Are the Arts Truly ‘Non-essential’?

by THERESA CUA At the height of Singapore’s COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, The Sunday Times published a survey that shook the arts sector in the country. In a list of jobs deemed essential to keep Singapore going in times of crisis, respondents ranked artists #1…in the list of least essential jobs. Yet—are they really? In this age of Netflix marathons, listening to music on Spotify, and browsing media content adorned with slick graphics on a mobile device meticulously crafted by product designers, can we really say that the very creative industries that have fuelled our survival-by-entertainment during the pandemic are…

Just Announced: The APC Climate Collective

BY NATALIE KENNEDY Climate change and the environment are complex, and while some APC members are already quite active in this space, many others have let us know that they would like to do more but struggle with where to start. This “decision paralysis” is not unique to APC members—despite it being widely understood as the greatest challenge to our species, climate change initiatives only account for 2% of global philanthropy. APC understands that funders need to be equipped with knowledge to help understand entry points where they can have the greatest impact with their resources, influence and networks. They…

Pre-venn2020: A Provocative and Reflective Visit to Omelas with Jacqueline Novogratz

by Bradley Wo When APC first planned for venn2020 in beautiful Pangkor Laut, we could not imagine how the year would unfold. The focus was to be on introspection, a time for APC members to look inwards and reflect on their own philanthropic goals amidst the tranquil island setting. Instead, we soon realised that an in-person gathering would be impossible with the reality of COVID-19. With venn2020 postponed until March 2021, APC held pre-venn2020 virtual sessions on 2 and 3 November hosted by Acumen CEO and Founder, Jacqueline Novogratz, who was invited by APC member Kathleen Chew. Jacqueline led two…

APC’s First Call for Collaboration: Myanmar Community Development Fund

by Mark Fiorello With COVID-19 continuing to influence our ability to both travel and meet in person, APC has been experimenting with new ways to connect members and share insights. In this spirit, APC hosted our first online “Call for Collaboration” on 20 October to showcase APC co-chairman Stanley Tan’s efforts on community development in Myanmar and his long-term plans for =Dreams University.  In his brief opening remarks, APC CEO Laurence Lien noted that the Myanmar Community Development Fund (MCDF) was APC’s first pooled philanthropic fund, and Myanmar is a country where APC and dedicated philanthropists have the opportunity to…

Ayala Foundation’s ‘Project #BuyAni’ provides food assistance for 10,000 families affected by COVID-19 pandemic

by the Ayala Foundation As part of its continuing efforts to support vulnerable communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ayala Foundation, the social development arm of the Ayala group of companies, kicked off in July the implementation of Project #BuyAni, a food assistance initiative for 10,000 families in different parts of the Philippines. Funded by a grant from the Macquarie Group Foundation, Project #BuyAni seeks not just to provide food for affected communities, but also to source these food items and other essential goods from local farmers and community partners. This way, local farmers and enterprises continue to have a…

APC Online Dialogue on Plastic: Environmental and social impacts in Southeast Asia and solutions – Case Study Vietnam

by Ming Zee Tee Plastic waste is a highly complex problem. It is also a disproportionately Asian problem, as Asia contributes to over 80% of marine plastic pollution. Asia’s rapid economic growth has driven an explosion of demand for plastic products, and this has not been matched by adequate waste management systems. With the COVID-19 crisis, the issue has only been compounded, with COVID-19 waste, such as masks and sanitiser bottles ending up as waste in the oceans and beaches. In light of this, APC and Raise Partners co-hosted an online dialogue on 10 September, using Vietnam as a case…

APC Online Dialogue: Leveraging Philanthropy for Jobs and Livelihoods in the New Economy

by Johnny Tan The rapidly intensifying effects of COVID-19 on livelihoods are proving to be a long term challenge which has fallen disproportionately on Asia with about 57% of projected global employment losses coming from across the region. Laurence Lien, CEO of APC, noted that while COVID-19 will continue to be the biggest challenge going forward – especially for those in vulnerable sectors and communities – it is not always immediately clear how philanthropy can fill the gaps. While much of the philanthropic response to the pandemic has focused on immediate needs such as disaster relief and the provision of…

Harnessing APC Member Support for VintageRadio.SG

by Jiaxin Xu From time to time, APC members approach the APC Secretariat with ideas or projects that they are supporting, to share with other members in the circle for collaborative learning, exposure or potential partnerships. Recently, one such session came to fruition when APC showcased VintageRadio.SG, an app-based podcast station targeted at Singapore’s senior citizens. The pilot proposal was brought to our attention by APC Member Pang Sze Khai, who had placed his support behind the pilot’s founding team of former radio DJs when they pitched the project to the Octava Foundation. APC then organised and facilitated a sharing…

APC Deputy Director Mark Fiorello: Reflections from his stint with APC

APC was joined by Mark Fiorello, a monitoring & evaluation expert with nine years of experience in Indonesia, for a short few months to improve our capacity and rethink and better deliver our programmes. During this time, Mark has helped to develop the APC Impact Framework and various ways of understanding our effectiveness, as well as helping to manage the Thousand Days Fund and ASEAN Peace Initiatives projects.  He has also recently conducted a quick review of several different instances of APC’s support to collaboration to identify some key lessons about what has worked well and not quite as well….

Member Feature: Kathleen Chew

by Bradley Wo The defining feature for this year has undoubtedly been COVID-19. At APC, we have had to adapt existing APC projects, launch fundraising initiatives to meet pressing needs, and explore new ways of convening through our online dialogues. We have also seen the inspiring responses of many of our members. For this issue’s Member Feature, APC sat down with Datin Kathleen Chew, APC Board Member and Programme Director of the YTL Foundation and learned about how the foundation worked quickly to ensure their education programmes and resources would still reach communities despite Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO) spurred…