Key Points

Amid the rapid development of philanthropy across Asia, over the past 10 years a number of giving circles have appeared in the region.

This form of philanthropy, where individuals pool resources and provide grants to nonprofit organizations in their community, is well known and studied in the U.S. This article examines the phenomenon in Asia, and finds giving circles there to be either indigenous or based on models transplanted from the United States or Europe.

While ancient traditions of charitable giving have existed for centuries in Asia, the concept of organized philanthropy in order to effect specific societal benefit is relatively novel, but developing rapidly in several countries. While giving circles are likely to grow in number there, the region’s relatively weak philanthropy ecosystem is a factor restraining their development.

Open Access