Who’s Doing Good

01 September 2020 - 14 September 2020

THE GIVERS

Charitable bequests on the rise in Japan. Data disclosed by the National Tax Agency show that charitable bequests are on the rise in Japan with US$440 million donated in 2018, compared to US$58 million in 2010. CAPS’ Doing Good Index 2020 highlights how Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines stand out as the few economies in Asia that offer tax incentives for giving upon death in the form of charitable bequests. According to a survey by the Japan Succession Donation Association, 22.9% of respondents, ages 50-70, said they have considered making a charitable bequest upon death. However, challenges remain as only 1.2% of respondents said they have taken steps to make a bequest by writing a will or through other means.

Asian families shift priorities to community Covid relief. This article highlights how some family offices in Asia are switching their priorities for their impact investments towards supporting local communities impacted by the pandemic. Covid-19 has compelled some family offices to ‘double down’ on their funding efforts, as well as spurred greater collaboration between like-minded family offices. This includes new efforts to support social enterprises, such as the Community Resilience Fund in Hong Kong that provides liquidity support for social enterprises and helps them adapt and continue to support their local community. The Fund was initiated in March 2020 under the auspices of Hong Kong family office RS Group and Social Ventures Hong Kong (SVHK), and it is jointly operated by the Sustainable Finance Initiative.

THE BUSINESSES

This year’s “99 Giving Day” breaks record for China internet charity platform by Tencent. Since its establishment in 2015, “99 Giving Day” is considered the most popular annual charity festival in China, jointly initiated by Tencent Charity Foundation and thousands of other charity organizations, enterprises, celebrities, and media. With the theme of “Together We Can,” this year’s event raised a total donation of ¥3.044 billion (nearly US$500 million). More than 5,780 donors, 500 institutions, and 10,000 enterprises participated in the campaign, which broke the record for online giving in China. This year’s event also featured new tools to address transparency and challenges amidst Covid-19, such as charity consumption coupons and blockchain technology, amongst other new initiatives. Also, Tencent Charity Foundation announced that this year it would invest ¥399.9 million (nearly US$60 million) in matching donations.

Alibaba Group launches fourth annual Philanthropy Week with a series of initiatives designed to make giving easier and more transparent. The event featured close to 100 online and offline philanthropic activities, from ensuring nutritious meals reach impoverished children in China to promoting environmental awareness through recycling programs. To increase transparency and encourage donors to give confidently, all contributions are fully trackable with Alibaba’s “Charities on the Chain” solution, which was developed with Ant Group’s blockchain team so that users can see exactly where their donations are going and how they are being used. 

Ayala chief: Malls should provide more services to tenants. CEO of Ayala Corp Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said that mall operators need to adapt during Covid-19 and provide more services to help their tenants whose businesses have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Ayala notes that these added services could come in the form of logistics support or more storage space for their tenants’ stocks as online shopping grows in popularity. For example, last month Ayala Malls launched its online Neighborhood Assistant service, which allows customers to shop via the website of their nearest Ayala Mall. SM Prime Holdings, the country’s biggest mall operator, also stated that it was investing PHP 100 million (approximately US$2 million) on expanding its e-commerce presence.

UOB’s private equity arm achieves impact milestone. UOB Venture Management has issued its disclosure statement on the Operating Principles for Impact Management, making it the first Southeast Asian signatory of the Impact Principles (initiated by the World Bank Group), according to the bank. The firm has also recently obtained verification from Ernst & Young for its Asia Impact Investment Fund’s alignment with the principles. Launched in 2015 together with Credit Suisse, the US$55 million fund invests in high-growth companies from the education, healthcare, and agriculture sectors in Southeast Asia and China, which help to improve financial inclusion, affordable housing, sanitation, clean energy, and water for the region’s low-income communities.

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Red Cross, and local social enterprise team up to create clean and green care kits for migrant workers and low-income families. More than 300 Marina Bay Sands staff from over 40 departments packed 10,000 care kits in partnership with social enterprise Clean the World Asia and the Singapore Red Cross. Each kit contains essential items such as soap bars and soap bags, hand sanitizer, shampoo, hair conditioner, and surgical face masks. The soap bars are made from discarded soap from Marina Bay Sands’ premises and processed with the help of Clean the World Asia’s soap recycling facilities. The kits will be distributed to beneficiaries of the Singapore Red Cross, including the migrant worker community and low-income families.

THE INNOVATORS

MaGIC and Lazada Malaysia team up to promote social enterprise products. The Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) has partnered with e-commerce platform Lazada Malaysia to onboard and promote the products and services of social enterprises registered with MaGIC. As part of the #buyforimapct campaign, Lazada will subsidize the online startup costs for social enterprises selected by MaGIC and promote their products and services. Since early August 2020, Malaysians have been able to purchase products made by social enterprises on Lazada via its #buyforimpact page. Throughout September, the campaign will run weekly features of social enterprises championing various causes. Additionally, the campaign will run Demo Days for aspiring social enterprises to showcase their budding businesses to funding agencies and potential investors.

Japan and India team up to help emerging nations go digital. Japan and India will work with technology companies to build platforms that help emerging nations put government services online. The initiative will take inspiration from New Delhi’s online system, which allowed for quick distribution of Covid-19 assistance. Japan’s trade ministry will enlist domestic businesses for the project, and Indian engineers will grant licenses that permit Japanese companies to land contracts for digital platforms from other countries. Japan’s government, which lags in digitizing its systems, also plans to use the knowledge gained from the partnership to advance its own digitization efforts.

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

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.

Harnessing the philanthropy and finance sectors for social good

Qing Gu (Alliance Magazine)

This op-ed highlights that most Chinese foundations are not grantmaking organizations, but operating foundations or hybrids. Their limited assets prevent them from supporting NGOs and filling the funding vacuum created by foreign donors leaving the country. Lack of funding is driving NGOs to rely on government procurement, or morph into social enterprises to tap into impact investment capital. Building up foundation investments can help leverage private capital for social good. Read it here.

Who’s Doing Good

03 August 2020 - 17 August 2020

THE GIVERS

Charitable funds boost donation in a tough year for giving. Straits Times highlights how more wealthy people in Singapore are setting up charitable funds that give at least six-figure sums to charities. According to this article, there were 143 donor-advised funds set up with the Community Foundation of Singapore during the financial year ending in March 2020. Despite many donors tightening their belts during Covid-19, these charitable funds disbursed SG$20.2 million (approximately US$15 million) during that year.

THE NONPROFITS

Hong Kong organizations hoping charity begins at home as economic crunch sees donations dry up. The impact of last year’s civil unrest and Covid-19 has left many Hong Kong charities on the brink of collapse. South China Morning Post spotlights Hong Kong foundations that are stepping in to meet the demand for funding. One example includes Jennifer Chen, CEO of Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation, who is leading a campaign called “Bridge the Gap”. The initiative calls on residents to donate all or part of their HK$10,000 (approximately US$1,300) government relief payout to NGOs in need. The Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation, Fu Tak Iam Foundation, and The Hong Kong Club Foundation will match these public donations up to specified amounts for at least 25 local organizations in need.

A call to digitize Bangladesh’s NGO Affairs Bureau. In this op-ed, associates of The Legal Circle in Bangladesh argue that the government should take immediate measures to digitize the registration process for NGOs. CAPS’ Doing Good Index 2020 found that Bangladesh has one of the longest and most complex registration procedures in Asia. According to this article, there is a severe backlog of registrations, in part due to the influx of NGOs responding to the Rohingya refugee crisis. This backlog is expected to get worse with the Covid-19 pandemic. Digitizing the registration process, they argue, is not only aligned with the government’s vision of a ‘Digital Bangladesh’, but it will also allow NGOs to set up more efficiently and help the country re-build after the crisis.

THE BUSINESSES

Capital markets lawyers sharpen impact investing skills. Financial Times highlights how pro bono work in Asia is evolving to embrace new areas of legal expertise, even as Covid-19 restrictions limit traditional pro bono work. This article argues that a longer-term shift towards impact investing—as well as an urgent need for funding in the NGO sector—provides lawyers with an opportunity to contribute their legal expertise in capital markets. The article cites the example of lawyers working pro bono on Impact Investment Exchange’s Women’s Livelihood Bond deal. Since deals in the impact investing space tend to raise smaller sums, legal services priced at market rates would mean very high fees relative to the deal size. Pro bono legal services offer an opportunity to help get this new market off the ground.

Huawei begins ‘Seeds for the Future 2020’ in Bangladesh. Huawei’s flagship CSR program ‘Seeds for the Future’ aims to develop global ICT (information and communication technology) talent by bridging the gap between academic and industry knowledge. The program is part of the company’s long-term CSR activity dedicated to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and ICT students worldwide. Seeds for the Future has benefitted over 30,000 students around the world, and has recently expanded to Bangladesh. The program aims to help the country achieve its ‘Vision of Digital Bangladesh 2021’ plan by equipping youth with ICT skills that will help them innovate local solutions for local needs.

Mi India pledges 2,500 smartphones worth Rs 2 crores (approximately US$300,000) towards digital inclusion. In addition to recent initiatives to help over 200,000 families affected by Covid-19 and 10,000 families impacted by Cyclone Amphan, Mi India announced a new donation of 2,500 smartphones to students in need. Mi India has partnered with Teach For India, which has shifted to blended learning during India’s lockdown, to distribute phones to children from under-resourced communities and help them access online classes.

THE INNOVATORS

Four lessons for launching a social enterprise. In Stanford Social Innovation Review, the founder and team members of Mauqa Online share their lessons from launching and expanding their social enterprise in Pakistan. By sharing what they wish they had done differently at certain points of growth, they hope to help the next wave of social entrepreneurs. Ultimately, they encourage social entrepreneurs to use the enterprise’s social mission to help guide decision making along the way.

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

22 June 2020 - 05 July 2020

THE GIVERS

Uniqlo chief pledges US$93 million for coronavirus research. <>Tadashi Yanai, chairman and president of Fast Retailing—the Japanese company behind Uniqlo—pledged ¥10 billion (US$93 million) to Kyoto University for research into treatments for the new coronavirus and other communicable diseases. The donation will be split, with ¥5 billion each going to Shinya Yamanaka and Tasuku Honjo, two Nobel Prize winners in medicine.

THE THINKERS

Doing Good Index 2020 shows how Asia can maximize doing good in a post-Covid world. <>CAPS’ Chief Executive Ruth Shapiro shares insights from our recently launched Doing Good Index 2020 for Alliance Magazine. Shapiro highlights developments across the region since the 2018 edition of the Index, and she underscores that with the right policies coupled with private and social sector initiatives, we in Asia will be able to bring about the maximum good for our communities as we rebuild from the Covid-19 crisis.

THE NONPROFITS

Singapore charity sets up SG$5 million fund to help vulnerable seniors. <>The Asian Medical Foundation (AMF), a charity affiliated with Raffles Medical Group, set up the SG$5 million (approximately US$3.6 million) AMF Silver Care Fund. The fund will support two causes: the AMF Elder Voucher scheme to help 30,000 seniors purchase food and household items, and the AMF Elder Health scheme to support pilot projects aimed at improving seniors’ access to healthcare and enhancing their well-being. 

THE BUSINESSES

As Covid-19 saps Vietnam’s economy, private charity is blossoming.<> The Economist covers how a prototype of an ATM that dispenses rice, built by a local entrepreneur to support Hanoi’s poorest during the Covid-19 crisis, has been scaled nationwide by the private sector. Each ATM distributes enough rice to feed a small family for three days, and some machines have been serving up to 2,000 people a day. Corporates, such as Cen Group, have stepped in to produce these rice ATMs, supplying tens of locations in cities across Vietnam. Danielle Labbe of the University of Montreal points out that while large-scale philanthropy is rare in Vietnam, it is a country where “good ideas replicate quickly.” This rise of private charity during Covid-19 has also been embraced by the government, exemplified by generous press coverage in state-controlled media. 

Gilead commits US$500,000 worth of support across Asia.<> As part of its first Asia-wide corporate social responsibility program, “Creating Possible For Our Communities,” US-based Gilead Sciences will support hard-hit communities in Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, and Taiwan. The donation will be used to provide basic necessities to lower-income families, education resources to underprivileged children, public health education related to Covid-19, and cash donations to community-based organizations to allow them to continue to provide vital care services to HIV and hepatitis patients.

THE INNOVATORS

Thailand’s tourism social enterprises help locals hit by coronavirus.<> When Local Alike, a travel consultancy that promotes sustainable tourism in 200 villages, saw its revenue drop to zero during Covid-19, the social enterprise pivoted to selling products from villages through social media. This article by the Thomson Reuters Foundation highlights how similar social enterprises in Thailand have adapted through the crisis, while concomitantly finding solutions for community needs. 

Helping youth enterprises take off will bring sustainable returns, say UN economists.<> The 2020 World Youth Report was recently published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. This edition of the biennial report focuses on how youth social entrepreneurship can both support youth development and help accelerate progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The report highlights key characteristics of an effective entrepreneurship ecosystem, including the importance of tailored support. A recent CAPS report, Business for Good: maximizing the value of social enterprises in Asia, also explores the key ecosystem aspects that can enable social enterprises in Asia to reach their potential.

Climate fund targets USD$2.5 billion in clean energy investment for Southeast Asia.<> The new South East Asia Clean Energy Facility (SEACEF) fund backed by philanthropic donors is aiming to aid the region’s green recovery after coronavirus. Managed by Singapore-based Clime Capital, the fund has an initial investment of US$10 million and a focus on getting new projects underway in Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. SEACEF describes itself as a first-of-its-kind philanthropic initiative to tackle climate change, focused on the high-risk funding needed to get new clean energy projects up and running. 

ESG investing gaining traction in Korea.<> Financial firms are rushing to issue sustainable bonds amid the Covid-19 pandemic, as ESG-themed bonds witness burgeoning growth and popularity in Korea. This Korea Times article highlights examples of banks who have recently embraced ESG factors and have issued ESG-principled social bonds.

<>IN OTHER NEWS…

Is PM-CARES diverting money away from nonprofits?<> While the PM National Relief Fund in India has historically received INR 200 crore (approximately US$27 million) annually from CSR contributions, the PM-CARES Fund, which was established to fund Covid-19 relief efforts, has received 25 times this amount in a shorter amount of time. India Development Review (IDR) offers a breakdown of CSR spending during Covid-19 and explores how PM-CARES has diverted a large amount of capital away from nonprofits.

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

Business for Good goes digital!

Maximizing the Value of Social Enterprises in Asia

Through the Business for Good microsite, you can interact with our latest study, Business for Good: maximizing the value of social enterprises in Asia. Featuring a data dashboard, our microsite lets you filter and explore data from our survey of 584 social enterprises and interviews of 140 stakeholders across 6 Asian economies: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, and Thailand. Click here to access the microsite.

Muhammad Yunus & Ruth Shapiro: Doing Good in an Uncertain World

As a significant portion of global wealth shifts into the hands of a few, Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus discusses the transformative power of social businesses in helping people escape poverty and fix, what he believes is a ‘broken economic system’. This discussion was hosted at the Commonwealth Club of California and moderated by CAPS’ Founder and Chief Executive, Ruth Shapiro.

The Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Vietnam

Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD)

This report provides an overview of the impact of Covid-19 on the social sector in Vietnam. It is based on a survey of 101 civil society organizations (CSO) conducted between 31 March and 10 April 2020. Almost all (96%) of CSOs report their operations are impacted as a result of the outbreak. Mobilizing funds and coordinating with others in the social sector has become more difficult. Some CSOs are adapting to be able to continue supporting their beneficiaries. Recommendations for how stakeholders can support CSOs during and after this outbreak are also discussed. Read it here: English, Vietnamese.

The state of social enterprise in Bangladesh, Ghana, India and Pakistan

British Council

This study spotlights the social enterprise sectors in Bangladesh, Ghana, India and Pakistan and quantifies their composition, social enterprises’ areas of operation, and prospects for growth. Insights are drawn from surveying 648 social enterprises across these four countries.

Read it here:

Venture Philanthropy Practices in Asia: A Guide to Effective Capacity Building

Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN)

This report discusses best practices in social investing and venture philanthropy, and stresses the importance of both financial and non-financial support in making social purpose organizations investment- and impact-ready. It highlights 10 case studies of intermediaries from Asia and the strategies they employ in creating and delivering capacity building programs for budding social purpose organizations. Read it here.