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Could a transnational giving network unlock Asia’s philanthropic potential?


Give2Asia is proud to announce a new project co-funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The 1-year feasibility study will assess the potential for a Transnational Giving Asia network to increase philanthropy across borders in the Asia-Pacific.

By Sheena Agarwal, VP of Partnerships at Give2Asia

When Give2Asia was founded 20 years ago, international philanthropy primarily flowed in one direction, as donors in the West supported nonprofits in other locales. Strong tax incentives for charitable giving—especially in the US—fueled a steady increase in overseas philanthropy. Since 2001, Give2Asia’s donors alone have facilitated US$350 million in grants.

Today, the landscape of potential donors is far more diverse. With increasing levels of wealth across the Asia-Pacific, there is great potential to address pressing humanitarian needs by increasing funding flows between countries in the Global South.

However, potential donors face a range of concerns. The tax benefits for giving vary widely by country, as do regulations and restrictions on sending large donations across national borders, especially in Asia. With Asian countries positioned to see the largest increase in ultra-high-net-worth individuals over the next five years, the opportunity to unlock this wealth for charitable programming is immense.

To overcome these barriers to charitable giving, we can look to Transnational Giving Europe (TGE), established in 1998. The philanthropic network enables donors in 21 countries to financially support qualified nonprofits in other countries, while also receiving tax benefits in their home country.

Give2Asia is now performing a feasibility study to examine the potential for a similar network in the Asia-Pacific region. Our partners in this research include the Asia Philanthropy Circle (APC), which will leverage its extensive network and partnerships across the region to support survey work, and the King Baudouin Foundation (KBF), which will lend its deep expertise in assessing and developing business models for transnational giving networks.

The 1-year project, co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will assess financial flows, donor appetite, strategic partnerships, and legal infrastructure across 13 countries: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. While the end goal of the project is to create a business model for an Asia giving network, the results of the study will determine the countries and mechanisms through which this could operate successfully.

As a nonprofit with 20 years of experience making international grants to communities in Asia, Give2Asia is excited to explore the potential for unlocking cross-border philanthropy within the region. To stay informed about the results of this study, or to get involved, you can email us at info@give2asia.org.

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