We’ve all seen our favourite celebrities reported on the news for doing philanthropic work or charity. Each of them is using their platform of fame to do something for the greater good... To give something back and make an impact on society worldwide.
Their movements to support various causes has created a ripple effect all over the world. A lot of people have contributed their part to the society on humanitarian work, even though they don’t get the exposure like those celebrities.
Forbes Asia zooms in on names with the financial or social capital to put their stamp on issues of importance. Let’s show our appreciation to some of these Southeast Asia’s heroes of philanthropy!
1. Suwanna Gauntlett — Cambodia
One of Asia's most ardent environmental and animal-welfare advocates, Suwanna Gauntlett, has founded a series of conservation groups to protecting vital habitats around the globe. Having resided in Cambodia for 18 years, she formed Wildlife Alliance to combat rampant land clearing and animal poaching. Gauntlett has spent $30 million to finance the Wildlife Alliance, which oversees conservation in Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains. "It's one of the most important areas of biodiversity in the region," she notes.
2. Eddy Sariaatmadja — Indonesia
Encouraged by their personal experience at Royal Perth Hospital, the 65-year-old co-founder of Elang Mahkota Teknologi (Emtek) and his wife donated a medical scanner to the hospital. The O-Arm Scanner, which costs more than $820,000, allows surgeons to scan patients during surgery and provides detailed 360-degree images. He also made donations for liver transplant patients in Indonesia and paediatricians from the University of Indonesia obtaining their doctoral degrees. He was a benefactor of state-owned eye hospital RSCM Kirana; RSCM and his Alfa Omega Foundation provide free cataract surgeries for 100 patients per month.
3. G. Gnanalingam — Malaysia
The 74-year-old chairman & co-founder of Westports Holdings set up the Indus Education Foundation (IEF) in 2014 with $6 million pledged over five years to support higher education of underprivileged Malaysian Indian students. The foundation provides aid in the form of loans, fellowships, scholarships and awards, usually covering all or part of tuition. Since its inception, IEF has provided "interest-free" financial support worth $3 million to 496 students from middle- and low-income families. Gnanalingam also donated $2 million to The Community Chest, a charity foundation set up by Malaysian tycoons in 2011 to donate at least $24 million yearly to Chinese, Tamil and missionary schools.
4. Triana Liang & Edmund Lin — Singapore
To mark their 20th wedding anniversary, Triana Liang & Edmund Lin set up the Lin Foundation Asia in 2016. Since then, the powerhouse couple have donated about $350,000 toward various causes, including education for women and children, gender equality, animal welfare and the arts. Both of them are active volunteers going back to their school days at elder homes and children's charities. Trina is a board member of the Singapore Committee for UN Women, promoting empowerment.
5. Alice Galang Eduardo — Philippines
After visiting an employee's sick child at a public hospital, Eduardo decided that charity could not wait. In 2014, she donated $277,000 to build a 320-square-meter isolation ward at the Philippines' biggest government hospital, with aim to reduce childhood cancer mortality levels. In 2018, she provided $370,000 to build a nearby dormitory to house patients' families. Another $370,000 helped initial funding for Tuloy Foundation, a nonprofit in the Philippines, which cares for and educates abandoned children. She also contributed $185,000 to build 100 homes for Typhoon Yolanda victims and provided $184,000 to Habitat for Humanity.
6. Malee Tangsin — Thailand
On a visit to a temple in central Thailand in the early 1980s, China-born Malee Tangsin and her late husband, Archin, were asked by the abbot if they could help several poor boys. The boys were living at the temple while attending junior high school but had no means to continue on to senior high school. Malee and the family foundation have spent about $2 million in support of 450 boys while they attended high school in Bangkok. After high school graduation, most of the boys go on to university or technical college.
7. Dominic Scriven — Vietnam
Having lived in Vietnam for two decades, the 55-year-old U.K. born executive chairman of Dragon Capital founded Wildlife At Risk in 2003. The non-government organization has spent nearly $3.5 million to educate local communities in Vietnam on eliminating illegal trade of wildlife and conserving natural resources. Wildlife At Risk has helped release 6,500 animals back to nature. His Dragon Capital is one of the oldest capital management firms in Vietnam, currently managing funds with more than $3 billion in net asset value.