Philanthropy in the New Millennium

7 February, 2008

The first-ever workshop in Asia Pacific on Philanthropy in the New Millennium was held from Dec 7-8, 2005 in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. It was organised by the Asia Pacific Centre for Philanthropy and Social Investment based at Swinburne University (Australia) and Philanthropy Malaysia, a pro-tem network dedicated to the promotion of effective grant-making, in association with the Asia Pacific Philanthropy Consortium, the Sampradaan Centre (India) and Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS). It was supported by the Bertelsmann Foundation (Germany), the Myer Foundation (Australia), Alam Flora Sdn Bhd (Malaysia) and Airtime Management and Programming (Astro Radio, Malaysia).

A total of 30 participants and resource persons representing corporations, foundations, media and grant-recipients from Australia, Cambodia, Germany, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Timur Leste attended the workshop.

Download Proceedings Here: philanthropy-new-millennium.doc

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Moving the Philanthropic Agenda

16 January, 2008

Philanthropy is a strategic social intervention to meet quality of life needs, promote global security and peace, human dignity and values and conserve the environment for future generations.Philanthropy is a major social activity with significant social consequences on society. Philanthropy is about investing in assets and capacity, about building the social and economic capital of a nation, of the poor and disadvantaged by providing opportunities for good education, healthcare and opportunities for income generation. More progressive forms of philanthropy support investments in the protection of the environment and rights of people and communities. The potential for the development and growth of philanthropy in Malaysia is enormous because it builds on the strongest foundations of Malaysian society – religion and culture. But philanthropy faces social, political and cultural challenges today. There is a growing belief that governments alone are unable to meet and sustain the social and development needs of their people. Modernization and globalization are eroding communal models of giving. In September 2005, the United Nations said “we need companies, foundations, individual philanthropists and social investors to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”.

Much of the contributions to disasters such as the Asian tsunami and Katrina in US is Charity. Charity is a gift made without any expectations beyond the immediate alteration of a need (giving to a beggar). Philanthropy takes a more staretgic approach as it addresses social challenges such as poverty and inequality, education, health, environmental degradation.It is for these reasons and others that more than 10 countries in Asia have since the 1990s established national organizations / centres of philanthropy.

Therefore the need to advance and strengthen philanthropy for social investment and social justice is urgently needed for the following reasons:

  • Decline in volunteerism and giving (as observed by organizations
  • Reduced role of the state as a provider of social services
  • Diminishing resources for civil society
  • Growing disparities in society
  • Severe environmental degradation
  • Poor mobilizisation of indigenous philanthropy

Worldwide philanthropic models are undergoing sea change. Company portfolio’s now include social investments and social audits. Consumers are purchasing products from companies that practice ethics and corporate citizenship. Contemporary philanthropy is increasingly organisational in nature. Global challenges as well as factors like education, economic success are transforming the field of philanthropy. Donors too are concerned about making the world a safer place. Philanthropy is sharing of private wealth through vertical (Corporate) and horizontal (community giving). Strategic Philanthropy is to integrate vertical and horizontal forms of philanthropic giving.