APC is now two years old and ready to move to our next phase of growth! Our community of philanthropists has grown and engagement deepened. Nonetheless, we are still in start-up mode, and continue to experiment and notch a number of firsts this year!
Our most ambitious project to date is the ASEAN Community Impact Fund (“ASEAN Fund”) for collaborative philanthropy. Still work-in-progress, this is our first pooled Fund to grow collective impact. We intend to focus in the fields of education, nutrition and community building in Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar, through leveraging size, neutrality, a long term focus and a holistic approach.
In January, we launched our first APC local chapter – in Indonesia, chaired by our member Victor Hartono. The objective of the chapter is to give autonomy and ownership to our Indonesian members to drive the growth of philanthropy locally. Apart from the regular members’ convening, the chapter’s outreach is rapidly expanding, hosting its first workshop for 50 social sector leaders in Indonesia in May to discuss the ASEAN Fund.
In March, APC had our first learning journey for members. Four APC members visited rural Yunnan, China, where a member had completed projects, and learnt about the possibilities of rural development in China. We came across two compelling projects of young university graduates returning to their villages to lead entrepreneurial agricultural projects that significantly raised the incomes of previously poor villagers. During the trip, one member made a spontaneous donation to a rural school, and another is planning to invest in the young entrepreneurs we met. This demonstrates the power of seeing things on the ground.
In April, APC’s Global School Leaders project in Malaysia was launched with the recruitment of its founding Country Director. A new non-profit organisation (NPO) is currently being established, marking the first start-up being formed as a result of APC’s catalytic work.
In April, APC also visited Myanmar for the first time. It was a field trip for Stanley, our APC chair, two consultants and myself, to identify a geography for APC to work in through the ASEAN Fund. It was also my first ever trip to Myanmar, and I fell immediately in love with the country. I found the people giving, resilient and friendly, and Myanmar as a whole represents a relatively green field we can significantly contribute to.
Completing a busy travel schedule this half year, I visited the US, and attended the Global Philanthropists Circle (GPC) Members Meeting. Our friends at GPC works with families on a global basis, and we are establishing deeper exchange and collaboration between our two networks. I also visited Geneva Global, a consultancy that has helped set up or manage pooled philanthropic funds that have mobilized more than US$750million.
At APC, we are learning and working with the best in the field. The best practices may be situated outside or within the region, but we connect with them, adapt them to the local context and apply. No need to reinvent the wheel. This is very much what we are about – connecting the dots!
Looking forward to more firsts for the rest of the year,