February 10, 2017
by Patti Chu
The King Baudouin’s Foundation (KBF), the largest foundation in Belgium had its first roadshow in Asia this past January. The aim of this trip was to build partnerships to increase the flow of giving between Europe and Asia as well as share their experience setting up Transnational Giving Europe (TGE), a network of foundations from 19 countries (Partner-countries) that enables tax-effective cross border giving in Europe.
In TGE’s model, the benefits for the different stakeholders are as follows:
- For non-profit organizations: A potential increase of donations from abroad.
- For donors: Ability to support nonprofit organizations in Europe while still being able to receive tax advantages.
- TGE Partners: Being recognized as key player in enabling cross border giving and receiving some financial compensation for doing so.
A significant number of philanthropists within the TGE network are already giving in Asia, which is why part of the roadshow was also to understand the feasibility and the interest of launching a Transnational Giving Asia (TGA) network to increase the flow of philanthropic capital channeled within Asia, but also boost cross-border philanthropy between Asia and Europe.
The Asia roadshow included a number of roundtables held in Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore which were co-organized together with AVPN and largely attended by AVPN members and supporters. Some of the key findings from this experience sharing include the following:
- Philanthropy in Asia is in growing rapidly – following the remarkable economic growth over the past decades and therefore the growth of wealth.
- The differences in cultural, legal and taxation terms between Asian countries are certainly more pronounced than between European countries.
- Cross border giving plays currently still a limited role but there are events or cultural links that make cross-border giving more likely (e.g. the earthquake in Japan, links between Hong Kong and Mainland China).
- Cross border philanthropy between Europe and Asia and vice versa exist (from Europe to Asia and from Asia to Europe) at a larger scale than expected.
- Currently, there is no vehicle that enables tax efficient giving between Asia and Europe and between Asian countries.
- Similar social problems are currently tackled by philanthropy and foundations in Asia and Europe. Inspirational exchanges of experience and best practices is recommended between actors from both continents.
Furthermore, the roundtable sessions also proved to be fruitful as there seemed to be potential TGA Partners in three of the four visited countries.
What’s next? TGE was launched 10 years ago with four partner countries, so in order to move forward with TGA we are in the look out for a few more partners. The following criteria is required as a TGA Partner:
- Able to hand out tax receipts
- Able to make international grants
- Renown and reputable organization in home country
- Able to conduct professionally due diligence
AVPN-KBF are planning a more in depth meeting with key partners in Asia during the AVPN conference in Bangkok (June 2017). This meeting is crucial to define concrete next steps, understand the practical requirements of being a partner, set a working timeline and brainstorm for more partners. If anyone is interested to learn more about TGA please get in touch with us. Lastly, this is only one of the few collaboration initiatives that AVPN is planning to catalyze at this year’s conference so we hope to see you there!