Our Approach

Catalytic Philanthropy

From that very first library in Qidong to today, we have been on a journey of learning, building domain expertise, providing funding and putting up the risk capital for the causes we care about.

This is an approach known as ‘catalytic philanthropy’, risk-taking and investing in challenging issues – in taking moon-shots. It strives to match the real money to real purpose, and in doing so, drive real change.

True catalytic philanthropy is similar to any form of business investment and involves putting in loss-absorbing capital, expertise and a deep understanding of issues to bring about long-term change. It is about investing time, drawing on expertise and aligning your investment with your values. It is also about prevention, not response.

This approach also means that we are willing to take calculated risks. As a philanthropic foundation, we are in the unique position to be able to privatise failure and socialise success. We can invest in unconventional ideas around a societal challenge issue with loss absorbing capital, where institutional investors like governments and corporates cannot.

And we have seen is that it works. An audacious approach which creates lasting change in the communities you are supporting, rather than short-term fixes. It allows us as a Foundation to build domain expertise in these fields, which in turn enables us to take transferable lessons from one project to the next.