Mercy Kuo, CHINADebate’s Chief Strategy Officer, and Angie Tang, Senior Advisor of Asia Value Advisors, a leading venture philanthropy advisory firm based
in Hong Kong, have published in The Diplomat ‘Asian Philanthropy: Strategic Social Stewardship.’ Portending a trend, Mercy and Angie, assert in the tagline ‘Philanthropy from the region is growing, despite some significant challenges.’
What I found especially interesting is this…
For many Asian HNWI families, wealth brings a sense of social responsibility. The characteristics of Asian philanthropy reflect cultural values. The family unit plays an important role in driving philanthropy in Asia, seeking out and reaping many benefits from philanthropy: “1) it teaches principles like compassion, courage and tolerance, 2) it fosters capacities for leadership, innovation and responsibility, and 3) it supports family cohesion by providing a common activity and goal for the family to pursue as a unit,” a 2011 UBS INSEAD philanthropy in Asia report explains.
The outlook for Asian philanthropy is promising, but there are myriad challenges. “The litmus test of effective philanthropy is not determined by how much is given, but whether the stewardship of that gift was properly administered and its intended outcomes were achieved,” observes Victor Kuo, former board member of the American Evaluation Association and founder of VK Global Advising. In China, pervasive state control and lack of regulatory accountability are formidable challenges in the country’s non-profit space. Despite such obstacles, Asian philanthropists and philanthropic entities affirm that universal values transcend national and cultural borders to benefit all of humanity.
By defining the tension between characteristics and the challenges, Mercy and Angie provide a rough template for tracking Asia philanthropy’s growth or perhaps stifling.