A more strategic, collaborative approach to philanthropy in Singpore

Singpore’s foundation and philanthropy sector, at a glance

Number of foundations: Over 400; source: Tan, Lam (2018): Philanthropic Foundations in Asia
Major networks: Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), established 2011 and Asia Philanthropy Circle, established 2015
State of the sector: The second generation are leading in strategic, collaborative philanthropy with more financial and non-financial support provided to social innovations. Meanwhile, ESG uptake is increasing and provides ways to align assets to philanthropic values
Biggest opportunity in the sector: The increasing ESG uptake, especially among public listed companies and the private equity industry, might inspire foundations to follow suit
Biggest challenge for the sector: Human resource constraints are hindering foundations from supporting for-profit social innovations and aligning their assets to ESG principles
Naina Subberwal Batra
Naina Subberwal Batra

20 September 2018

Interview with Naina Subberwal Batra Chairperson and CEO, Asian Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPN)


Naina, what are the three broad issues that will drive Singapore’s foundation and philanthropy sector in the next 10 years?
Education, health care (especially elderly care), disadvantaged populations (people with disabilities, at-risk youths etc.).

Which topics do you expect philanthropy to focus on?
Aligning investments to philanthropic values and environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles, supporting for-profit social innovations, and cross-sector collaboration.

What is traditional philanthropy and how do you expect this to develop in the future? 
Traditional philanthropists fund education institutions, healthcare research, arts and culture. The second generations are taking a more strategic, collaborative approach to philanthropy – they are more engaged with the social purpose organisations they fund or establish, and concerned about their financial sustainability.

What role will philanthropy take? 
Advocacy and being the backbone of cross-sector collaboration.

Will Singpore’s philanthropy be more nationally focused or also regional and global? 
Both. Some work on both local and regional issues such as Lien Foundation, DBS Foundation; others like the Asia Philanthropy Circle and Leap Philanthropy focus on issues in neighbouring Southeast Asian countries.

Are there some developments we are not yet aware of at an international level, but that you see coming along in the future? 
Beyond making grants, large corporations and multinational companies in Singapore are leading in ESG integration and investing in business solutions to social and environmental challenges.

If people want to get informed about news and trends in the sector in the Singapore, where can they find this information?
Asian Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPN) and National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC).


Compiled by the EZ-Scout seconded to the Association of German Foundations

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