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 →

Have a story to share? Contact us at research@caps.org.

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.

The State of Social Enterprise in South East Asia

British Council and UNESCAP

This report combines economy-specific analyses of social enterprises across South East Asia, including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. An estimated one million social enterprises exist across these economies. This report highlights the activities that social enterprises are engaged in, the range of beneficiaries, as well as their size and reach. The diverse types and sources of support social enterprises receive are also discussed. Read it here.

Individual reports can be accessed here:

CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

02 March 2021 - 15 March 2021

In the latest for South China Morning Post, CAPS explains how China achieved its poverty alleviation goal by seasoning its ‘stone soup’ strategy. On February 25th, Xi Jinping announced that his signature campaign to eliminate absolute poverty was a success. CAPS’ Chief Executive Ruth Shapiro and Deputy Director of Advisory Services Angel Lin give insight into the four strategies—a focused campaign, aligned incentives, tracking poverty, and mobilizing resources—that helped China achieve this audacious goal. Continue reading in the South China Morning Post →

Family philanthropy in India has tripled since 2019, according to latest India Philanthropy Report. While other sources of private funding—foreign, corporate, and retail—remained stagnant, funding from individual philanthropists grew to approximately INR 12,000 crore (approximately US$1.7 billion) in FY2020. This accounts for almost two-thirds of the increase in funding during the pandemic. This rise in individual giving is welcome, as foreign funding saw its share of overall funding fall to 25% and corporate funding is set to decline. Continue reading in the Business World →

Singapore’s Temasek Holdings commits US$500 million to impact investing specialist LeapFrog Investments. This allocation by Temasek, the US$214 billion Singapore state-backed investment company, is the largest single commitment to a specialist impact investment manager, according to the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). Temasek hopes its commitment will encourage other large institutional investors to move into impact investing. Continue reading in the Financial Times →

Newly published report estimates 1 million social enterprises across South East Asia. The State of Social Enterprise in South East Asia, launched earlier this month by the British Council, collates research on social enterprises from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The report examines social enterprises’ activities, size and reach, as well as available government and financial support. CAPS also estimated there to be at least 1.2 million social enterprises in the six economies covered in Business for Good: Maximizing the Value of Social Enterprises in Asia. Continue reading in Pioneers Post →

Have a story to share? Contact us at research@caps.org.

CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

18 January 2021 - 03 February 2021

BRAC, the world’s largest NGO, rethinks its future. As Covid-19 continues to restrict its ability to work outside of Bangladesh, BRAC is aiming to expand its partnerships and engage more in advocacy work to scale its impact. The NGO’s shift to focus on capacity building and policy shines light on what the future of development work may look like after Covid-19. Others in the space, such as Oxfam, also foresee a shift to a partnership model rather than a direct delivery model. Continue reading in Devex →

Companies ranging from global brands to small businesses are offering pandemic aid to Thailand’s migrant workers. After the country’s recent spike in coronavirus cases, companies have stepped up to provide immediate supplies for migrant workers, who are mostly from Myanmar. CP Foods, Thai Union Group, and Osotspa have donated food and drink supplies, alongside global brands like PepsiCo and Mars. True Corp also joined the effort by donating mobile phone SIM cards to provide internet access for the migrant worker community. Continue reading in Reuters →

For Indian companies, spending on vaccine campaigns will count as CSR. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs declared that expenditure by Indian companies on awareness campaigns around the Covid-19 vaccination rollout could be counted towards their mandated CSR. Corporate spending on vaccine research and development as well as medical devices will also qualify. With these new changes, corporates are now lobbying for the vaccination of employees to also be included under the umbrella of CSR spending. Continue reading in India CSR →

Chinese philanthropy takes new shape amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. During the first half of 2020, Chinese philanthropists contributed more than US$2.82 billion to fight Covid-19. According to the report, Pandemic Philanthropy: Exploring Chinese Donors’ Embrace of Covid-19 R&D Funding, the pandemic spurred a shift in philanthropic giving from providing physical goods to focusing on research and development. This report discusses this welcome trend of investing in longer-terms needs, as well as other notable shifts in Chinese philanthropy during the pandemic. Continue reading in The Nonprofit Times →

The Philippines’ PLDT is bridging the digital divide in education’s new normal. In 2016, Smart Communications, a subsidiary of PLDT, launched “School-in-a-Bag”, a portable digital classroom designed to facilitate learning in remote areas using mobile technology. Each kit contains a laptop for the teacher, 20 tablets for students that can access interactive apps offline, and a Smart LTE pocket WiFi for teachers to download additional content. As kids rely even more on digital technology to continue learning in the pandemic, PLDT has donated an additional 86 digital classroom kits to the Department of Education this school year. Since its launch, the “School-in-a-Bag” kits have reached 80,000 students and 2,000 teachers across the Philippines. Continue reading in the Manila Standard →

The Jennifer Yu Cheng Girls Impact Foundation was recently launched to educate and empower schoolgirls in Greater China to become leaders in a digitalized economy. The new charity was launched by Jennifer Yu Cheng, executive director of Chow Tai Fook and wife of Adrian Cheng, executive vice-chairman and chief executive of New World Development. The foundation will partner with NGOs and other institutions to extend scholarships to teenage girls in underprivileged communities, starting with China’s Guizhou province. The foundation will also work to empower girls in Hong Kong with improved tech skills and wider exposure to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs. Continue reading in the South China Morning Post →

Azim Premji sells shares worth Rs 9,000 crore in buyback, benefitting his two philanthropic trusts. The Azim Premji Trust and Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives will earn Rs 7,807 crore (over US$1 billion) from this, making them one of the largest charitable trusts in the region. Both organizations focus on education, nutrition, and issues related to vulnerable groups including street children, people with disabilities, and survivors of domestic violence. Continue reading in the Times of India →

Have a story to share? Contact us at research@caps.org.

2021: Reflections and Outlook

13 January 2021

We welcome 2021 with hope, not only for successful vaccination programs, but also for a year of recovery and rebuilding.

The social sector—nonprofits, social enterprises, and private and corporate philanthropists—were critical partners as economies across Asia tried to contain the fallout from a multi-faceted crisis in 2020. In addition to the pandemic, Asia was hit with some of the worst natural disasters to date and saw waves of civil unrest from Hong Kong to Thailand to India. We summarize this response below. In a forthcoming paper, we will explore the impact Covid-19 had on social delivery organizations and how they responded. Meanwhile, we wanted to bring you a summary of the unprecedented corporate response to meet the urgent needs of society that the pandemic precipitated.

 

After the initial coronavirus outbreak in China, there was an immediate response from Chinese philanthropists and tech giants. Jack Ma was one of the first movers with a US$14.4 million donation for vaccine development, alongside donations from Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, Huawei, and ByteDance. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was also an early mover, escalating its contributions as the year went on.

As Covid spread to other countries in early March, donations and support ramped up across the region. Familiar names in philanthropy (Li Ka Shing, Ratan Tata and Azim Premji, to name a few) donated large sums. Some unfamiliar names cropped up, such as Kakao founder Kim Beom-su. And other Asian philanthropists began to send aid to the US and Europe as needs shifted.

When the coronavirus was declared a pandemic in March 2020, CSR quickly took new shape, and some companies set up their own Covid-19 relief funds, including Alibaba (US$144 million), Tencent (US$100 million), Sony (US$100 million), Bajaj Group (US$14 million), and Godrej Group (US$7 million).

A number of ‘Prime Minister Relief Funds’ or similar taskforces were set up—and in turn, companies were encouraged to donate to them. This includes India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. India’s Ministry of Corporate Affairs announced that the spending of CSR funds towards Covid-19 initiatives would be counted as CSR activity under the Companies Act.

Donations were also channeled to public health research and vaccine development. China Vanke Co donated US$748 million to Tsinghua University to establish the Vanke School of Public Health. Uniqlo’s Tadashi Yanai donated US$93 million to Kyoto University for vaccine research.

Companies also took a “not business as usual” approach by pivoting their production lines or launching new operations to make medical supplies. This includes Japanese companies Sony, Toyota, Suntory, Mitsubishi Motors, Fast Retailing, and Shiseido, as well as Vingroup (Vietnam), Indorama Ventures (Thailand), Reliance (India), and New World Development (Hong Kong). Other companies donated their own F&B products to assuage food insecurity.

Major banks offered financial relief measures. Owners of major malls in the Philippines and Thailand offered rent relief for their tenants. Some companies diverted their advertising budgets for relief efforts or awareness-raising campaigns.

As the pandemic upended education globally, businesses stepped in to help bridge the digital divide. Companies provided digital tools (i.e., mobile phones and software), improved internet access for students, and offered digital literacy training. Mi India donated smartphones to students in under-resourced communities through Teach for India. PLDT teamed up with schools, Microsoft, and Google to make digital solutions more accessible for the education sector in the Philippines. Tencent leveraged their online learning platform to make online teaching accessible for 20 million students within a matter of days.

While these are just a few examples of how corporates rose to the occasion in 2020, it also underscores the need for even greater private social investment this year. But what might 2021 look like?

1.    Despite exacerbated CSR budgets, there will be growing political and social pressure on corporates to give more and do more.

2.    During Covid, many corporates leveraged the reach of and trust in nonprofits to distribute resources to those most in need. We expect this to continue as the social sector is well positioned to help maximize the reach and impact of CSR.

3.    Public-private partnerships (PPPs) will continue to grow in number and importance as economies focus on vaccine distribution and rebuilding. We also expect there to be an uptick in what we call “PPPs for social good” as the pandemic has exacerbated inequities in income, education, and other areas.

With increased corporate support in 2020, we are cautiously optimistic that they will continue to play a more active role alongside government and the social sector. As we monitor these developments, we will keep you apprised through our upcoming newsletters and research reports.

Best wishes for the year ahead!

The CAPS Team

2018 Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index: Asia

United States Agency for International Development (USAID), FHI 360 & the International Center for Non-For-Profit Law (ICNL)

The fifth edition of this annual index analyzes the capacity of civil society organizations in nine countries across Asia: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. It assesses civil society’s capacity to serve both as a partner in the delivery of short-term solutions and in driving longer-term sustainable development outcomes. Read it here.

Webinar: Asia Society Hong Kong Center Program Charting the Path Forward

Catching the world unaware, Covid-19 has sent the global economy and the lives of billions into a tailspin. In the wake of this pandemic, the public, private, and social sectors must come together to work towards a stronger and more equitable Asia as we build our way out of this crisis. At a time when foreign funding is declining across the region, “Asia for Asia” philanthropy must fill the gap—and the Doing Good Index shows how.

CAPS’ Co-Founder and Chief Executive Ruth Shapiro and Director of Research Mehvesh Mumtaz Ahmed present the key findings of the index and showcase how governments, philanthropists, companies and the social sector can work together for mutual benefit. This discussion was moderated by Ronnie C. Chan, Co-Founder and Chairman of CAPS and Chairman of Asia Society Hong Kong Center.

Who’s Doing Good

18 August 2020 - 31 August 2020

THE NONPROFITS

Foreign funding for Bangladesh NGOs drops sharply. Foreign funding disbursed through a government regulatory body has declined sharply in the last fiscal year due to Covid-19. According to the NGO Affairs Bureau, the commitment for grants decreased by almost 17% to Tk 75.59 billion (approximately US$900 million) in FY 2019-2020 from Tk 91.18 billion (approximately US$1 billion) in the previous fiscal year. Kam Morshed, a senior director at BRAC, noted that foreign funding has been on a downward trajectory in recent years as the country grows economically stronger. However, as this trend is accelerated by Covid-19, Morshed underscores the need for more government funding for NGOs and coordination among NGOs to ensure optimum use of resources for social service delivery. CAPS’ Doing Good Index 2020, released in June 2020, had also highlighted a trend of declining foreign funding across Asia. We believe Covid-19 is likely accelerating this trend and widening the resource gap for social service organizations.

Study on Singapore’s charities finds diversity of charity boards has impact on performance. A recent study of 204 charities in Singapore by Conjunct Consulting found that greater diversity of board members shows better financial performance. It says greater ethnic, gender, and expertise diversity guides charities towards a sustainable future. For example, a more diverse board can help charities broaden their networks to fill gaps in expertise and fundraising. According to the study, women comprised a third of the boards studied, yet ethnic diversity was still lacking: over 80% of board members are Chinese and only 3% are Malay. Conjunct Consulting has developed a board diversity calculator tool to help charities assess how they fare on gender, ethnic, and expertise diversity.

Safe home initiative supports Pakistan communities hit hard by Covid-19. The Asia Foundation launched a community-centered initiative ‘Safe Home Initiative for Women and Children,’ together with local nonprofit the Children’s Global Network Pakistan. The initiative addresses the pandemic’s public health and social welfare implications for affected communities in rural areas. For example, the initiative distributes recyclable sanitary pads and refers at-risk women to agencies that offer services for victims of domestic violence. This article highlights the initiative’s key milestones since early July.

THE BUSINESSES

Coronavirus has accelerated growing awareness of need for fairer capitalism, as businesses step up to help. This South China Morning Post op-ed illustrates how businesses that had created bridges to their communities before the crisis were better prepared to aid Covid-19 relief efforts. The article highlights examples such as the Ayala Group in the Philippines, whose contributions to Covid-19 relief efforts have totaled around US$181 million thus far. The Ayala Group set out to protect what it calls its ecosystem, which includes employees, informal workers, small businesses, and the urban poor. This article argues that businesses in Asia who were able to respond the most efficiently had deepened community engagement, worked intensively with government and civil society, and forgone short-term profits.

Hyundai India announced phase two of CSR initiatives amid Covid-19 crisis. Hyundai Motor India announced its Hyundai Cares 2.0 CSR initiative, which will run till December 2020. Under the broad goal of helping communities overcome the implications of the pandemic, Hyundai India’s philanthropic efforts will focus on three key activities: Health, Education and a Clean India. Efforts will include handing out masks, distributing tablets pre-loaded with academic curriculum for lower income children, as well as a sanitization drive to disinfect public spaces in 292 districts/tehsils across India.

TerraCycle Global Foundation tackles plastic pollution crisis in world’s waterways. According to the Ocean Conservancy, over half of the plastic that ends up in our oceans comes from five countries—China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. In recognition of this growing issue, the TerraCycle Global Foundation—the philanthropic arm of TerraCycle—launched a new initiative in Thailand together with The PepsiCo Foundation and Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. The TerraCycle Foundation installed river plastic capture traps designed to increase the amount of debris and plastics collected from Thai waterways, thereby intercepting this waste before it reaches the ocean. The Foundation will recycle waste collected by its own initiative as well as that collected by other organizations participating in the Thai government’s marine debris management program.

THE INNOVATORS

Covid-19 has brought much-needed collaboration to India’s development sector. In their op-ed, Deepali Khanna of the Rockefeller Foundation and Sudha Srinivasan of The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation argue that corporates, governments, civil society, and individual innovators have come together to address the pandemic in India in an unprecedented way. They highlight how companies and nonprofits alike assisted the government in immediate relief efforts, while the innovation ecosystem bolstered support like never before as governments extended an open call for innovative ideas to mitigate the outbreak. They argue that this departure from business as usual ushered in a new respect and recognition for each other’s role, and this collective action has demonstrated how the development sector can also expand to include all ecosystem actors.

We’d also like to hear from you. How is your organization responding to Covid-19? Email us your stories at research@caps.org.

Who’s Doing Good

06 July 2020 - 19 July 2020

THE GIVERS

Renowned filmmakers Wong Kar-Wai, Peter Chan Ho-sun, and Derek Yee pledge US$33.5 million to help revive the Hong Kong Film Industry. The donation will go to Hong Kong’s new Directors’ Succession Scheme, a government-funded initiative to boost the local film industry after Covid-19. The directors have pledged to pass on their skills and experience to the next generation, and they will be pairing up with promising local filmmakers to co-produce films during this uncertain time.

THE THINKERS

Read more about CAPS’ Doing Good Index 2020 in the Myanmar Times, “Myanmar moves up in Doing Good Index 2020,” and in Arthikpati (Nepali), “डुइङ गुड इन्डेक्स २०२० सार्वजनिक, च्यारिटी∕डोनेशनका लागि राम्रो वातावरण हुनेमा सिगापुर र ताइवान.” Listen to Money FM’s interview with CAPS’ Chief Executive Ruth Shapiro, where she discusses the index and a rising trend of cross-sector collaboration across Asia.

New report: Gender Lens Investing Landscape – East and Southeast Asia. The Sasakawa Peace Foundation, in partnership with Catalyst at Large and Sagana, launched the region’s first landscape of gender lends investing (GLI) investment vehicles in both public and private markets. The report aims to track the size and state of the gender lends investing market in Asia over time.

New report: Sustainable Investing Review 2020. According to Standard Chartered’s latest report, Sustainable Investing Review 2020, sustainable investment is on the rise in Asia. 90% of investors in the region said they are interested in sustainable investment and plan to invest 5-10% of their funds in this area. Yet, the report also highlights the need for more awareness and information regarding ESG solutions, as many affluent and high-net-worth investors in the region are still apprehensive about sustainable investing.

THE BUSINESSES

H&M Foundation to support female garment workers in Bangladesh. The Foundation will donate US$1.3 million to provide emergency relief to an estimated 76,000 young women and their families in the greater Dhaka area amidst Covid-19. The funds will be distributed to WaterAid, CARE, and Save the Children. In response to the devastation of the textile industry caused by Covid-19, H&M foundation has also pledged long-term upskilling, re-skilling, digital literacy, and entrepreneurship initiatives to help enhance the employability of female textile workers.

Wadhwani Foundation commits Rs 200 crore (approximately US$27 million) for social development programs amidst Covid-19. The Foundation announced the Sahayata Initiative to help distressed small and medium enterprises affected by Covid-19 as well as to help public health workers improve their Covid-19 knowledge and skills. The initiative consists of three programs: the Sahayata Business Stability program, the Sahayata Covid-19 Skilling program, and the Sahayata Public Health Innovation program.

Shangri-La partners with Diversey to upcycle 12,500 kg of hotel linen into face masks for the vulnerable. 21 participating Shangri-La hotels in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka joined the initiative Linens for Life Face Masks, together with Diversey, a global hygiene solutions provider. The hotel linens have been upcycled into half a million reusable face masks by local nonprofits in the region. The masks will be distributed to local communities in need, such as refugees and asylum seekers in Bangkok, Thailand and orphanages in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

A joint CSR program in Malaysia to benefit 500 schools nationwide. This program by Green Packet’s subsidiary KiplePay and the Malaysia Xiang Lian Youth Association Charity and Education Fund will create an end-to-end digital experience for 500 schools. This initiative comes in response to Covid-19 which was “a wake-up call for schools to seriously consider putting in place technologically advanced protection systems that can continue to protect school children, even after the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Johnson Controls–Hitachi Air Conditioning India to train rural youth across the country. Recently, India’s Prime Minister cited air conditioning as a priority sector in the government’s push to generate jobs. As part of its ‘Unlocking Skills’ CSR initiative, Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India will expand skill development for the air conditioner and refrigeration industry amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. The company will leverage its trainers, specially designed curriculum, and its six skill development centers in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat to train rural youth via a virtual platform.

Companies continue to give to Covid-19 relief efforts. In Malaysia, Tropicana and Top Glove have jointly announced a donation of RM1.8 million (approximately US$500,000) worth of medical equipment and supplies to the Ministry of Health Malaysia. In India, Hyundai Mobis donated Rs3.5 crore (approximately US$500,000), with Rs 0.5 crore going to the PM CARES Fund and Rs3 crore to distributing masks and sanitizers through a local nonprofit.

We’d also like to hear from you. How is your organization responding to Covid-19? Email us your stories at research@caps.org