One common concern many people share about the current state of Asian philanthropy is that it’s not very transparent. Much philanthropy in Asia is still done ad hoc, and a cultural emphasis on modesty that is pervasive in many Asian countries means that details of who’s giving to what, where, and when can be difficult to come by.
But things have been changing as of late. Back in 2010, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, arguably the world’s most well-known philanthropists at this time, visited China to encourage the country’s new class of billionaires to give more publicly and generously a la The Giving Pledge. Their efforts are believed to have been effective.
Now, Gates is once again lending his social capital to make philanthropy part of the mainstream chatter in Asia. The Jakarta Post reports that Gates and nine Indonesian philanthropists have signed a memorandum of understanding to fund a multi-million sustainable health initiative in Indonesia. The funding initiative is being co-led locally by Dato’ Sri Dr Tahir, an Indonesian philanthropists who is himself a signatory of the Giving Pledge.
According to the Jakarta Posts:
At the [signing] ceremony, Gates handed over US$40 million to the Indonesia Health Fund. The program is part of the joint philanthropic efforts of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Tahir Foundation.
Last year, both Gates and Tahir, who is also chairman and CEO of the Mayapada Group, donated a total of $207 million, with each of them providing $103.5 million.
The other Indonesian philanthropists who have signed onto the memorandum include: Adrian Bramantyo Musyanif (Samali Hotels and Resorts); Hendro Gondokusumo (PT Intiland Development); Ted Sioeng (Sioeng Group); Edward Suryadjaya (Ortus Holdings); Benny Tjokrosaputro (PT Hanson International); Anne Patricia Sutanto (Pancaprima Ekabrothers); Henry Jaya Gunawan (PT Gala Bumi Perkasa); and Luntungan Honoris (PT Modernland Realty). They have all committed to providing $5 million for the next five years.
It’s absolutely wonderful to hear of more Asian philanthropists giving back publicly, and we hope to see more of this happening in other Asian countries.