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Syndicating for good

Members of the Malaysia Collective Impact Initiative, a collaboration of philanthropic foundations, talk about why working in groups makes sense.
Friday, November 27, 2015 - 05:50
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In a collective impact initiative, all parties involved must put aside personal or institutional priorities and commit to a common agenda, says Credit Suisse's Manuel Rybach.

IN October last year, a group of corporate foundations and non-profit organisations in Malaysia decided to pool their resources to tackle problems in the country's education sector. The organisation they set up is known as the Malaysia Collective Impact Initiative (MCII).

While more common in the West, the idea of collaboration among different philanthropic foundations to make a "collective impact" is starting to take root in Asia. By leveraging the participation of business, government, NGOs, academia and the private sector, these partnerships fund and drive programmes that create lasting social impact and address systemic social challenges in a scalable and sustainable manner.

Credit Suisse was the catalyst in getting MCII off the ground. Tapping its CSR (corporate social responsibility) connections and some of its client foundation networks, it, together with Hong Leong Foundation of Malaysia, convened a forum and brought together other like-minded funders who were interested in increasing the impact and scale of their giving through a collective model.

"The first and most important building block for a collective impact initiative is for all parties involved to agree on a common vision and agenda. They all need to be clear on exactly what they want to achieve with the partnership and what issue they are trying to solve," said Manuel Rybach, Global Head of Corporate Citizenship and Foundations, Credit Suisse. "This requires all parties to put aside their specific personal or institutional priorities and commit to a common agenda."

This groundbreaking initiative was discussed by a panel at the Credit Suisse Philanthropists Forum 2015 last week. The parties in the MCII include Credit Suisse, Hong Leong Foundation, YTL Foundation, Hap Seng Consolidated, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the British Council, IOI Group, Prudential, Westports, Yayasan Siti Sapura and Petrosains.

The organisation also receives matching funding and support from Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) and assistance from Tandemic in applying the collective impact model.

Credit Suisse is now working with foundations in Hong Kong to form a similar collective impact organisation.