October 2014 Edition

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. – African proverb

This proverb explains why I joined AVPN. At this moment, far-sighted leaders from the business world in Asia have the chance to partner with organizations tackling the region’s toughest social problems. While most people agree that education offers a pathway out of poverty, ensuring broad access to high quality education is a challenge that governments alone are unlikely to surmount. The same is true for access to health care, fresh drinking water or women’s rights.

We stand poised at a moment where unique partnerships can blast through thorny problems or entrenched dysfunction and create meaningful difference. The term partnership is key.

Too often, we who are blessed to have enough resources to share, confuse community investment with contracting: we’ll decide the exact tasks that need to be done and accept the cheapest bid. This short-sighted approach flies in the face of so many lessons learned in business success. Instead, find entrepreneurial leaders (in this case social entrepreneurs), build trust-based relationships, provide more than just cash support, listen well, adapt as the landscape changes, and help bring together other like-minded investors.

Venture philanthropy, at its core, is about the venture—and what is a successful venture if not a partnership of minds and hearts achieving success despite obstacles.I look forward to learning from other AVPN members about their successes (and failures) in building partnerships for social change. This impressive network is a testament to the generosity of spirit and commitment to results that seems to be a hallmark of philanthropy in rising Asia.

I look forward to going far, together.

– Crystal Hayling

Crystal joined the board of AVPN in September 2014. She has years of experience in the social sector and is principal of C2 Projects, consulting businesses, nonprofits, social enterprises and foundations to make philanthropic investments. She has worked with Temasek Trust in the past and has helped Fortune 500 companies develop their Asia philanthropy strategy. Crystal was formerly President and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation and has held leadership positions at several other organisations.