-19. For organizations dependent on CSR funding, the pouring of such funds into Covid-19 relief efforts is leaving them uncertain about their future projects.
In Bangladesh, mobile finance service provider Bkash is the latest company to add a ‘Donation’ button to the main menu of its mobile app to streamline donations to 11 humanitarian organizations aiding Covid-19 relief efforts. Dettol Harpic Porichchonno Bangladesh (DHPB) will donate hygiene products such as Dettol soaps, Harpic cleaners, and other products to 50,000 families across the country, in partnership with BRAC and Bangladesh Scouts. The company will also partner with BRAC to provide cash donations to 500 poor and needy families in rural Bangladesh.
In China, Ant Financial Services Group released its 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, detailing its efforts to leverage digital technology for social good. The report also details the variety of digital services and measures launched to help fight Covid-19 and mitigate its impacts.
In India, ET Intelligence Group looks at how Covid-19 is likely to have a severe impact on traditional CSR expenditure and the ecosystem dependent on it, as donations to the PM Cares Fund and Covid-19 relief work qualify as CSR expenditure. The article highlights how some companies in India have already exceeded their FY19 CSR expenditure on Covid-19 related efforts. Whether companies will expand their CSR budgets given the pandemic is still a question to be answered. According to an official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office on May 13, the PM CARES fund will allocate ₹3,100 crore (approximately US$410 million) to Covid-19 relief measures, including funds for ventilators, migrant workers, and vaccine development. The announcement comes one and a half months after the fund was established on March 27. SBI Foundation, the CSR arm of State Bank of India, has committed ₹30 crore (approximately US$4 million) to implement various Covid-19 relief programs across the country.
In Malaysia, brands joined forces to launch CSR efforts that support communities in need during Ramadan. This includes Fave Malaysia, Nestle Malaysia, UMobile, Tiffin, AirAsia, Shell Malaysia, and others. Nestle has mobilized its value chain to launch a global Covid-19 response, including in Malaysia. Nestle has pledged to support 200,000 socially vulnerable Malaysians amid the crisis, committed US$3.4 million to a fund that will supplement the livelihoods of lower-income communities and small enterprises, donated US$230,000 to the Malaysian Red Crescent, donated 10,000 Nestle family food packages, and channeled US$115,000 to the Yayasan Food Bank Malaysia.
In Pakistan, the National Bank of Pakistan has topped up earlier contributions towards Covid-19 relief with a donation of Rs80 million (approximately US$500,000) to support over 26,000 financially vulnerable households.
In the Philippines, LT Group is donating a bio-molecular laboratory, worth P15 million (approximately US$300,000), to the Philippine Red Cross in Batangas City, capable of conducting 4,000 Covid-19 tests daily. The lab is scheduled to be completed within a month. Union Bank of the Philippines’ UShare donation platform is helping ramp-up relief operations by facilitating online donations to NGOs in the largely cash-based country. Since the quarantine began, daily transactions via the platform have increased by 87%. Hyundai Motor through H.A.R.I. Foundation, the CSR arm of Hyundai Asian Resources, donated 2,200 PPE items to the Lung Center of the Philippines. Philippines Tatler gives a round up of Filipinos leading the fight against Covid-19, from conglomerates like SM Group to local mayors. The government also launched a public-private task force T3 (Test, Trace, and Treat) to urgently expand testing for Covid-19 from approximately 4,500 tests per day to at least 30,000 tests per day. The government task force is receiving support from the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), the Philippine National Red Cross, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and other private sector actors.
In Singapore, Perennial Real Estate Holding and Hong Kong-based Shun Tak Holdings have teamed up to donate five million surgical masks to the National Council of Social Service for vulnerable communities, making it the largest donation of surgical masks in Singapore for Covid-19 to date. Some Singaporean companies who do not need the Government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) payouts have decided to return the payouts to government, while others are donating the money to charity. For example, German pharmaceutical group Boehringer Ingelheim is donating its JSS payouts to five charities selected by its employees. Food firm TiffinLabs, co-founded by one of Singapore’s youngest billionaires Kishin R.K., has setup the Food is Love Foundation to give free meals to the needy during Covid-19. This includes 20,000 restaurant-quality meals in partnership with charity Free Food For All and 10,000 meals to healthcare workers, among other initiatives.
In Cambodia, Coca-Cola Cambodia diverted US$200,000 from its advertising budget to invest directly in a campaign to help stop the spread of Covid-19. The company also partnered with the Ministry of Health, City Hall, Union Youth Federations of Cambodia, and Samdech Techo Voluntary Youth and Doctors Association to help distribute anti-epidemic supplies, PPE, and educational materials to impoverished communities, front-line medical workers, tuk-tuk drivers, hospitals, health centers and quarantine facilities.
Crowdfunding projects help virus-hit businesses in Japan. Popular crowdfunding sites Campfire, Readyfor, and MotionGallery have waived commission fees since late February. Since, these platforms have raised a total of over ¥1.7 billion (approximately US$16 million) for at least 1,000 projects up till May 8, including support for restaurants, hotel operators, and event hosts who suffered sharp falls in sales amid Covid-19.
IN OTHER NEWS…
Oxfam to close in 18 countries, including its country offices in Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. Oxfam International is to lay off almost 1,500 staff and close operations in 18 countries as the nonprofit’s funding has been impacted by Covid-19 and recent scandals, including the Haiti sex abuse scandal. The charity announced that it will focus on ushering in change and facilitating a deeper footprint of impact in the countries they will continue to operate in.
Covid-19 shrinks civic space in Southeast Asia. In a recent article for The Jakarta Post, the directors of Bangkok-based Asia Centre highlight examples from across Southeast Asia, where civil society organizations (CSOs) are feeling the grip of Covid-19 legislation and social distancing measures. The article looks at how restrictions have halted organizations’ work and how funding has been diverted from CSOs to Covid-19 relief efforts.
International NGOs likely to slash funds for Nepal as pandemic affects developed world, stakeholders say. According to the Development Cooperation Report 2018-19 published by the Finance Ministry, international NGOs disbursed US$215 million to various projects in Nepal in that year. Stakeholders expressed uncertainty about whether the country will see the same funding commitments in the coming year amidst Covid-19. The president of the Association of International NGOs in Nepal noted that while aid pledged to the health sector is likely to remain stable, funding to other sectors might decrease. After the Social Welfare Council allowed foreign NGOs to divert 20% of their budget to Covid-19 efforts, a growing number of foreign NGOs have followed suit.
For microfinance lenders, Covid-19 is an existential threat. The Economist argues that the financial interests of the world’s poorest are not receiving enough attention as Covid-19 impacts microfinance lenders around the world. The article includes examples from Asia, such as Dvara Trust in Chennai, India and the microfinance arm of BRAC in Bangladesh, who are unable to carry out business as usual amidst lockdown measures and economic headwinds from the crisis.
Korean NGO’s role in supporting ‘comfort women’ questioned. The Diplomat reports on recent accusations from a former victim of mishandled donations. According to the Korean daily Chosun Ilbo, if allegations are true, the NGO Korean Council for Justice Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan might have exaggerated when reporting to the tax authorities. In a press conference, the NGO’s director Yoon Mi-hyang admitted there were mistakes in the organization’s accounting practices but pointed to “the nature of a civic group without enough people to handle heavy workloads.”
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