Complex issues need collective action

Dear Friends, Greetings to all from APC! I don’t know about you, but this pandemic has also been a period of memory loss for me. I have become more forgetful about things. People have written about how this could have come from a lack of cues from the external environment, when each day we are often confined to one room at home and staring at our computer screen. Even when we return to the office, we often have meetings on Zoom, so that colleagues at home are included. And whereas I used to travel every other week and have events…

Improving healthcare capabilities in Indonesia

Prof Yik-Ying Teo, Dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, shares his recommendations on how philanthropists can help improve public health systems capabilities in Indonesia and beyond. BY XIANG MIN LIM Every year, APC gathers members from Indonesia to catch up on each other’s work, and to explore potential avenues to collaborate on common issues of concern affecting the country. One year ago, members met to discuss reprioritising philanthropy areas due to COVID-19—this year, everyone convened to share the results of their work in 2021, and their upcoming plans. APC also kicked things off and invited Prof Yik-Ying…

Supporting the Third Sector in Malaysia

What concrete actions can philanthropists, funders, and organisations take to support Malaysia’s nascent sector of non-profit and voluntary organisations? BY XIANG MIN LIM Malaysia’s Third Sector, which comprises non-profit organisations, voluntary organisations and social enterprises, is a nascent sector with 20% of over 80,000 registered organisations being less than ten years old. The sector faces unique challenges—from fragmentation to a lack of sector capacity and structural support overall. APC organised a roundtable on 27 January 2022—the final in a series exploring the theme of capacity building—to further examine concrete ways for philanthropists, organisations, and funders to help strengthen the Third…

Philanthropy can adapt to a new Climate Normal

Climate change will affect everyone—regardless of field, country or economic status—and requires collective action. Explore how to incorporate climate considerations into existing programmes.  BY LEE YANG The Earth is unequivocally warming. Unfortunately, the flurry of pledges and commitments made during the COP26 Climate Summit are insufficient to attain the 1.5-degree targets set out by the Paris Agreement. As one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change, Asia will be disproportionately affected by its devastating effects. At the annual APC gathering in November 2021, renowned climate expert Prof Saleemul Huq stressed that climate change will affect everyone’s lives—regardless of country or economic status….

Generating Vietnam’s changemakers through higher education partnerships

What are alternative ways philanthropists can partner higher education institutions towards creating sustainable, systemic change? BY NANCY CHANG In APC’s first hybrid event of the year, members and guests from Vietnam sought to highlight the goal of creating systemic change through strategic philanthropy through higher education. Education is the most common target for philanthropic giving in Asia, accounting for 62% of all charitable donations from Asian philanthropists in 2021. However, in the region, where a core education focus for many philanthropists might be on access to safe schools, improving curriculum or teacher training, strategic partnership with higher education institutions is…

Improving lives through sustainable global trade education

BY LARRY SHAW AND ALEX BOOME Mutually sustainable global trade improves life standards.  According to the Asian Development Bank, over the past 25 years, more than 950 million people in the region have been lifted out of extreme poverty, infant mortality rates have fallen, and marked improvements have been seen in terms of basic literacy, vocational training and university education. It is clear that the prosperity provided by cross-border trade has made a significant contribution to these outcomes.  “Global trade improves lives and strengthens relationships among nations,” said Merle A. Hinrich, APC member and Founder of the Hinrich Foundation, an…

Inspiring lives through stories of everyday heroes

BY CINDY HSIAO Who comes to mind when you think of the word hero? Was it superhero figures from movies? Or was it the healthcare workers serving on the frontlines of COVID-19? Or perhaps it’s someone closer to home – a family member or a friend who inspires you with their courage and the selfless way they serve others? More often than not, heroes are closer to us than we think. APC member, Lionel Li’s Li Foundation is therefore on a mission to share extraordinary stories of everyday heroes through their Inspiring Lives Impacting Asia short film series, in hopes…

Empowering refugees and displaced people to thrive: challenges, opportunities and priorities

BY CINDY HSIAO As the world approaches the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, the number of forcibly displaced people remains concerningly high. At the end of 2019, 79.5 million people were recorded to be forcibly displaced, almost double the 41.1 million recorded in 2010. It is therefore more urgent than ever that the world works together to enable refugees and displaced people to recover and flourish. In view of this, APC organised our first-ever dialogue focused on refugees and people of concern for APC members and guests engaged in philanthropic work with refugees. We invited Aurvasi Patel, United…

Building stronger institutions to develop Malaysia’s Third Sector

BY THERESA CUA Civil society in Malaysia is relatively young. Almost 80% of its 80,000 pool of non-profit and voluntary organisations are less than 20 years old. This ‘Third Sector”—comprising of organisations that fill needs not addressed by either State or Market—face a multitude of challenges: from lacking structural support from the state, to being highly fragmented, and having inadequate human capital equipped with necessary skills to effectively deliver impact. In such a sector where collaboration and partnerships are essential in working together to solve social challenges, what can philanthropists, foundations, and funders do to strengthen Malaysia’s Third Sector? In…

Uncovering China’s Philanthropic Potential

BY ALEXIS WONG Philanthropy in China is growing at a rapid and inspiring pace. In the past decade alone, the volume of Chinese philanthropy has quadrupled from US$ 44 million in 2007 to a new high of US$ 23.4 billion in 2017, allowing China to emerge as an important contributor to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. In light of China’s emergence as a rich ground for potential philanthropic activity, and with APC members having highly active impact projects in the country, APC organised the China Philanthropy Online Forum to spark greater interest in international collaboration, and to examine what meaningful…