BY PRIYAKA NAGPALDHINGRA
With aspirations to do more in the coming years and fuelled with heightened sensitivities during the pandemic year, the two-hour Building Back Better for the Future was a great opportunity for our members to gather and reconnect with one another. Everyone not only got to share their projects and plans with passion, but also bonded with peers who had walked similar paths in times packed with uncertainty and unforeseen challenges.
It was also the first time we were all able to convene after venn2019 in such a large number, with the spirit of connecting with camaraderie evident despite being virtual. Nearly 30 members joined us from Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia!
Areas of Strategic Thrusts
While APC updated members with the highlights from impactful projects seeded in 2020, our board members Kathleen Chew, Lam Nguyen-Phuong, Victor Hartono, and Laurence Lien also shared the areas of strategic focus for APC to amplify its work in the region moving forward.
To support membership development and expansion, APC has started engaging in-country representatives in Malaysia, Vietnam and South Asia. This, along with the introduction of organisational membership, will help broaden the base and enhance the richness of the experiences and exposures APC can offer. APC will also continue to deepen membership by connecting members with matching aspirations, develop NextGen programs, and assist foundations in structuring themselves better.
Our focus on catalysing collective action through increased collaborations will continue with the proposed launch of the APC Climate Collaborative and calls for collaboration throughout the year. We also shared APC’s continuing strategic efforts towards building the philanthropy ecosystem and thought leadership in Asia, with key projects such as Acumen Fellowship, the Future of Asian Philanthropy, and the upcoming launch of our Philanthropy toolkits and Transnational Giving Asia research. This will help contextualise global learnings to Asia given how distinctly it has evolved, and more importantly, help in gazing into the crystal ball of futuristic Asian scenarios that will guide our decision-making. APC looks forward to being the collective and inspirational voice for Asian philanthropy given its role as a facilitator and enabler in the region.
Key Projects of the Year
APC members also shared highlights from two key projects in 2020. APC Chairman Stanley Tan presented on the Myanmar Community Development Fund, which aims to develop impact enterprises in Myanmar to aid in economic growth and livelihood development, is deploying a multigenerational humanitarian approach, while opportunistically involving the military in training and leadership programmes.
Bolor Lorinet presented another critical project for the year was the Employer Certification Scheme for Migrant Workers, which aims to help address the fundamental root cause of manipulative malpractices in employment through a systems approach, and is now in a position to move forward following a feasibility study completed in 2020.
During the session, we welcomed our new members who have joined since venn 2019: Anita Fam (National Council of Social Service, Singapore), Danny Yong (Dymon Asia, Singapore), Dominic Scriven (Dragon Capital, Vietnam), Hamza Habib (House of Habib, Pakistan), and Mei Wen (Wen Giving Foundation, Australia), their interests varying from conservation to education to health to building sustainable communities in their respective geographies.
Breakout sessions also gave members a chance to reconnect, meet each other, and share their own stories from 2020 as they got into mission mode to combat COVID-19, and how they want to increase their impact moving forward. At the end of it, as Stanley crisply conveyed in his parting message: the value of our APC community is only as useful as its engagements. That said, we keenly look forward to organise venn2021 in November, where we can hopefully meet everyone in-person once again, exchange our learnings and wisdom from a period that has taught us sharp lessons and shaped our philanthropy, and endeavour to do bigger and better than ever before.