Applied Research aims to address questions that are important to the social sector. The objective is to be of direct value to practitioners in the social sector, such as philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and impact investors.
PHILANTHROPY IN ASIA SERIES
CONVERGING CULTURES: DEVELOPMENTS IN PHILANTHROPY, SINGAPORE 1867-1919
This working paper is a part of the Philanthropy in Asia series of exploratory studies by ACSEP, making a first record of the development of philanthropy in Singapore from its founding in 1819 until 2019. This particular work examines how philanthropy grew in the second 50 years after Singapore’s founding, from 1867 to 1919. It follows Working Paper 8: Singapore's Earliest Philanthropists, 1819- 1867, completing an exploration into philanthropy in the first century of Singapore's existence as a British colony.
SINGAPORE’S EARLIEST PHILANTHROPISTS 1819-1867
This working paper is a part of the Philanthropy in Asia series of exploratory studies by ACSEP, making a first record of the development of philanthropy in Singapore over the past two centuries starting with 1819. This particular paper presents a record and examination of the contributions of Singapore’s earliest philanthropists from Singapore’s founding in 1819 until it became a Crown Colony in 1867.
GRASSROOTS PHILANTHROPY IN SINGAPORE IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM
Ling Han, Swee-Sum Lam and Joanna Zhi Hui Hioe
This is an exploratory study of contemporary grassroots philanthropy in Singapore. The purpose is to obtain insights into what motivates contemporary grassroots philanthropy and to understand the characteristics of those who have pushed their grassroots work forward through establishing an organisation.
This paper is a first study of giving by ordinary people or the grassroots community in Singapore from 1919-1959. As there is a big gap in knowledge about the lives of most people during this period, we set out to find answers to these questions: • Who were some of Singapore’s grassroots givers? • How did they give? Was it in money, or in kind? • What were their motivations for giving?
EXPLORING FAMILY PHILANTHROPY IN SINGAPORE
This study explores family philanthropy in Singapore, as practised through the family foundation. Throughout the documented history of Singapore, private philanthropy has played an important role. This study looks into why some philanthropists decided to institutionalise their giving by setting up and funding a private family foundation, and how they go about their different ways of expressing and sustaining their philanthropy.
THE EMERGENCE OF CHINESE WOMEN PHILANTHROPISTS IN SINGAPORE, 1900-1945: THE SISTERHOODS OF THE “SOR HEI”
This paper briefly examines how these humble women broke new economic and social ground for Chinese women. It explains why they left Canton to live in the British colonies, and how they survived in these alien lands. It also examines the social constructs and networks that they evolved for their own community, as single women living within larger overseas Chinese migrant groups. We also trace how their financial independence enabled them to become among the first Chinese women diaspora philanthropists.
OVERVIEW OF CHARITY SECTOR IN SINGAPORE: 2007-2013
Alfred Koh, Swee-Sum Lam and Weina Zhang
This is an exploratory study on the state of the charity sector in Singapore using the Commissioner of Charities Annual Reports from 2007 to 2013, available from the Charity Portal. The depth of analysis is much limited by the availability of inter-sectoral and intra-sectoral data as well as the length of time covered by each annual report. While there are studies that use the same data, we attempt to rationalise the data trends and their implications for strategy making by would-be entrants, practitioners and policymakers.
PHILANTHROPY IN TRANSITION: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF ASIAN WOMEN AND PHILANTHROPY IN SINGAPORE, 1900-1945
This study is a first exploratory attempt to document the role Asian women played in Singapore’s colonial philanthropic landscape. We look at women during the liminal years of the early 20th century, between 1900 and 1945, when Singapore was still a Crown Colony in the British Empire. This period saw the great civilisations of the world in transition when modernisation and wars were beginning to change the ancient social structures of Asia.
PHILANTHROPY ON THE ROAD TO NATIONHOOD IN SINGAPORE
Roshini Prakash and Pauline Tan
Singapore has often been hailed a development miracle. Within a short 50 years, it has transformed from a small, Third World British colonial outpost to a First World, thriving economy driven by electronics manufacturing and financial services. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita has multiplied more than 40-fold, from $1,580 in 1965 to about $71,000 in 2014 (Department of Statistics Singapore, 2015) – higher than the United States and Germany. The economy is characterised by full employment, high savings and investment rates, a strong currency, low inflation and a 90-percent home ownership rate. In 2013, the International Monetary Fund named Singapore the easiest country in the world to do business and second in competitiveness.
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN ASIA SERIES
ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL ENTERPRISES: AN EXPLORATION OF THE METHODS AND CRITERIA USED BY IMPACT INVESTORS AND PHILANTHROPISTS IN ASIA
Frank Roeland Hubers
This study explores how social investors in Asia measure the social impact of their investments. It contains two main sections. The first section provides an overview of the literature on social impact measurement, with a specific focus on impact assessment for social enterprises. The second section explores how investors and foundations measure and report on their social impact. Relying on publicly disclosed data, like corporate websites, evaluation reports and annual reports, I analysed the standards and practices of 77 investors and foundations. The organisations in this sample all make decisions about the allocation of funds — whether these are grants, equity or loans — to social-purpose organisations. The organisations are either grant-making foundations or impact investors that invest in social enterprises, and are operating in Asia.
A CASE STUDY: PINOYME FOUNDATION – SCALING UP THE PHILIPPINES MICROFINANCE SECTOR
Swee-Sum Lam and Gabriel Henry Jacob
As Danilo Songco, President and CEO of PinoyME, struggled to put his thoughts together to prepare for the Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for 1 February 2011, he looked up at the portrait of the late President Cory Aquino in his office, a woman with a big heart and a great vision. The first five years had been challenging yet rewarding for PinoyME: its various initiatives had impacted the microfinance sector, its efforts were recognised both locally and internationally, and millions of pesos in credit to micro finance institutions (MFI) had improved the life of thousands of poor people in rural areas. Nevertheless, Dan and his management team still faced several challenges.
A PILOT STUDY ON SINGAPORE’S SOCIAL ENTERPRISES: CHARACTERISTICS AND PERFORMANCE
Achsah Ang, Swee-Sum Lam and Weina Zhang
There is growing public interest in social enterprises (SEs) in Singapore accompanied by an increase in the sources of seed funding and publicity from beneficiaries in recent years. Social enterprises differ from the conventional for-profit or charitable organisations in one critical way: they need to meet the double bottom line of social and financial returns. Hence, SEs have to adopt relevant strategies for survival and growth. However, there is very little research to date in Singapore that has examined these hybrid organisations’ strategies, and social and financial performance. Our study attempts to fill this void.
FINDING A COMMON LANGUAGE FOR SOCIAL ENTERPRISES IN SINGAPORE
Swee-Sum Lam, Roshini Prakash and Pauline Tan
S ocial enterprises are present-day business solutions to unmet social needs. The business model and organisational form taken by a social enterprise are contextually determined within the socio-economic, legal and political regime of a community, country or region. What is a social enterprise to one community, country or region may not be perceived as such by another. For example, a co-operative may be a social business in the European Union, but may not be deemed a social enterprise in the United States. Therefore, it is helpful to appreciate that one need not be locked into a specific definition, label or organisational form of social enterprise as promulgated by another community, country or region.
CASE COLLECTION ON PHILIPPINES (2012)
Swee-Sum Lam, Leland Dela Cruz, David Jeremiah Seah & Gabriel Henry Jacob
Social development interventions have traditionally been associated with governmental and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs). But in recent years, there has been an increasing recognition that market actors can also make significant contributions to addressing social problems beyond traditional corporate social responsibility practices, philanthropy and employee volunteerism.
LANDSCAPE OF SOCIAL ENTERPRISES IN SINGAPORE
Roshini Prakash and Pauline Tan
The buzz around social enterprises in Singapore is growing louder and more insistent. Yet one does not have to scratch too far beneath the surface of this energy and enthusiasm to realise that there is little consensus even amongst the most ardent supporters on what the primary characteristics of an organisation that calls itself a social enterprise are or should be. In this study, the authors explore the diverse landscape and ecosystem that have developed since the first known social enterprises appeared in Singapore almost 90 years ago. The study sheds light on the core principles underpinning a social enterprise and presents the challenges and opportunities facing the sector in Singapore.
ENTREPRENEURIAL SOCIAL FINANCE IN ASIA SERIES
CIRCLES OF INFLUENCE: THE IMPACT OF GIVING CIRCLES IN ASIA
Giving circles are a well-established phenomenon in contemporary American philanthropy. While the act of distributing pooled donations to charitable or community causes is not new, giving circles have grown in number and variety since the mid-1990s, fueling the interest of philanthropy support organizations and academic researchers.
INNOVATIONS THAT UNLOCK THE RESOURCES OF BUSINESS FOR THE COMMON GOOD
Rob John, Audrey Chia and Ken Ito
This is the fifth in a series of working papers on Entrepreneurial Social Finance (ESF) in Asia. We introduced the term ESF to capture a growing number of financing models that focus on providing capital and non-financial support to social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial social ventures. ESF is a canopy of practices that include venture philanthropy and impact investing, characterised by an investment-minded approach that is focused on helping build a well-managed, resilient organisation rather than supporting its discrete projects. Venture philanthropists and impact investors actively work alongside an organisation’s management team, providing technical advice and mentoring as well as finance
ASIA’S IMPACT ANGELS: HOW BUSINESS ANGEL INVESTING CAN SUPPORT SOCIAL ENTERPRISE IN ASIA
Our series of working papers reflects an interest in how the philanthropy and social investment sector is developing to provide capital and non-financial support to social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial social ventures in Asia. We have coined the term Entrepreneurial Social Finance (ESF) to capture a broad canopy of practices that include venture philanthropy and impact investment. These practices reflect a paradigm shift by philanthropists who are prepared to use a wider range of financial tools to support a broader spectrum of organisational types, including social enterprises, to fulfil their social impact objectives.
VIRTUOUS CIRCLES: NEW EXPRESSIONS OF COLLECTIVE PHILANTHROPY IN ASIA
This is the third paper in our practitioner series exploring the development of ‘entrepreneurial social finance’ (ESF) in Asia. The first paper ( John, 2012) introduced the term ESF set in the context of a philanthropy ecosystem that comprises the supply and demand of resources and their intermediation. We coined the term ESF to capture financing models that are particularly appropriate for non-profit organisations that are entrepreneurial in nature and social enterprises that primarily trade in order to achieve social goals1. Very often, such marketoriented activity is personified as ‘social entrepreneurship’. Social entrepreneurs seek capital, networks and business acumen, like their counterparts in the private sector. ESF is an umbrella term that includes much of what is self-described as ‘venture philanthropy’ and ‘impact investing’. It is the level of direct engagement by the funder, with the organisation being supported, that most clearly defines the practice of entrepreneurial social finance by venture philanthropy and impact investing practitioners, rather than the kind of financial instrument used. While venture philanthropists are likely to accept that all or most of their capital will not be returned, and impact investors are looking to preserve theirs or make a financial return, both tend to be relatively hands-on, working with the investee’s management at strategic and operational levels. This depth of engagement with the organisation’s management team has suggested an analogy with venture capital investments or angel investing in the commercial sector.
INNOVATION IN ASIAN PHILANTHROPY
Rob John, Pauline Tan and Kent Ito
Organisations that address social issues through charitable or enterprising models, and those that offer them resources are part of a rapidly evolving global ecosystem. The rise of social entrepreneurship, new hybrid organisational models, more engaged and demanding entrepreneurial philanthropists, and market intermediaries are players shaping this landscape. Entrepreneurial social finance (ESF) has its modern origins in the development of venture philanthropy in Silicon Valley during the 1990s and impact investing from 2008, as philanthropists and social investors sought to respond to the needs of social entrepreneurs to innovate and grow their ventures.
We have introduced the term ‘Entrepreneurial Social Finance’ (ESF) to capture a growing number of financing models that focus on providing capital and non-financial support to social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial social ventures. ESF is a broad canopy of practices that include models often referred to as venture philanthropy and impact investing. ESF practice adapts the investment-minded approach of the venture capital industry to serve social entrepreneurs in their ambitions for innovation and growth to maximise social impact, by analogy to the role venture capital has in investing in the high-potential ventures of entrepreneurs. In social financing, this approach is a paradigm shift from donor to investor in the relationship with those seeking capital, operating across a wide spectrum of financial inputs, risk appetite and expectations of return on investment. Whether grantmakers, venture philanthropists or impact investors, ESF providers are actively engaged in the strategy and operations of those they invest in, seeking to bring value beyond money.