CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

13 May 2021 - 25 May 2021

Foreign donations continue to pour into India, but regulatory hurdles remain. Japan’s NTT pledged US$3 million; Thermo Fisher Scientific pledged US$10 million; and Silicon Valley tech leaders have organized relief, including Ethereum’s Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin who donated over US$1 billion in cryptocurrencies to the India Covid Crypto Relief Fund. The New York Times underscored ongoing concerns that India’s strict regulations on foreign funding are inhibiting donations at a time of dire need. Even crypto donations such as Buterin’s are facing legal hurdles under current FCRA regulations. While international support is critical, India Development Review’s Co-Founder and CEO Smarinita Shetty highlights how media attention on India’s lack of oxygen has skewed donor priorities, noting that humanitarian relief is still the need of the hour.

Domestic and international donors step in to aid Nepal as it battles a resurgence of Covid-19. The Chaudhary Foundation, affiliated with the Chaudhary Group, has pledged over US$1.5 million to help combat the second wave. The Foundation is also setting up an ICU ward and oxygen plant in the country’s largest government hospital, as well as importing and distributing oxygen concentrators. Gorkha Brewery joined hands with Singapore’s Lotus Life Foundation, MiRXES Pvt Ltd and Temasek Foundation to provide emergency medical supplies, including ventilators and oximeters, worth over रू200 million (approximately US$1.7 million). Temasek Foundation has also supplied 10,000 Covid-19 test kits.

HSBC commits US$100 million towards the Climate Solutions Partnership Initiative, half of which will fund projects in the Asia-Pacific region. In partnership with the World Resources Institute and WWF, the five-year initiative will focus on three areas: energy transition, habitat restoration and conservation, and carbon-cutting technologies. The initiative is part of HSBC’s climate strategy for a transition to net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. Continue reading in Philanthropy News Digest →

Colin Huang, Founder of Pinduoduo, tops the Hurun China Philanthropy List 2020. The billionaire gave US$1.85 billion in donations last year, according to the Hurun Research Institute. The second-most generous business leader on the list was Midea Group’s Founder He Xiangjian, who gave US$970 million last year. Continue reading in South China Morning Post →

SK Group’s building subsidiary rebrands to “SK Ecoplant” as part of efforts to enhance ESG management. The company plans to invest ₩3 trillion (US$2.67 billion) by 2023 towards its vision of growing from a conventional construction business into a leading environmental enterprise. The company will focus on expanding its use of eco-friendly building materials, embracing green technology, and transitioning towards a circular economy. Continue reading in The Korea Herald →

The Development Bank of Japan will increase ESG funding to ¥5.5 trillion (US$50.4 billion) over the next five years. The funding will support developments in hydrogen-based energy, electric vehicles and other emissions-cutting technology. It will also back companies adapting their business models to changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Continue reading in Nikkei Asia →

Governance failings impede Asian companies ESG efforts, according to latest Corporate Governance Watch Report. The 10th biennial report, “Future Promise,” by the Asian Corporate Governance Association (ACGA) and CLSA provides an analysis of corporate governance in 12 markets. Despite recent progress on ESG (environmental, social and governance) standards in Asia, the report finds that the link between corporate governance and ESG policies lacks clarity, limiting meaningful sustainability efforts. While environmental issues remain high on the agenda for Asian governments, this report offers recommendations for improving corporate governance factors across the region. Continue reading in Reuters →

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CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

26 May 2021 - 8 June 2021

Wang Xing, Founder of Meituan, gives big. Wang recently donated over US$2 billion worth of shares in the food-delivery giant to his philanthropic foundation. Meituan said the funds will go towards education and scientific research. Wang’s donation is in line with the recent trend of Chinese tech billionaires substantially increasing their philanthropic giving. Continue reading in The Wall Street Journal →

Companies in Asia set up Covid-19 inoculation programs for employees and their families. In India, companies including HCLBajaj Auto and Samsung India have launched employee vaccination campaigns. Japanese companies are also stepping up and inoculating employees, which will help the government double the number of daily vaccinations to 1 million. Companies in Southeast Asia rolled out similar initiatives in the second quarter of this year.

Terry Gou, Founder of Foxconn, pledges US$228 million to purchase 5 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines as Taiwan sees a spike in Covid-19 infections. The donation is expected to also cover the cost of transportation, cold chain logistics and storage, distribution, and administration. Continue reading in Taiwan News 

92% of youth-led enterprises in the Asia Pacific negatively impacted by Covid-19, according to Youth Co:Lab. The organization—co-created by UNDP and Citi Foundation—recently launched their report, “How Young Entrepreneurs in Asia-Pacific Responded to COVID-19.” It discloses how lockdowns, shrinking demand, supply chain disruptions and a credit crunch challenged these enterprises. They responded by pivoting business strategy, launching new products and services, and transforming business models. The report also showcases over 40 innovative youth-led solutions aiding the region’s Covid-19 recovery.

Japan’s impact investing market has potential to grow to ¥2.64 trillion (approximately US$24 billion). The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG-NAB) Japan recently launched their report, “The Current State and Challenges of Impact Investing in Japan.” It highlights trends in impact investing—including growing interest from corporates and the issuance of Japan’s first sustainability-linked bond—and forecasts market size. This is encouraging news as there is much room for growth; according to CAPS’ study Business for Good, only 9% of social enterprises in Japan receive private investment.

Asian philanthropists pool US$1.5 million to contribute 600,000 doses towards COVAX global Covid-19 vaccine target. Singapore-based Asia Philanthropy Circle raised this funding from 10 philanthropists and philanthropic organizations. Their pooled donation will be matched by a public charity through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, bringing total funding to US$3 million. Continue reading on Asia Philanthropy Circle’s website 

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CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

28 April 2021 - 12 May 2021

As cases continue to surge in India, ordinary citizens, charities and companies are working to mitigate the crisis. In many places, volunteers are filling the gaps by organizing charity drives and sourcing supplies. India’s younger generation is fighting the pandemic by setting up crowdsourcing apps and building online databases with real-time information on medical resources and oxygen availability across the country. Companies are continuing to aid the fight: Bajaj Group pledged an additional ₹200 crore (US$27 million); Accenture pledged US$25 million; Reliance Foundation is setting up an additional 1,000 bed facility in Jamnagar; tech companies from CRED to Google are also providing aid. While companies, charities, and ordinary citizens are stepping up, India’s ultra-rich are facing criticism for not giving more during this second wave.

Prime Minister Modi has asked NGOs and civil society groups to provide further help to medical professionals. However, nonprofits are saying that the FCRA amendments the government introduced last September have crippled the sector and limited their ability to access and distribute crucial foreign aid at this time. They are asking for FCRA requirements to be put in abeyance as the country battles the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thailand’s social sector is facing potential restrictions on foreign funding. In February, the Thai Cabinet approved a draft law in the name of creating more transparency in the social sector. The law has since drawn criticism from those in the sector, including human rights groups, and three United Nations Special Rapporteurs, who are concerned it would bring to heel the country’s NGOs. Section 6 of the draft law would place restrictions on organizations that receive foreign funding. This could have ramifications for the sector, as CAPS’ Doing Good Index 2020 found that 52% of social delivery organizations in Thailand receive foreign funding.

Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) and the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) begin construction of disaster, pandemic facility. The BPI Bayanihan Center will be a two-story, multi-purpose facility in Batangas City for people burdened by disasters and pandemics. The facility was intended to serve those severely affected by the Taal Volcano eruption in 2020, but its design has since been modified so that it can also function as a health care facility. The center will also be open for community programs and activities on occasion. Continue reading in The Manila Times →

NGO Rise Against Hunger and corporate partners join hands to end hunger in the Philippines. The number of people going hungry in the Philippines reached a record high during the pandemic, according to a Social Weather Stations survey. Rise Against Hunger stepped up to mobilize its staff and corporate volunteers to deliver food to various communities nationwide. With an ambitious goal to end hunger by 2030, the nonprofit’s corporate and government partnerships have been a key pillar in effectively reaching the poorest communities. Continue reading in The Manila Standard →

DBS Foundation doubles its grant program for social entrepreneurs to SG$3 million (approximately US$2.3 million). The philanthropic arm of DBS Bank has increased the funding pool of its grant program to support more social enterprises in the region as the pandemic persists. Social enterprises from Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, India, and Indonesia are eligible to apply. Continue reading in the Singapore Business Review →

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CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

14 April 2021 - 27 April 2021

Amid an oxygen shortage in India, businesses and NGOs are stepping in to aid India’s Covid-19 fight. Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani is supplying oxygen from Reliance’s refineries in Jamnagar to Maharashtra at no cost. Indian tech startups Zomato and Paytm have launched donation drives on their platforms to help provide oxygen concentrators. NGOs Hemkunt Foundation and Khalsa Aid India are helping source and distribute oxygen cylinders. NGO Red Crescent Society is leading an initiative to distribute oxygen cylinders through mosques in the Mumbai metropolitan region. Other actors are also stepping in: Star Special Air Gases Private Limited, a gas plant in Manesar, is refilling oxygen cylinders for free. As cases and deaths surge across the country, the government recently announced that spending by corporates for setting up makeshift hospitals and temporary Covid-19 care facilities will qualify as CSR activities under the companies law.

Tencent’s Pony Ma pledges US$7.7 billion of the social-media giant’s money for social causes. This fresh bequest—19 times the company’s donations last year—will go to projects ranging from rural development to carbon neutrality. It will also go towards investing in startups, which aligns with President Xi’s blueprint for national development. Continue reading in Reuters →

Community pantries offer reprieve from Covid-19 hardships in the Philippines. What began as a humble cart with free food has grown into over 300 donation-driven pantries across the country. This multi-sector effort to provide food and essential items to those in need has become an important service as the country faces one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the region. However, unsubstantiated claims by local police and a government task force that these pantries are affiliated with insurgents, a practice called ‘red-tagging’, has led to concern about the safety of volunteers. Continue reading in The Washington Post →

Li Ka Shing Foundation donates HK$30 million (approximately US$4 million) to The Chinese University of Hong Kong. The donation will go towards the expansion of research facilities at the Institute of Health Sciences. The institute was officially opened 14 years ago with support from Li’s foundation, and has developed into the flagship translational biomedical research center in the region. Continue reading in The Standard →

Ride hailing company Uber and NGO HelpAge India help aid vaccination efforts with free rides. Uber’s partnership with NGO HelpAge India will provide 25,000 free rides over the coming months to facilitate the vaccination of the vulnerable and disadvantaged elderly in 19 cities. This follows an earlier initiative where Uber provided 60,000 free rides to aid India’s vaccination drive. Continue reading in The Times of India →

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DECODED

Asia's social sector takes on Covid-19

Our DECODED series unpacks, explains and crystallizes issues critical for social investment in Asia. DECODED draws upon CAPS’ expertise in research, and access to an extensive network of sector experts and philanthropists in 18 Asian economies. This enables us to identify emerging trends in the region. Through DECODED, we translate these concepts into bite-sized, easy-to-understand insights.

This inaugural DECODED synthesizes how the social sector across Asia has risen to the occasion in responding to Covid-19, and what comes next. We end with recommendations for philanthropists, corporates and policymakers who want to invest in helping Asia’s social sectors thrive.

CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

31 March 2021 - 13 April 2021

Record SG$102 million (approximately US$76 million) donated on Giving.sg in past year, surpassing previous annual records. Around 600 charities received these donations, according to the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC). Like last year, Giving.sg has waived the 3% transaction fee for next year, meaning charities will continue to receive the full amount of the donation. Continue reading in The Straits Times →

Grab announces US$275 million GrabForGood Fund to provide funding and vaccine support. Grab will seed the fund with US$50 million in cash and US$200 million in Grab shares. Grab Group’s CEO and Co-founder Anthony Tan, Co-founder Tan Hooi Ling, and President Ming Maa also pledged a combined US$25 million in personal contributions of Grab shares. The fund’s first initiative will provide Covid-19 vaccine support for Grab partners, followed by grants and financial support for long-term social and environmental impact benefiting communities across Southeast Asia. Continue reading in Yahoo! Finance →

San Miguel Corporation’s new food donation drive to benefit 184,000 families in lockdown areas. As coronavirus cases rise in the Philippines, the conglomerate is ramping up its food donation efforts. This follows past donations to the country’s Covid-19 response, which have totaled over PHP13 billion (approximately US$268 million) of food aid, medical equipment and other forms of assistance. Continue reading in CNN Philippines →

Corporate India plans Covid-19 vaccination drive for its employees. Major companies—including Reliance Industries, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services—have committed to vaccinating eligible employees and their families free of cost. The government plans to qualify such expenditure as part of a company’s CSR obligations, as long as it is part of a community-based vaccination project. Continue reading in The Economic Times →

Neera Nundy, co-founder and partner at Dasra, underscores the role of family philanthropy. Nundy outlines how India can accelerate the impact of family philanthropy, the corpus of which tripled in the past year. In fostering more collaboration, family philanthropy can play a more central role—as partners to government and nonprofits—in driving more sustainable change. Continue reading in Forbes India →

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CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

16 March 2021 - 31 March 2021

After recent outbreak of Covid-19 cases, Cambodian government calls upon private sector for further assistance. One of Cambodia’s largest conglomerates, Prince Holding Group, and its chairman Neak Oknha Chen Zhi, answered the call with a fresh bequest of US$3 million. Cambodian tycoon Kith Meng and his family also contributed US$3 million, with an additional US$2 million to purchase Nokor Tep Hospital. Both Kith Meng and Chen Zhi are among a list of prominent business leaders who had already donated to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s vaccine efforts last December, contributing US$3 million each at that time.

Private equity fund ABC World Asia launches inaugural report detailing investment activities and impact performance. The report, “Journey to Impact in Asia,” showcases the performance of SG$98 million (approximately US$73 million) invested in five companies addressing challenges in climate, financial inclusion, healthcare, and sustainable agriculture in 2020. The fund aims to encourage more dialogue around impact investing in Asia by publicly sharing its framework for impact evaluation and its learning and experiences. In CAPS’ Business for Good, we highlight how impact investors can help incentivize other investors by publishing reports like this that showcase different approaches to investment and celebrate success stories. Continue reading in PR Newswire →

Swire Group reaffirms commitment to Hong Kong community with new HK$150 million (approximately US$20 million) charitable pledge. The new round of funding will go to TrustTomorrow, an initiative launched in early 2020 by the Group’s philanthropic arm Swire Trust. It will support around 30 projects, primarily in education, marine conservation and the arts, over the next three years. Continue reading in the South China Morning Post →

Survey of Indian bureaucrats highlights critical role of NGOs in pandemic response. The Centre for Policy Research survey, conducted in August-September 2020, polled over 500 officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). The findings show that three out of five officers considered NGOs and civil society as critical partners in the pandemic response. Officers in more developed states, however, were less likely to consider NGOs as critical partners, suggesting they may be less dependent on them for meeting gaps in services. Continue reading in Live Mint →

Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan, eldest daughter of the King of Malaysia, launches social enterprise on mental health. The 28-year-old royal has launched Green Ribbon Group, a social enterprise that aims to combat mental health issues in Malaysia. It will seek to empower stakeholders involved in raising awareness around mental health, through advocacy, fundraising, and collaboration initiatives. Continue reading in CNA Luxury →

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India Philanthropy Report 2021

Bain & Company and Dasra

The latest India Philanthropy Report showcases the state of giving towards the social sector in India. It highlights the growing contribution of family foundations, which has remained resilient during the pandemic, while other sources of private sector funding have stagnated. However, the social sector remains underserved, with annual funding shortfalls compounded by the addition of pandemic-induced demands.

The report estimates that if India’s ultra-high-net-worth families increase their giving in line with global peers (i.e., they give 2-3% of their wealth), family philanthropic funding would increase five-fold. Read it here.

The promise of impact investing in India

Brookings India

This report analyzes the state of India’s impact investing market, with a focus on the healthcare, education and agriculture sectors. Impact investing has been gaining traction in India among investors who want to do good and do well. This report identifies trends in the sector that mimic the international market, and those unique to the Indian context . This includes impact investment looking at areas traditional philanthropy covers, the hybrid role that impact investing plays between private equity investors and accelerators/incubators, and its strong focus on tech-based investments. The potential advantages of impact bonds are also examined. Read it here.

Global Philanthropy Report: Perspectives on the global foundation sector

John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

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.