The Changing Face Of Asian Philanthropy

BEIJING, CHINA - FEBRUARY 18: Visitor passes the trees decorated with red lanterns at the Spring Festival Temple Fair for celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year of Sheep at the Temple of Earth park on February 18, 2015 in Beijing, China. The Chinese Lunar New Year of Sheep also known as the Spring Festival, which is based on the Lunisolar Chinese calendar, is celebrated from the first day of the first month of the lunar year and ends with Lantern Festival on the Fifteenth day. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) Asia is on the cusp of its largest ever inter-generational wealth transfer, and some families are using philanthropy as a way to pass down values, as well as assets.

In Asia, wealth is usually no more than three generations old. With younger generations becoming more involved in the managing of family assets in Asia, it has spurred the emergence of family foundations, with a structured and professional approach to philanthropy.

According to Michelle Chow, philanthropy consultant with Withers Worldwide, “The trend is for the younger generation to travel or study abroad, return home and start to integrate into the family business by first running the family foundations.

These young people are motivated by creating discernible impact and evidenced outcomes. Often they will implement practices they have observed abroad, like strategic philanthropy or impact giving. They find a social problem and they want to solve it.”

Many big families see this as a way to create a family legacy for future generations, and to create common ground with their successors, with 45 percent of funding for Asian family foundations  coming from first generation businesses.

While the older generation focuses on sectors such as education, health and poverty, younger philanthropists are more open to sectors such as the arts, civil rights and the environment.

There is no official estimate but there are likely to be less than 10,000 family foundations verses over 100,000 in the US. However with the next decade or two seeing as much as 80 percent of wealth being passed on to the next generation, the rise of philanthropic family foundations is still largely ahead of Asia.

Excerpt from article published in the Wealth-X newsletter which can be accessed in full here.

To contact Withers locally speak to Expat Advisors Community member Rita Chowdhury.