The Legatum Prosperity Index

Legatum Institute

The Prosperity Index aims to help identify specifics action to be taken to contribute to strengthening the pathways from poverty to prosperity across 167 countries, as well as providing a roadmap as nations chart their way through and out of the pandemic.

2023 edition: Read it here.

2021 edition: Read it here.

2020 edition: Read it here.

Asia Development Outlook (ADO) Series

Asia Development Bank

ADO 2023
This publication highlights brighter economic prospects for Asia and the Pacific amid ongoing challenges. It forecasts growth across the region’s developing economies of 4.8% this year and in 2024, up from 4.2% in 2022. Read it here.

ADO 2022
The 2022 report outlines economic prospects in developing Asia amid global turbulence and lingering pandemic risks. It discusses the implications of school closures and the conflict in Europe, and explores mobilizing taxes for development. Read it here.

ADO 2021
The 2021 report reflects on the fallout of Covid-19 and its impact on growth trajectories in Asian economies. It pinpoints new virus outbreaks and vaccine delays as key short-term risks to the region’s economic outlook, with long-term risks being consequences of prolonged unemployment and disrupted education. A thematic chapter explores the drivers and impacts of green and social finance. The infusion of private capital will be critical in boosting the funding necessary for a resilient and inclusive recovery in Asia. Read it here.

Realizing the promise of digital technology for Asia’s social sector

Economist Impact

The benefits of the digital age extend to the social sector, but how can we ensure equitable access? Across Asia, digital technology has enabled greater connectivity and flow of information and resources. The social sector has largely benefited from this shift, drawing on digital tools and platforms to increase effectiveness, expand access to social support services, and supercharge fundraising efforts. Continue reading here.

Hong Kong Opens Doors to Billionaires in Family Office Push


Hong Kong has made attracting family offices — set up by the super rich to manage their lives and finances — a key mission under Chief Executive John Lee. In a statement announcing the event, officials said it would build stronger connections and encourage more of them to come to the city. Continue reading here.

Hong Kong should offer incentives for philanthropy to compete with Singapore for family offices, study says

South China Morning Post

City should offer tax incentives and allow the cross-border flow of charity capital, according to a study by the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society. Hong Kong currently loses to Singapore in terms of tax incentives for attracting charitable foundations, study shows. Read more here.

Dr. Jemilah Mahmood (Malaysia)
Executive Director
Sunway Centre for Planetary Health

Published date: 14 March 2023

Professor Tan Sri Dr. Jemilah Mahmood is the Executive Director of Sunway Centre for Planetary Health, hosted at Sunway University, Malaysia. Established in 2021, the Centre focuses on the climate emergency, creating healthy cities and achieving sustainable food systems, recognizing the centrality of good governance, effective communications and an education revolution to effect long-term system level changes to the relationship between planet and people. It forms part of Sunway Group’s focus on achieving sustainable development in Malaysia and fostering regional cooperation for environmental action.

CAPS spoke to Dr. Jemilah in late 2022 to learn more about planetary health – the intersection of human health, planetary health and sustainable resilience – and the role of private social investment in addressing existential crises in the Asian region.


CAPS: Dr. Jemilah, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Could you start by explaining the relationship between the health of people and the health of the environment?

Dr. Jemilah Mahmood: It’s abundantly clear by the events of the last three years that the health of humanity is intrinsically linked to the health of the planet. There are limits to the amount of stress the planet can take before we start to experience systemic collapse, until those tipping points that science is telling us to be worried about are reached.  When we start transgressing those boundaries there is a massively negative impact on the systems that are important for humanity: health, food, water, energy. This damage in turn impacts on our economic well-being, our social cohesion, gender relations, equality, education, everything. One event can generate cascading crises, as we saw during the pandemic when we experienced this up close and personal. There are so many things that are affected when health is not protected.

CAPS: That sounds incredibly complex.

Dr. Jemilah Mahmood: It’s complex because, when it comes down to it, everything in nature is connected. The disconnection is with us – we are not connected anymore. This is because our political, economic and social systems have evolved in ways which are simply not sustainable, not respecting the limits of the Earth’s ability to provide for us, to clean up our messes, to process our trash and the toxins we create., to protect us from poorly thought through development choices. And it’s starting to more immediately touch upon a lot of sensitivities. For example, in Malaysia, the massive flooding in late 2021, generated a huge tension in politics. People felt that the government wasn’t taking care of them. People didn’t talk about climate change until it impacted them, until the triple crisis of the pandemic, the floods and then economic recession became very personal.

There is no escaping the fact that human beings drive environmental and planetary destruction, whether through their own consumer behaviors, though silent acquiescence to damage caused by big businesses and corrupt politicians or simply through participating and accepting the poorly thought through development decisions our leaders and private sector managers make – decisions that don’t take into account planetary boundaries or respect for nature. So, we are trying to get people to flip it and see things from a different perspective.


CAPS: How easy or difficult has it been for you to get people to shift that mindset?

Dr. Jemilah Mahmood: Every crisis provides opportunities. In the immediate aftermath of disasters it’s easier for us to talk to governments, to say, “Here’s the situation, you need to act.” The pandemic provided a significant opportunity to open dialogue on the need for more sustainable change and better risk management. The government has included planetary health and climate change in its development plans. The caretaker Prime Minister at the time called for a planetary health roadmap. We have a sustainability centre, bringing the SDGs into our development planning, and we’re setting up a sustainability fund so that we can look at what innovations can happen at the community level to drive sustainable transformation. It is still tricky, but it is not impossible.

I think that everyone needs to use this opportunity, making sure we don’t forget that the pandemic showed us the need for speed, to keep driving forward the transformational change that must happen now, especially because governments and people have so many competing priorities. For the normal person on the street, it is about, “How do I bring food to the table?”, and for politicians, it’s about, “How do I survive?”. For businesses, “How do I make money?”. Doing business well and right means good business outcomes. For governments, making the right policy decisions will ensure better political survival and thriving. But the ultimate driver of positive change needs to be us – the people. Changes in our behaviors will be reflected in changes in our institutions which will generate change in our interactions with the Earth.


CAPS: We often hear people say that sustainability and climate change seem too big and too complicated, and it’s difficult to know where to start. How would you respond to that concern?

Dr. Jemilah Mahmood: There’s no short-term or easy solution to this. This is going to be hard work for a long time to come – but we’re running out of time to get started. In my opinion, the most important thing is education. How do we build an awareness of the importance of the environment, of sustainability, of planetary health? It needs to start from a very young age, in schools.

At the University, we prioritized incorporating planetary health as a central theme, no matter what discipline you are in. We are piloting a course now, that will become mandatory from 2024. Every student entering Sunway University will need to complete a seven-week course on planetary health and community service before they graduate. In the process of educating people, you create greater awareness and develop leadership skills.

We also run a lot of youth engagement activities. I think that’s a factor in how we change things in the long term, through young people. They already know this is important. They know that their generation is facing an existential crisis. We give them the tools and the skills so that they are better able to handle it, but also build that transformative innovation that is required to develop solutions for us all.


CAPS: What role can philanthropists play in supporting businesses and communities to take action on planetary health? 

Dr. Jemilah Mahmood: I think philanthropy would do well to increase its focus on impact. That’s where the real value for money lies. But a lot of the time, philanthropy is not strategic. For example, when there’s a crisis, everybody pours money into relief, but funders are less willing to provide money that helps to prevent these crises from happening in the first place. I want to see philanthropists think about strategy and impact, more intelligent theories of change, and long-term progress.

Philanthropy also has such an important role to play in building institutions. I would love for our Centre to have endowments to help us do research and build the evidence to change society through education and influencing policies. We also want to influence businesses, including SMEs, to look at how they can innovate and to help them become more aware of their environmental impact. We have to get people to see that protecting the environment is good business and good FOR business.

Li Kemei 李克梅 (China)
发起人 Founder
北京德清公益基金会 Deqing Foundation
中国 China

Published date: 7 March 2023

In 2004, Li Kemei and her husband Tang Xiuguo (President of Sany Group) established the Deqing Education Special Fund followed by the Beijing Deqing Foundation in 2016, CAPS spoke to Li Kemei in 2021 to learn more about her story of promoting rural music education. 

2004年,李克梅和丈夫唐修国(三一集团总裁)发起成立了德清教育专项基金;2016年,夫妇两人又发起成立了北京德清公益基金会。20216,  CAPS与李克梅女士进行了一次线上对话,希望了解她推动德清基金会做乡村音乐教育的故事。 

CAPS: Can you share with us the philanthropic work of your organization?

Li Kemei: The Deqing Foundation focuses on rural music education. We chose a specific entry point – vocal training for children. Our goal is to enable every rural child to receive quality music education and illuminate their hearts through their voices.  


Focusing on education, particularly music education, is a long-term investment that may not show immediate results. However, we believe that we are laying the groundwork for future success. As we say in Chinese, “You must prepare the soil before planting seeds.” 


We have been working hard over the years to create an ecosystem for rural education. Non-profit organizations focusing on rural education cannot work in silos. It’s essential to integrate our efforts with the local education ecosystem and to support local education workers, such as education foundations, education bureaus, principals, and teachers, with new ideas, mechanisms, and resources. 


CAPS: Is there any connection between your philanthropy and Sany Group’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts?

Li Kemei: The two are closely linked. As the president of Sany Group, my husband Tang Xiuguo has a mission to fulfill the company’s social responsibilities. A major part of Sany Group’s CSR is conducted through the Sany Foundation which aims to drive innovation on important social issues. As members of the family, we have chosen to focus on music education philanthropy as our intersection point. For example, every summer, we invite at least a hundred village teachers to Changsha for intensive training. This would not be possible without the comprehensive support of Sany Group, which provides catering, accommodation and logistics. 


CAPS: Are there any philanthropic projects that have inspired your work?

Li Kemei: Yes, one project that I find particularly inspiring is the El Sistema project, also known as the Venezuelan National Youth Orchestra System. Venezuela was the largest oil producer and exporter in South America during the ‘50s and ’60s, but there was a significant wealth disparity in the country. Many people were unemployed, leading to social unrest and an increase in juvenile crime rates. In 1975, Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu launched the “Music Society Movement” and established the first youth orchestra in Venezuela. Two years later, this orchestra achieved impressive results in international music competitions held in the UK, which caught the attention of the Venezuelan government. In 1977, the government supported the establishment of the State Foundation for the National System of Youth and Infant Orchestras of Venezuela (FESNOJIV), hoping to influence society through music education. 


This project was successful for two reasons. First, the project has a well-designed structure that makes it actionable and sustainable. The project’s goal is clear, not only to cultivate musicians but also to instill a sense of responsibility, happiness, and passion for music, while becoming a contributing member of society. The project achieves this through a pyramid-shaped talent cultivation system, where children progress through choir, children’s orchestra, youth orchestra, and a professional orchestra. Group-based lectures solve the problem of insufficient teachers and help young people develop strong values. Peer teaching is also encouraged which helps improve the efficiency of rehearsals and creates a pool of future teachers. 


Second, this project can be replicated. The project’s management model is top-down, where foundations can establish community centers and provide funding for their basic operations. Community centers can utilize societal resources and parent groups to raise 20% of the funding needed. They can also maintain close contact with companies, families, and young people in the community. The project’s management model has significantly reduced the juvenile crime rate in the community and improved the living environment. As of 2017, more than 300 community centers have been established, providing systematic music education to 350,000 young people every year, which is 1% of Venezuela’s population. Over 40 countries and regions worldwide have drawn inspiration from this project when creating their own models. 


CAPS: How has this project influenced your work?

Li Kemei: I think that learning from the execution and actual effect of the El Sistema project is very valuable. It has inspired me to think about how our “Happy Chorus 3+1 – the Promotion of Choral Art in Rural Middle & Primary Schools” project can benefit more rural teachers and students. A choir can also help alleviate rural children’s loneliness and boost their confidence and happiness. My country has a strong tradition of choral singing, particularly in singing patriotic songs, which provides a good foundation for the choral community. 

李克梅:这个项目不管在执行还是效果上,都是很值得学习的,这不禁让我想到我们自己的快乐合唱 3+1—乡村中小学合唱艺术推广公益项目,如何让更多乡村师生受益,是我一直在思考的与乐团一样,合唱团也是团体艺术,有助于缓解乡村孩子们的孤独情绪,帮助他们更自信更快乐地成长。且我国一直有红歌合唱的传统,合唱群众基础较好。 

The “Happy Chorus 3+1” project may seem complicated, but it has a simple underlying logic, consisting of three modules: building a teacher training system to help deliver excellent music classes, providing a chorus performance platform to accompany children’s growth, and setting up a research and exchange platform to promote rural aesthetic education development. As of December 31, 2022, the “Happy Chorus 3+1” project has trained 8,410 music teachers, hosted 5 “Happy Chorus 3+1” public benefit concerts, and successfully conducted “Primary and Secondary School Chorus Performances” in 14,970 classes across 763 primary and secondary schools in 19 counties across three provinces, benefiting 863,577 students. 


We started with the project design and management model, aiming to create a stepped choral growth system and music teacher training program that is suitable for China. We also want to develop a platform that showcases the project’s achievements in multiple areas, intending to provide every rural child with quality music education. 

我们从项目设计和项目管理模式着手, 希望能通过打造适合中国国情的梯级合唱团成长体系、阶梯式音乐教师培训体系和多维成果展示平台,让每一个乡村孩子都能接受有质量的音乐教育。 

It is an honor to be interviewed by CAPS, and I hope that this opportunity will enable more people to see how foundations in China are promoting the popularization and development of music education through the chorus charity program. 


India Philanthropy Report

Bain & Company and Dasra

The India Philanthropy Report series showcases the state of giving towards the social sector in India. It highlights the growing contribution of family foundations, which has remained resilient during the pandemic, while other sources of private sector funding have stagnated. However, the social sector remains underserved, with annual funding shortfalls compounded by the addition of pandemic-induced demands.

2023 edition
In its 13th edition, India Philanthropy Report 2023, co-created by Bain & Company and Dasra, focuses on the different funder archetypes – CSR, Retail Givers, UHNIs, HNI & Affluent Givers, their deeply correlated roles, factors and barriers influencing different cohorts of givers and actionable insights into specific enablers that can make philanthropy more effective. Read it here.

2022 edition
The report notes that as India advances towards growth and transformation, an opportunity exists to invest in and support different funder groups across CSR, family philanthropy and retail giving. Read it here.

2021 edition
The report estimates that if India’s ultra-high-net-worth families increase their giving in line with global peers (i.e., they give 2-3% of their wealth), family philanthropic funding would increase five-fold. Read it here.

Hong Kong as a Philanthropy Hub

This report was produced in collaboration with the Better Hong Kong Foundation (BHKF). Highlighting how Hong Kong can enhance its attractiveness, for both individual and corporate private wealth owners, the report discusses how the city can develop its role as Asia’s pre-eminent philanthropy hub.

The role of philanthropy in China’s war on poverty

Alliance Magazine

Poverty elimination has been a mass mobilization campaign in China. To accomplish this task, the Chinese government encouraged financial institutions to lend more and support local projects, as well as the private sector to contribute through investment funds and charitable foundations. Read the article from CAPS’ Angel Chiang here.