Advancing Human Security and Community Resilience

Dialogue with Pathfinders

15 November 2021

Understanding the Philanthropic Sector

There are different models being operationalised in the philanthropic sector and this includes giving money directly to charities or contributing to fundraising events; investing in infrastructure for legacy purposes and building programmes that require resources, capabilities, and support from partner organisations. Looking beyond COVID-19, many programmes by philanthropic foundations would need stable sources of funding and investments in the medium to long term. Yet many are struggling with yearly fundraising efforts and often, do not have concrete three to five-year plans. It is also critical for foundations to have the right mix of talent – to face the challenges expected and manage various stakeholders and the multi-layered aspects of a foundation’s work.

Role of Philanthropists and Philanthropic funds

In a disaster relief, philanthropists should undertake a “no questions asked” policy and provide support in terms of logistics and resources and offer help where it is most needed by the governments. And even though philanthropic funding may not be able to match state funding, foundations can create sandbox environments to allow new innovative methods and interventions to occur and providing the right kind of information and data to activate and catalyse for larger funding to support specific programmes.

Collaboration is Key for Future Challenges

Asian philanthropists can learn and collaborate with Western philanthropists but it is key that they create their own way, own style and own methodology. As they operate in different regions, Asian philanthropists must have understanding for local sensitivities to ensure that their philanthropic money goes the longest way and towards the right direction. Separately, the importance of private sector collaboration is highlighted with the representation of Chinese entrepreneurs and businesses at the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference cited. Wang Shi shared, in 2009, 100 Chinese entrepreneurs were represented and the number increased to 1 million in 2019. But given the presence of 50 million companies and businesses in China, there is certainly more room for more businesses to be represented and involved. After all, while governments can make the commitments, it is up to private sectors and the communities to support and implement the goals.