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This study looks at an emerging trend in which wealthy families, individuals, and corporations in Asia set up foundations to institutionalise their giving. This giving is motivated by a myriad of factors beyond prestige and status, including the desire to give back to society, religion, family and personal values, the desire to drive change, personal experience, and/or affiliations.This study finds that philanthropic foundations in Asia can be characterised by their operational model, governance structure, and philanthropic focus. In emerging economies in Asia like Myanmar and China, these foundations tend to give nationally and operate their own programmes. On the other hand, foundations in developed economies like Singapore and Hong Kong tend to give both regionally and nationally via grants to civil society organisations that operate programmes, as opposed to running programmes themselves. Further, families tend to retain significant control of foundations in Singapore and Hong Kong, while programme funding serves as the preferred funding mode.This study also discusses the various challenges and opportunities faced by the nascent philanthropic sector in Asia that can address some of the developmental and structural gaps left by the public, private, and people sectors.
The study reviews the current state of impact investments in Singapore and Hong Kong, particularly those that have engaged with foundations. It further looks at the trends and challenges of the impact investment sector before presenting a list of recommendations.Impact investment assets globally represent a mere 0.2 percent of global wealth as reported by the Global Impact Investing Network. By increasing this share to just two percent, the potential of impact investments can reach over US$2 trillion (UNDP, 2016). Impact investments can play a significant role in sustainable development in the Asia Pacific region, potentially providing socioeconomic progress for the billions of people living in the region. Foundations in the region can potentially play a significant role given the billions of assets they can deploy.
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