AVPN 2014: Forging Ahead To 2015

Image: AVPN 2014


The Asian Venture Philanthropy Network wrapped-up its latest pioneering conference in Singapore about a month ago. With some time to reflect, I am impressed — not just with the conference itself (which was amazing, again!), but with the new commitments to knowledge infrastructure being made in the region.

AVPN recently announced the launch of a Knowledge Center that intends to be a central hub for commissioning and sharing research on philanthropy and social investment in Asia. With a focus on practical knowledge, it should come as a welcome addition to other academically oriented institutions in the region such as the National University of Singapore and some of the major universities in Hong Kong. Recently, notable publications about philanthropy in Asia include:

  • AVPN’s “Getting Started in Venture Philanthropy in Asia.” The guide was a featured presentation at AVPN 2014 and overviews similar themes in an earlier European Venture Philanthropy Association work. This version is accompanied by five country-specific legal frameworks for China, India, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore.
  • The Rockefeller Foundation recently released “The Power of Impact Investing,” a weighty book that highlights social investing efforts worldwide as well as in Southeast Asia specifically.
  • Asia Community Ventures “Mind the Gap” report, published late last year, surveys the social sector in Hong Kong and urges more knowledge-sharing and collaboration.

These contributions are valuable additions to the growing knowledge base of philanthropy in Asia. What is needed now more than ever is not only descriptive summaries of “rich-lists,” but sector analyses, case studies, tools, and perhaps most importantly, practical recommendations for action. Further down the road, I look forward to seeing a diverse array of reports highlighting findings (both positive and negative!) of social returns, impacts, and lives changed, backed by data and credible analyses.

Philanthropy in Asia continues to be a vibrant scene. There is no shortage of developments that lend themselves to a closer look. Two headlines recently caught my eye: 1)   Indonesian philanthropists, along with Bill Gates, are giving millions for health care initiatives (see a previous Asian Philanthropy Forum post), and 2) China’s Jack Ma and the highly anticipated charitable trust to be established with Alibaba equity will be a huge topic of interest – and the largest of its kind in China. As Dien Yuen commented in CNN’s Money blog, “It will send a ripple effect through the community.”

Congratulations to AVPN and its staff (new leadership as well as steadfast team members!) for the trail-blazing work they are doing. I look forward to AVPN 2015!


This post wraps up our coverage of AVPN 2014, but be on the look out for bonus interviews with conference delegates! See the rest of our coverage here

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