Singapore Roundtable: Collaborative Philanthropy

Singapore Roundtable: Collaborative Philanthropy

By Stacey Choe

Edwin Ou of Skoll Foundation explaining their wish to collaborate more with Asian funders

It was a rare occasion to have such a big turnout from APC members, but with 19 members and their family, APC organised a dinner session with guests that flew in from outside Singapore to attend the annual AVPN Conference. Members got to hear from Gates Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), Skoll Foundation, Give2Asia and Rockefeller Foundation representatives on their work in Asia, especially concerning how they promote collaboration amongst philanthropists.

Members from out of town include Sally Tsai and Wayne Chang from Taiwan, and from the Philippines, Rina Lopez, and Ruel Maranan representing Fernando Zobel de Ayala.

Laurence kicked off the discussions by asking the guests what they were doing in Asia, and we heard from Edwin Ou from Skoll on the innovation and ideas that they discover from the region, especially in countries like India. Erin Hulmes from Gates Foundation and Amit Bouri of GIIN spoke on the rising wealth and capital in Asia and its potential, and Birger Stamperdahl from Give2Asia explained on their role of bringing funding from the US to different parts of Asia.

Laurence also asked Amit to address critics of impact investing, amongst them, Larry Kramer, the President of Hewlett Foundation. Amit responded that he met Larry earlier that day, and based on his understanding, Larry is not fundamentally opposed to impact investing. Instead, he suggests that philanthropists should not dilute their grant money to impact investing but should channel them towards areas where philanthropy is required, like advocacy, which could create more significant impact.

However, Amit demurred that from his discussions with philanthropic organisations, impact investing has not resulted in a reduction of grant money otherwise set aside for riskier and overlooked areas. Instead, it sometimes results in more capital being injected into the social impact sector.

At Maduro, discussions on eradicating dengue mosquitoes and more over jazz and whiskey

The discussions continued way past dinner, not only between members and the experts, but also amongst the guests themselves, who were learning more about what each other are doing. It seemed that members did not want the night to end, and we further adjourned to the bar upstairs and continued with more exchange in a casual setting.

As we always get told – APC’s strongest suit is the people that we bring together! With all the right people in the room, we are sure more collaboration is sure to follow.