Funding Trends

In their report Philanthropists without borders New Venture Philanthropy identified the following trends in private philanthropy.

  • Giving while living
  • Higher levels of engagement
  • A focus on results
  • Backing whole organizations for the long term
  • Supporting enterprises
  • Direct Action

Within the Philanthropic Sector there are also a number of hot topics or areas of current interest.  Some of these have been around for many years but have received recent increase in popularity or redefinition.

We have highlighted 3 current topcis below. Click on the boxes to read more.

Funding Women


MicroFinance & Micro Savings


Social Enterprise & Social Enterpreneurs

Funding Women

  Funding Women
Many Foundations working in Asia prefer to target their funding towards poor women as they believe that this has a greater impact on society as a whole.
  1. Why women?
  2. Girls education effects
  3. The generational effect
  4. Women entrepreneurs and Microfinance
  5. Funders Views
  6. INGO focus
  7. Resoures and Research

1. Why women?
The third millennium development goal, agreed to by world leaders in 2000, recognised that promoting gender equality and empowering women was a crucial step towards achieving many of the other development goals including eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combating HIV and Aids.

Kofi Annan, in 1999, when he was still secretary-general of the United Nations, described girls' education as the "single highest returning social investment in the world today".

However, as identified by Ruth Levine, an analyst with the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C. 'In many places girls and young women do not enjoy the basic rights of voting, cannot inherit land, are subject to female genital cutting, and do not have the right to stop unwanted sexual advances or gain justice. Yet it is only through major and sustained improvements in the condition of girls that the world will reach its goals.'


2. Girls education effects
The returns to investment in girls' education are, on average, higher than for boys. Returns to investment (ROI) in secondary schooling are particularly pronounced. One comprehensive review of ROI in education reported that, overall, women receive slightly higher returns to their school-ing investments than men (Psacharopoulos and Patrinos 2004).

Providing girls one extra year of education beyond the average boosts their eventual wages by 10–20 percent; for boys, the returns are 5–15 percent. They also found that secondary schooling appeared to have a greater positive effect on the lifetime welfare of women than any other level of education.

Another survey of 100 countries found that educating girls and reducing the gender gap tended to promote democracy, because "expanded educational opportunities for females goes along with a social structure that is generally more participatory and, hence, more receptive to democracy" (Barro 1999). Girls' schooling and social inclusion prepare young women to participate actively in civic life, a key component of improved governance.

According to research commissioned by Goldman Sachs, for every two or three years of education, a woman is likely to have one less child. Women with secondary or higher education also delay marriage.

Nike Foundation now focus their work solely on girls.


3. The generational effect
The benefits of investing in girls are amplified and sustained in the next generation. Infant and Children's health, for example, is strongly correlated with their mother's receiving a higher level of schooling - a relationship found consistently throughout the world and over time including in Bicego and Boerma's (1993) study carried out in 17 developing countries.

As one funder told us "if you educate the women you are educating the family and the next generation"


4. Women entrepreneurs and Microfinance
Many funders and microfinance institutions choose to fund women over men as they are considered to be a better risk and it is more likely that they will reinvest their earnings into the family and their children. In some cultures it is important that women are given control of the financial input otherwise much of the impact is lost. (See 'Micro finance' and 'Funding Trends - Social Entrepreneurs').


5. Funders Views

When Peter Buffet announced a US$1million investment in Nike's "The Girl Effect" program he said, "Investing in the girl effect offers the potential for tremendous economic impact, which leads to more stability, less poverty and more opportunity for economic growth. Just one component of the girl effect – the increase in family income associated with an additional year of a girl's education – nets more than a 40-fold return according to conservative calculations. The intergenerational benefits, however, go far beyond this to impact a range of issues including declining fertility rates and improved health and nutrition for the next generation. That's a return on investment we can't ignore."


6. NGO and INGO focus
Many International NGOs have for many years recognized and built their programs to reflect these findings.

Oxfam HK states itself to be "women focused". They believe women are critical to the future as they play such a crucial role in the early development of the future generations but they are also the most politically and economically disadvantaged. As well as targeting women and girls for education, micro finance and other initiatives, Oxfam will always ensure that women are on the community committees when discussing potential projects. They state that by providing women with the ability to create wealth it will in turn improve their social and political standing in the community.

The Hong Kong charity "Enrich" provides financial training targeted at the female domestic workers in Hong Kong. These workers are among some of the lowest paid workers, many paid below the minimum wage, yet they have the responsibility of supporting themselves, their family and extended families back home. By providing them with financial education they are better able to manage their finances, pay for the education of their children, and support their families whilst avoiding the loan sharks in Hong Kong.


7. Resources and Research
International Centre for Research on Women
The New Class Struggle by Caroline Daniel Published: September 27 2008
Inexcusable Absence: Why 60 Million Girls Still Aren't in School and What to do About It (Brief) Maureen Lewis and Marlaine Lockheed 04/16/2007
Girls Count: A Global Investment & Action Agenda Report Center for Global Development