A New Year for Asian Philanthropy to Make an Impact

Happy Lunar New Year!  The start of any new year is an auspicious time to reflect on the past and make plans for the future. It is my pleasure, as a Guest Contributing Editor to the Asian Philanthropy Forum, to kick-off this year with a blog series, “Exploring the impact of Asian philanthropy.”

The Rise of Philanthropy in Asia.  This blog series explores emerging developments in efforts to measure the impact of Asian philanthropy, especially in China. In 2007, The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s cover story was “Philanthropy’s New Frontier” and featured the ultra-wealthy Li Ka Shing from Hong Kong. The feature story’s backdrop was the economic rise of Asia and consequently the boom of wealthy individuals and their forays into philanthropy. Philanthropists in Asia, as well as those based in the West, are investing in social programs and organizations to tackle societal problems and create new systems for sustainability and resilience. But what have these efforts produced?  And what are the legal, economic, and social trends motivating or hindering efforts to evaluate the impact of Asian philanthropy?

Featured Perspectives. I am especially honored to introduce invited bloggers who have daringly agreed to tackle these questions from their vantage points. Ms. Lijun He, from Indiana University’s School of Philanthropy, focuses on recent calls for greater transparency in China’s philanthropic sector. Professor Karla Simon reviews current publications and recommendations for constructively engaging governments, businesses, and families in philanthropy. Reporting from Hong Kong, Mr. Edwin Lee of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service’s WiseGiving unit profiles “middle class donors” and how they pursue impact. A former Packard Foundation colleague of mine, Ms. Sono Aibe, reflects on sustaining impact based on her years of experience as a grant-maker as well as a grant-seeker. Ms. Wenjie Tang describes an actual evaluation project sponsored by the Committee of 100, a high-profile network of prominent Chinese-American luminaries. Finally, Ms. Dien Yuen predicts several upcoming themes that will affect the course of philanthropy in China.

Be A Part of the Dialogue.  As each blog post by our invited experts is published, we invite you to comment, raise questions, or provide a provocative perspective of your own. Asian Philanthropy Forum is dedicated to sharing best practices and leveraging knowledge to advance philanthropy in Asia. Over the next few weeks, you’ll be able to read and comment on these and other leading thinkers’ perspectives on the impact of Asian philanthropy.

Posts in this series:

Opening the Window to Philanthropy to China Starts with Transparency, Lijun He

New Trends in Philanthropy in China, Karla Simon

Rise of the Middle Class Donor in Hong Kong, Edwin Lee

Lessons Learned in Philanthropic Impact Investment, Sono Aibe

Evaluation of the Committee of 100 Teaching Scholar Program 2012, Wenjie Tang

The Next Wave of Philanthropy in China, Dien Yuen

About the Author

Kuo-0612bVictor Kuo, Ph.D., is a researcher, evaluator, and educator who has spent a decade helping philanthropic foundations measure their social impact. He has managed and advised on evaluation projects addressing school reform in the US and energy policy change in China and India. Previously, he served as an Evaluation Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and held a similar role helping to design and implement the evaluation function at the David & Lucile Packard Foundation. Currently, he is a Senior Consultant at FSG Social Impact Advisors, an international nonprofit consulting firm.