CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

29 September 2021 – 12 October 2021

Corporates donate big to flood relief efforts in Shanxi Province, China. Companies including tech giants Tencent, Alibaba and Pinduoduo, and smartphone makers Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, have pledged US$46 million to aid over 1.75 million people affected by severe rainstorms and floods. The giving comes amid a nationwide call of common prosperity, the concept championed by President Xi Jinping that companies should focus on stakeholder value and contribute to overall societal wellbeing. Continue reading in the South China Morning Post →

Sustainable infrastructure platform launched in Singapore. Temasek has partnered with HSBC Bank to set up a US$150 million platform dedicated to sustainable infrastructure projects. Initially focusing on Southeast Asia, the aim is to scale the platform to US$1 billion in loans within 5 years. The platform will target projects in renewable energy and storage, water and waste treatment, and sustainable transport to offset the impact of climate change. Continue reading on HSBC’s website →

India’s social sector gets a boost. The country is set to establish its first social stock exchange, paving the way for nonprofit organizations and for-profit social enterprises to access capital markets. Organizations will be able to raise funds through equity, impact bonds, and other market instruments. Also, India just celebrated DaanUtsav, a week-long festival of giving and the fifth year of GivingTuesday India, led by nonprofit and CAPS partner GuideStar India. This year’s events focused on impacting millions of lives through donations and volunteering.

India’s richest are investing big in clean energy. Mukesh Ambani tops the Forbes and Hurun India’s respective rich lists, followed by Gautam Adani in second spot. Both are making significant investments in clean energy, with Reliance spending US$10.1 billion over 3 years, and the Adani Group investing US$50-70 billion over the next 10 years. These investments show Asian energy companies recognize the need to focus on renewable and clean energy sources.

Corporates and foundations seek to address social issues in Hong Kong. New World Development launches a nonprofit social housing enterprise, New World Build for Good, to research and pilot programs in pursuit of solutions for the city’s housing issues. The Wofoo Foundation donates to Hong Kong’s Lingnan University with funding to establish a laboratory in support of adolescent wellbeing. This adds to a previous donation from the foundation in 2019.

Nobel Peace Prize honors an investigative journalist in the Philippines. This year’s prize acknowledges Maria Ressa for her courage and commitment towards independent and fact-based journalism, according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Continue reading on the Nobel Peace Prize’s website →

Accolades for environmental justice organization in India. The nonprofit Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE) is one of four global awardees of the 2021 Rights Livelihood Award, recognizing the organization’s contribution in providing access to justice for those protecting the country’s forests and biodiversity. Continue reading in the Hindustan Times →

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CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

15 September 2021 – 28 September 2021

Hong Kong-based Yidan Prize Foundation unveils 2021 award winners. Regarded as one of the world’s highest education accolades, the Yidan Prize recognizes individuals and teams with significant contributions to education research and education development. This year’s Yidan Prize for Education Research laureate is Stanford University’s Professor Eric Hanushek, and the Yidan Prize for Education Development laureate is Dr. Rukmini Banerji of the Pratham Education Foundation. Each laureate will be awarded HK$30 million (approximately US$3.9 million). Continue reading on Yidan Prize’s website →

Pakistan’s local startups see record investment. Maqsad raised the nation’s largest edtech funding to date of US$2.1 million, marking the latest milestone among the nation’s startup industry, reports Bloomberg. In total, the country’s startups have raised over US$244 million in 2021—more than the previous six years combined, according to venture capital fund, Invest2Innovate. There is even more room for growth; according to CAPS’ study Business for Good, only 26% of social enterprises in Pakistan receive private investment. Continue reading in Bloomberg →

Tencent’s “99 Giving Day” 2021 raises ¥4.2 billion (approximately US$649.5 million). This year’s event spanned 10 days and saw over 68.7 million donors contribute ¥3.6 billion (approximately US$557 million), while Tencent Charity Foundation pledged to give ¥600 million (approximately US$92.5 million). Continue reading on Tencent’s website →

Bloomberg Philanthropies and Goldman Sachs pledge US$25 million to advancing clean energy solutions in South and Southeast Asia. The new Climate Innovation Fund, to be managed by the Asian Development Bank, will focus on clean energy solutions in India and Vietnam to begin with. This initial philanthropic funding has the potential to unlock up to US$500 million in private and government investments. Continue reading on Bloomberg Philanthropies’ website →

Corporates, governments and foundations continue contributing to Covid-19 relief and aid efforts in the region. BRAC Bank and SME Foundation signed an agreement to provide loans to help small businesses in Bangladesh recover from the impact of the pandemic. The Philippines’ SM Group intensifies vaccination of employees and stakeholders. The Macquarie Group Foundation allocated AU$20 million (approximately US$14.5 million) to 40 community organizations around the world working to combat Covid-19. This included helping seed two Gender Lens Funds in the Philippines. In Vietnam, the American Chamber of Commerce donated over VND5.2 billion (US$227,000) for the purchase of essential medical equipment. Intel Malaysia earmarked a second round of funding amounting to RM2 million (approximately US$477,000) towards relief efforts.

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CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

01 September 2021 - 14 September 2021

Alibaba commits ¥100 billion (US$15.5 billion) to “common prosperity” vision. China Daily reports that the funding will go towards supporting technological innovation, economic development, developing a high-quality workforce, caring for vulnerable groups, and setting up a ¥20 billion (approximately US$3.1 billion) common prosperity development fund. Continue reading in China Daily →

The family of CAPS’ Chairman Ronnie Chan has been active on both sides of the Pacific. In Hong Kong and mainland China, their Hang Lung Properties group hosted a sustainability-themed volunteer day where 800 corporate volunteers in 10 cities dedicated their time to promoting low carbon living and delivering care to over 5,000 people in need. And in the US, the Chans’ Morningside Foundation has donated US$175 million from their philanthropic organization to the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Hyundai Motor Group’s honorary chairman Chung Mong-koo pledges ₩10 billion (US$8.63 million) for vaccine research. The funds will be donated to the Korea University Medical Center for establishing a vaccine research center to expand the infrastructure needed to develop homegrown vaccines for infectious diseases. Continue reading in The Korea Herald →

WWF India and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) launch the India Plastics Pact. India generates 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste annually. Almost half (43%) of all plastics produced are used for packaging, with the majority being single-use. The Pact brings together businesses, government, and NGOs to resolve these issues by promoting a circular system for plastics. India is the first Asian economy to launch a Plastics Pact. Continue reading in Business Line →

Cambodia’s Prince Holding Group signs MoU with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) to launch the Chen Zhi Scholarship. The company has pledged US$2 million over seven years to support 400 students attending top Cambodian universities. Prince Group will work with MoEYS to ensure the students receive financial support, training, mentoring and employment opportunities. Continue reading in the Khmer Times →

India’s water quality and scarcity issues require solutions that offer speed, scale, and sustainability. Arghyam’s Jayamala Subramaniam and Amrtha Kasturi Rangan share how a people-centric, participatory and digital driven approach can help India manage its water more effectively. CAPS’ report, Public-Private Partnerships for Social Good, highlights the strategies successful PPPs such as Arghyam use to achieve sustainable social impact. Continue reading in India Development Review →

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CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

18 August 2021 - 31 August 2021

Spending on CSR in India crosses INR1 lakh crore (US$13.6 billion) milestone, seven years after mandatory CSR law came into effect. According to CRISIL, as much as 40% of this total was raised in the last two years as companies stepped up to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Corporate funding is integral to the social sector—CAPS’ Doing Good Index 2020 shows that 51% of social delivery organizations in India receive funding from corporates. Continue reading on CRISIL’s website →

Chinese billionaires donate big. Donations from just seven billionaires this year amount to US$5 billion, exceeding total nationwide giving for 2020, reports Bloomberg. This year’s pledges arrive as the government pushes for “common prosperity” and signals it wants to close the country’s wealth gap. Tencent has pledged to invest US$15 billion in social responsibility programs while Pinduoduo has announced a ¥10 billion (approximately US$1.55 billion) investment in agriculture development. Continue reading in Bloomberg →

2021 Ramon Magsaysay Awards recipients announced. The award, established in honor of former president of the Philippines Ramon Magsaysay, honors individuals and organizations committed to building solutions to vital and complex issues in their society. This year’s recipients include four individuals covering Pakistan, Bangladesh and countries in Southeast Asia, and one organization from Indonesia. Continue reading on the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation’s website →

Three-quarters of Asia Pacific’s economic output and half of the region’s labor force is exposed to significant disruptions from climate change, according to Deloitte. Their recently released report, “Asia Pacific’s turning point: How climate action can drive our economic future,” seeks to reframe the debate on climate change by highlighting the opportunity for climate action to be a driver for economic prosperity. Separate reports for China, Japan, Korea, India, Taiwan and Southeast Asia are also available.

Diaspora philanthropy has untapped potential for Pakistan. Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy’s Executive Director Shazia Maqsood Amjad shares that more awareness and work to mobilize funding from the 9 million Pakistanis that live abroad can help address the country’s social needs. Continue reading on WINGS’ website →

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Building High-Impact CSR Programs in India

The Bridgespan Group

In 2013, India became the first country in the world to mandate corporate social responsibility investments. This playbook reflects on the seven years since the legal amendment on CSR came into effect, distilling key lessons and providing guidelines for corporates in India on how to run high-impact CSR programs. Insights were drawn from interviews with eight India corporates that have demonstrable commitment to social impact in terms of the size of their CSR spend and operating model. Read it here.

CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

04 August 2021 – 17 August 2021

Huawei announces a US$100 million investment in the Asia Pacific startup ecosystem over the next three years. The investment will go towards the company’s Spark Program, a startup accelerator which has been helping Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong build their startup hubs. The program will focus on developing additional hubs in Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Continue reading on Huawei’s website →

9 private banks partner with BRAC to strengthen its public awareness and emergency support campaigns as Covid-19 surges in Bangladesh. Donations amounting to TK15.95 crore (approximately US$1.88 million) will be used to deliver cash support, masks and preventative services in 20 high-risk districts across the country. Continue reading in the Dhaka Tribune →

Communities, nonprofits and social enterprises support pandemic relief in Asia. In Thailand, volunteers help the elderly and vulnerable who have become isolated as a result of the pandemic. In Vietnam, an estimated 90 community groups and organizations provide emergency donations, free counseling services and online learning courses for children. The World Economic Forum releases a list of the top 50 social enterprises providing critical support on the frontlines in India.

Khazanah Nasional Berhad—Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund—announces RM6 billion (US$1.4 billion) fund to increase its high-impact, commercially viable investments over the next 5 years. The funds are expected to focus on investments that create impactful economic and social benefits as well as environmental, social and governance (ESG) areas. Continue reading in Reuters →

Founder and chairman of MBK Partners Michael ByungJu Kim pledges KRW30 billion (US$26.5 million) to the Seoul Metropolitan Government. To be used for the construction of a public library opening in 2025. Continue reading in Business Korea →

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CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

21 July 2021 - 3 August 2021

Philanthropists, corporates and the social sector donate to flood relief in Henan Province. China’s largest tech companies, including Tencent Holdings, Alibaba Group Holdings, Meituan, ByteDance and others, announced donations amounting to nearly ¥1 billion (US$154 million). State owned enterprises donated ¥686 million (approximately US$106 million).

Foundations and nonprofits also stepped up, including the Chinese Red Cross FoundationChina Siyuan Foundation for Poverty AlleviationLi Ka Shing Foundation and AmCham ChinaReuters reported that donations nearing US$300 million flowed to the flood-hit region.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma tops the 2021 Forbes China Philanthropy List. Ma and Hangzhou-based Alibaba made combined cash donations of ¥3.2 billion (approximately US$493.4 million) in 2020. The top 100 philanthropists donated a total of ¥24.5 billion (approximately US$3.79 billion)—a 37% increase from the preceding year. Continue reading in the South China Morning Post 

Sasakawa Peace Foundation commits US$5 million to supporting female entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia. The capital will be invested in Beacon Fund, an investment firm working with women-owned and women-focused enterprises. It will add momentum and help build the gender lens investing ecosystem in the region. Continue reading on Sasakawa Peace Foundation’s website 

Google.org commits US$7.5 million in grants and other support to help alleviate the current pandemic crisis in six Asian economies. US$1.5 million will go to UNICEF and support urgent needs in Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. US$1 million will go to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to address needs in Indonesia. US$5 million worth of Ad Grants will go to local government agencies and organizations across Southeast Asia to run public health information campaigns for free. Continue reading on UNICEF’s website →

United In Diversity (UID) Foundation and Gajah Tunggal Group donate 2,000 tons of liquid oxygen to fight Indonesia’s surge in Covid-19 cases. The donation was made to the Ministry of Health and will be distributed to hospitals experiencing oxygen shortages. Continue reading in Antara News →

LGT Private Banking launches first impact fund. US$900 million worth of investments will be made in rapidly growing, innovative and sustainable businesses in India, Europe and Latin America. Most of the investments will be in sectors such as education, healthcare, sustainable food and agriculture, renewable energy, fintech and others. Continue reading on LGT’s website →

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CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

07 July 2021 - 20 July 2021

Wipro commits an additional ₹1,000 crore (approximately US$134 million) of grants for Covid-19 relief. These funds will focus on universal vaccinations and build on the company’s donation of ₹1,125 crore (approximately US$150 million) in the early days of the pandemic. Wipro’s founder and chairman Azim Premji has been recognized as one of the world’s leading donors in Covid-19 relief efforts. Continue reading in The Times of India →

Corporates and foundations are pooling resources to support relief efforts as Southeast Asia’s Covid-19 infections surge. To aid relief in Indonesia, Temasek FoundationTanoto FoundationBakti Barito FoundationDBS Bank and a dozen other businesses are coordinating the sourcing and shipments of 11,000 oxygen concentrators. Indonesia’s largest tech company GoTo is leading efforts to develop a facility that will provide an uninterrupted oxygen supply directly from a production plant in East Jakarta, addressing severe shortages in hospitals. The Indonesian embassy in Singapore is also collecting donations and medical supplies from the Indonesian expat community with a target of raising US$1 million, half of which have been collected thus far.

Other economies are also receiving Covid-19 relief. Procter & Gamble is providing 300,000 care packs, worth SG$3.1 million (approximately US$2.3 million), to support migrant workers in Singapore. The Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation announced further donations of essential medical equipment to seven Asian economies, including India and Vietnam.

Rotary and Tata Trusts announce a five-year collaboration to scale community interventions in India. The partnership will focus on water and sanitation, health, education, Covid-19 relief, economic empowerment and education, with an emphasis on women and children. The joint programs are aligned with the Government of India’s objective of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. With an existing overlap in interest and convergence of activities, the collaboration seeks to scale impact and reach more communities in need. Continue reading on the Tata Trusts website →

Xiaomi Corp. co-founder Lei Jun donates US$2.2 billion to charity. Lei transferred 616 million Xiaomi shares to the Xiaomi Foundation and Lei Jun Foundation, just as the company becomes the world’s second largest smartphone maker. With this donation, the billionaire joins the likes of other Chinese tech company founders in substantially growing their philanthropic giving. Continue reading in Bloomberg →

Philanthropist Rohini Nilekani and institutional investor Social Alpha invest ₹3.05 crore (approximately US$548,000) in DanaMojo, a payment solutions platform for NGOs. The investment will help DanaMojo grow the platform, and reduce the time, energy and cost for nonprofits in managing donations. Since its inception, DanaMojo has onboarded over 900 NGOs. Continue reading in The Economic Times →

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CAPS Spotlight: Who’s Doing Good

9 June 2021 - 22 June 2021

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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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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