• The contribution of giving circle members was important for us by building relationships with important people and government officers, it helped out advocacy and networking efforts become visible.

    Suman Dasgupta Muktangan
    An NGO supported by the Dasra Giving Circles, India

  • We got the chance to interact with other donors and discuss issues in a group, as opposed to doing it alone.

    Luis Miranda
    Luis is a private equity partners.
    He and his wife are members of Dasra Giving Circles, India

  • We felt that joining a giving circle gave us the opportunity to participate in a bigger project without shouldering all the day-to-day management support, and like the club deals we do commercially, the circle helped us build relationships with other funders.

    Susanne Grossmann
    Dalyan Foundation, Switzerland, a member of Dasra Giving Circles, India

  • When New Day Asia (giving circle) members visited our offices in Phnom Penh it was an opportunity to communicate face-to-face about the project's successes and challenges. They asked questions and provided insightful inputs to help me better execute our operations.

    Seila Samleang
    APLE Executive Director Cambodia

  • The young generation in Japan realised they could no longer bask in the promise of economic growth and job security after the downturn — many shifted their life goals towards making contributions to the society.

    Ken Ito
    Member of Social Ventures Partners Tokyo

  • The concept of venture philanthropy is interesting to many business people, who have been chequebook philanthropists but want to be more involved in giving, who want to know how their gifts are spent.

    Akila Krishankumar
    Chair of Bangalore Chapter of SVP India

  • Opportunity to get involved with non-profits in a much more meaningful way, way beyond writing a cheque and not knowing what happened to the money.

    Catherina Toh
    Member of SVP Melbourne

  • A great way to make significant contributions to the community, increase public awareness of local issues and organisations, and inspire philanthropic giving in Fremantle through an exciting new format.

    Dylan Smith
    CEO of Fremantle Foundation, partner of Impact 100 Freemantle

I was motivated to launch this website after researching giving circles at NUS Business School in Singapore. During the studies I realised that, although giving circles were relatively new in Asia, their number was growing. The research suggested that giving circles are an important innovation in Asian philanthropy at a time when more people want their giving to be strategic and have the maximum social impact.

The studies gave me an opportunity to interview people across Asia who had set up giving circles, some of which were linked to networks in the U.S. or Europe. I was struck that many of these individuals were unaware of similar initiatives in the same or other countries, and often seemed to be needlessly ‘reinventing the wheel’.

The purpose of this website is to put as much information as possible on giving circles in Asia into one place, primarily for people interested in joining or starting a giving circle. It will also help members of this scattered community of giving circles connect with one another for mutual learning and collaboration. We believe that many giving circles are very informal or private, and have no public profile.

I am very grateful that this project is made possible by a generous donation from a Nehemiah Foundation in Singapore. While this website builds on work carried out at NUS Business School, it is an independent initiative and not connected in any formal way with the university. I am very pleased to be joined by Ms Pauline Tan as our Project Associate. Pauline brings a wealth of research and personal experience in philanthropy and social enterprise.



Rob John
Project Director


Rob John

Rob John is Visiting Senior Fellow at the Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy, NUS Business School, Singapore and an independent consultant specializing in entrepreneurial social finance and social entrepreneurship.

Rob trained as an organic chemist, receiving his PhD from Oxford University.

Following a career spanning 15 years in international development, Rob directed an Oxford-based venture philanthropy fund, which had seed-funded many successful non-profits, including Oxfam and Action Aid.

In 2005 he was appointed Visiting Fellow at the newly established Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Said Business School in Oxford, studying the development of venture philanthropy in Europe. He was founding executive director of the European Venture Philanthropy Association and the European Venture Philanthropy Fund. In 2010 he co-founded the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), based in Singapore, to build a community of venture philanthropy funds serving Asia’s social entrepreneurs.

Rob was appointed a visiting fellow at NUS Business School in 2011, where his research interests include innovation in philanthropy. He is currently a global advisor to Social Ventures Hong Kong and an advisory board member of The Conference Board.

Pauline Tan

is an independent consultant. Her research interests are impact evaluation, financial inclusion, poverty alleviation, social entrepreneurship and philanthropy. She was a research associate with the Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy, NUS Business School, from 2012 to 2015. She co-authored papers on social enterprises in Singapore as well as philanthropy in Asia. She also assisted in teaching the MBA class on Managing and Improving Performance of Social Organisations. Between 2012 and 2014, she was responsible for evaluating and shortlisting charities for the Charity Governance Award in Singapore. Prior to her experience in the socially driven sector, she had worked for over 9 years in the finance sector, specialising in emerging and frontier markets.