Anita Toy discusses her journey into philanthropy and shares her vision for Give2Asia Australia.
Anita Toy joined Give2Asia in 2017 after more than a decade with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ). After four years as a Country Advisor and Regional Manager, she took on the role as the founding Chief Representative of the new Give2Asia Australia charity. We sat down with her to get her thoughts on the launch.
Give2Asia: How did you originally get interested in joining Give2Asia? Were you already working in philanthropy?
Anita: I’ve been involved with the Australian philanthropic sector for over 12 years and was already working in philanthropy prior to joining Give2Asia. I spent the majority of my career in corporate where I became very aware of the impact of corporate decisions on people and the community. I was very fortunate to work with some amazing leaders who mentored me at ANZ and over time developed a deep appreciation for philanthropy. And I wanted to expand my knowledge further and give back in a more substantial way.
Give2Asia: What were some of those previous roles like?
Anita: I spent my entire career with ANZ. I had multiple roles in that organization, one being a Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, where I was responsible for the Community Investment Program across 32 Asia Pacific countries. After that, I moved into a role where I was the Grant Program Manager for ANZ Trustees and managed some of Australia’s oldest and largest trusts and foundations, and strategically advised trustees on the charitable distributions. In my final role with the organization, I was a Philanthropy Manager, working closely with Private Bankers and their high net-worth clients to develop a strategic giving plan.
Give2Asia: What makes it interesting and what has kept you here? What got you excited about this new role?
Anita: I’m really proud of our ethos at Give2Asia and I’m always continuously amazed by the generosity of our donors. It is so important, especially when supporting overseas communities, to enable local organizations to develop local solutions. We do that at Give2Asia. We build the capacity of local organizations and empower them to enact change. We invest in communities so they can become self-reliant and sustainable.
Give2Asia: What are the challenges?
Anita: International philanthropy is underdeveloped in Australia, and we have a real opportunity to shape how Australians give overseas. The biggest challenge is changing the way Australians give because overseas giving was not available to them before.
Give2Asia: What led you to decide to take on this new role?
Anita: I’ve been really fortunate in my career where I’ve been empowered by my peers and managers to take risks to drive change. And this new role allows me to do that, while also empowering donors to do the same. Australians are very generous. Our community is diverse, and we are so geographically close to our Asian neighbors. Our giving shouldn’t be restricted by borders, and I want to change that, and I believe that I can do that through Give2Asia.
Give2Asia: What are some of the barriers facing Australians who want to support a charity in another country?
Anita: Recently, the government removed some of the barriers. Until a few years ago, we had a strict “In-Australia” requirement where donations to a charitable organization, more specifically to a public benevolent institution, needed to have their purpose and beneficiaries in Australia. This meant that for donors to receive a tax benefit on their donations, the funds had to stay within the country. That changed in 2017, when the government announced a number of reforms and removed the “In-Australia” requirement. While the decision was welcomed, there is a strict framework that’s been imposed by the Australian regulator to safeguard charities conducting international activities.
Give2Asia: What does the Give2Asia Australia entity enable for donors?
Anita: It gives Australian donors the opportunity to support overseas causes and it empowers them to make a difference in the countries and communities that need it the most. At the moment, there is little public information to help [Australian] donors navigate the complexities of international giving. Through the Australian entity, we can become a trusted partner, for funders and philanthropists, in their international giving endeavors. We want to complement their giving and to help them achieve the impact that they want to achieve in the country that they want to support.
Give2Asia: How will Australia be different from Give2Asia in the US?
Anita: The main difference between the two entities is that Australia will purely focus on supporting projects seeking to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of vulnerable individuals, groups and communities.
Give2Asia: What are the benefits of working through Give2Asia Australia, versus trying to send a check or send a PayPal donation directly to an overseas charity?
Anita: The benefits to working with Give2Asia is that we take the guesswork out of international giving. We take the precaution to conduct the necessary checks and due diligence to make sure that the organization who’s in receipt of funding is operating with accountability and transparency. We also have a deep expertise in the rules and regulations around giving internationally, which is also supported by our in-country advisors, who are our representatives on the ground in the 23 countries and regions that that we operate in. They are the stars of Give2Asia and our point of differentiation because they lend their relationships and regional knowledge to the funders who want to embark on supporting those causes in the local communities.
Learn more about Give2Asia Australia: