Responding to Covid-19: Who’s Doing Good?

25 May 2020 - 8 June 2020

THE GIVERS

The Majurity Trust, a philanthropic organization in Singapore, started the Singapore Strong Fund (SSF) to aid ordinary Singaporeans addressing challenges related to Covid-19. Backed by 10 main donors, it has already helped more than 52,800 people as well as rallied together over 3,700 volunteers. The SG$550,000 (approximately US$400,000) fund, finances up to 80% of a project’s cost or gives SG$5,000 (approximately US$3,600), whichever is lower.

THE NONPROFITS

Give2Asia is featuring local nonprofits across Asia, and how they’re addressing local needs during Covid-19. This includes examples from India, the Philippines, Korea, Cambodia, and Indonesia, among others.

THE BUSINESSES

In Bangladesh, Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Novartis, through its Bangladesh arm, has donated 28,000 PPEs to Swiss Red Cross and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, worth BDT2.27 crore (nearly US$300,000).

In China, SC Johnson is donating ¥1 million (approximately US$140,000) to the Red Cross. It is also launching its 2020 SC Johnson’s Youth for a Green Life partnership with Shanghai Soong Ching Ling Foundation to help children deal with the pandemic. These efforts are part of a series of financial and in-kind donations—valued at over US$1 million—aimed at helping the Asia-Pacific region battle Covid-19.

In Hong Kong, Citi Foundation has donated US$150,000 to Feeding Hong Kong, which employs B2B logistics to channel surplus food stock to charities feeding those in need. The donation will benefit 5,600 households helping provide up to 14 days’ worth of food supply. The gift is accompanied by a donation of 110,000 face masks, which Feeding Hong Kong will distribute to vulnerable families. 

In India, LEGO Group, in collaboration with NITI Aayog and Save the Children, has introduced targeted initiatives in India to promote ‘Learning Through Play’ and support home-based learning during and after Covid-19. This is part of the LEGO Group and LEGO Foundation’s overall commitment of US$50 million globally to help children and their families during Covid-19. Yamaha Motor India donated Rs61.5 lakh (approximately US$90,000) to aid the fight against Covid-19. Rs11.5 lakh of this was earmarked for the PM Cares Fund.

In the Philippines, global shoemaker Bata will donate 2,000 pairs of shoes through SM Foundation to those battling the pandemic including healthcare workers, volunteers, and their families. The effort is part of a global commitment to donate one million pairs of shoes. In an interview with CNBC, Ayala Group Chairman and CEO, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, underscores the role of companies in helping fight Covid-19, noting, “The Covid crisis has created a new sense of public-private partnerships and unity.”

In Singapore, Citi announced three key initiatives in supporting Covid-19 relief efforts: providing food for marginalized communities, supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and supporting migrant workers. In addition to a global employee donation-matching initiative, Citi has also raised US$1 million in the Asia Pacific in an effort to further support the United Nations Development Programme’s initiatives for vulnerable and marginalized communities.

In Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Education and Microsoft have partnered to advance remote learning during and after Covid-19. Microsoft will support the Ministry by providing students, teachers, ministry officials, and others stakeholders free access to Microsoft Office 365 tools.

In Taiwan, Taiwan Mobile, part of the Fubon Group, is offering tailor-made industry tech solutions to help enterprise customers (such as major hospitals) in the fight against Covid-19. Its enterprise communication system, M+ Messenger, is helping to ensure business continuity and data security, as well as provide support for hospitals to enhance efficient communication amidst the crisis. Taiwan Mobile also provided 15-day free internet access to over 20,000 students who need to learn from home during the pandemic, along with its other ongoing CSR initiatives aimed at bridging the digital divide. The Group also joined other companies in donating masks and hand sanitizer to help combat Covid-19.

In Thailand, the PepsiCo Foundation has partnered with Raks Thai Foundation to initiate three programs valued at THB18 million (approximately US$573,000) to help communities facing hardships due to the pandemic. The programs include “Give Meals Give Hope,” “Give Care to Farmers,” and “Give Care to Healthcare.” Across the programs, PepsiCo Foundation will donate 1 million meals, offer Covid-19 insurance and epidemic prevention gear to more than 3,900 farmers and their families, and donate critical medical equipment to hospitals.

THE INNOVATORS

UNESCAP and Good Return team up to provide a financial injection for women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the time of Covid-19. United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and Good Return will support women-led SMEs in accessing the capital needed to support their businesses. The partnership will create a multi-country credit guarantee scheme across Cambodia, Nepal, Fiji, and Samoa. This comes at a time in which Covid-19 has exacerbated common challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, such as lack of assets to use as collateral and lower levels of digital literacy.

World Oceans Day prompts a push towards a ‘Blue Economy’ and new financing initiatives. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Cambodia’s “Ocean Economy” is valued at US$2.4 billion (representing around 10% of its GDP) and directly and indirectly employs around 3.2 million workers. In order to protect this, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has outlined four key financial initiatives to assist the country’s transition towards a more sustainable Ocean Economy. These include blue bonds, results-based lending, ocean risk insurance, and payments for ecosystem services. ADB has already committed US$5 billion to expanding its investments and technical assistance in ocean health and the blue economy over a five year period.

THE VOLUNTEERS

Volunteer army in Indonesia helps fight coronavirus with data, web. The Kawal Covid-19 (Guard against Covid-19) group constructs data models to guide the provincial governor in enacting stronger measures to mitigate the outbreak and to counter misinformation. Kawal’s 800 volunteers have emerged as an increasingly important source of information and guidance, particularly amidst patchy data and conflicting advice from Indonesia’s central government. Kawal emerged from volunteer groups that were set up to monitor 2014 and 2019 elections.

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

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.

Social Innovation and Social Transition in East Asia

Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) & Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation

This collection of articles examines the varying ways in which social innovation has evolved in China, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan. The authors delve into the impact that each country’s history, culture, and political and economic systems have had on social innovation. Read it here.

Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2018: Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle

World Bank Group

This series provides the most up-to-date estimates and trends on global poverty and shared prosperity. The 2018 edition broadens the way poverty is defined and measured, introducing a multi-faceted measurement approach connected to household consumption and the international poverty line (US$1.90 per person per day). Lack of access to infrastructure and education is also included as a facet of poverty. Relative poverty within households, sliced by gender and age, is also analyzed. The report shows that countries in East and South Asia have made impressive progress in poverty reduction. The poverty rate in countries in East Asia and the Pacific dropped from 62% in 1990 to less than 3% in 2015. And the number of poor people in South Asia dropped from half a billion in 1990 to 216 million in 2015. Read it here.

India’s Private Giving: Unpacking Domestic Philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility

OECD Development Centre & OECD Centre on Philanthropy

This report maps India’s domestic giving sector, comparing the volume and scope to other development funding sources. Economic growth, landmark corporate social responsibility (CSR) regulations and growing international interest has transformed the country’s philanthropic sector. This report is based on a survey of 178 of India’s largest CSR and philanthropic organizations. Strategies for increasing the impact of private giving are discussed. Read it here.

The Thailand Report: National Landscape, Current Challenges and Opportunities for Growth

Institute for Societal Leadership, Singapore Management University

This report spotlights the challenges faced by Thailand’s social impact organizations with regards to funding, human resources, tax incentives, legal frameworks, and registration processes. It presents findings from interviews conducted with 11 nonprofit organizations, incubators and social enterprises.

This report is part of an eleven-country series conducted across Southeast Asia. Read it here.

Civil Society Briefs

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

This series of briefs provides insights into the growth of civil society and nonprofit organizations in countries across Asia. Civil society comprises of a diverse range of individuals, community groups and organizations operating around shared purpose and values. The briefs spotlight the legal framework within which they operate and their broader relationship with government and society.

Read it here:

How BRAC, the world’s biggest charity, made Bangladesh richer

The Economist

This article delves into the role BRAC played in Bangladesh’s development. Although presently relying heavily on international funding, Bangladesh’s steady GDP growth may soon make BRAC ineligible for international development aid. This article provides recommendations for how BRAC can prepare and adapt to a changing funding landscape. Read it here.

Business for Good in East Asia

Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) & Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation

This collection of articles examines the cross-sector collaborations driving social development and innovation in East Asia. Collaborative models deployed in China, Japan, Korea and Singapore are also discussed. Read it here.

Scaling Social Innovation in South Asia

Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), BRAC & The Rockefeller Foundation

This collection of articles examines the lessons that BRAC and other leading social organizations have learned about successfully scaling social innovation in South Asia. The financial, political and organizational barriers that inhibit scaling are also discussed. Read it here.