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Close Up Introducing Asia's Most Influential: The Impact List 2020

Introducing Asia's Most Influential: The Impact List 2020

Introducing Asia's Most Influential: The Impact List 2020
Find out who made it to our Asia's Impact List 2020
By Tatler Asia
December 11, 2020
With our December issue, Tatler introduces an ambitious new directory of the most influential individuals who are defining the future of Asia: The Impact List

While forthcoming features in 2021 will focus on style, culture and taste, we begin with a subject that is at the heart of our brand—philanthropy. Here are the most impactful philanthropists from around Asia who are making a positive change this year.

See also: Introducing Asia's Most Stylish 2020: This Year's Best-Dressed List

Angel Locsin

Photo: Mark Nicdao
Photo: Mark Nicdao

Profession: Actress

Location: Philippines

Locsin, an actress who launched a campaign to provide tents to hospitals to address overcrowding caused by Covid-19, has helped raise more than 11 million pesos, funding 225 isolation tents and 21 sanitation tents.

See also: Angel Locsin Gets Candid About Her Advocacies—Education, Female Empowerment, Indigenous Rights, And More

Myla Villanueva

Photo: Ian Santos
Photo: Ian Santos

Profession: Chairwoman of MDI Group

Location: Philippines

A pioneering force for women in technology, Myla Villanueva is the chairperson of the digital transformation company MDI Group and of Novare Technologies. MDI Novare, as it is known in tech circles, has a roster of blue-chip tech clients aiming to modernise their Big Data, Cloud and API and Security platforms. She’s also a founder of five start-up companies.

As the national chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), she is recognised for her non-profit work in securing the integrity of the Philippines’ voting process, which developed over the last decade since the introduction of automated elections. “There needed to be a new poll watchers education protocol and conversely, a primer on how to cast a vote so that every ballot is counted,” she said prior to preparations for the 2019 midterm elections.

Villanueva has widely been praised for her management skills, which have echoes in both her technology business and her work on clean and honest elections. To attract more young people, PPCRV volunteers have developed digital platforms focused on youth mobilisation and raising their political awareness. “I am so happy we had an outpouring of support from the Youth in 2019, and that we have quite a number of millennial mayors who felt that they can contribute better and participate in public service. It is, after all, their time and their future,” she said.

Ramon Ang

Photo: Jorem and Sheila Catilo
Photo: Jorem and Sheila Catilo

Profession: President and chief operating officer of San Miguel Corporation

Location: Philippines

Ramon Ang has, without a doubt, created a huge wave of impact this 2020. “We, in San Miguel, are very proud to be part of our country’s growth story. Seven months in, we continue to help,” he says. “Our businesses were also affected, but our commitment to our country and our countrymen is as strong as ever.”

As the helmsman of one of our country’s most successful businesses, Ang wields a rare and extraordinary power: he is able to create a visible impact on the macro level. The conglomerates under Ang’s leadership are credited for the super infrastructure project Skyway 3 that links the south and the north expressways. His RSA Foundation continues to provide support, including the building of a hospital and a research centre to help the country’s health care system.

In all this, Ang diverts the credit to the people and the experiences that have shaped him. “My parents instilled in me the values I continue to live by. Our late chairman, Eduardo Cojuangco Jr, also made a big impact in my life,” he says.

The death of Ang’s son earlier this year had also affected the business leader’s outlook. “In the short time that he was with us, he made a big impact on the lives of so many. We are in this world for only so long so we have to give importance to what really matters in life.”

Cherrie Atilano

Photo: Artu Nepomuceno
Photo: Artu Nepomuceno

Profession: Founder, CEO and president of Agrea Agricultural Systems International

Location: Philippines

Cherrie Atilano always follows a simple lesson her mother taught her when she was 6: “The shortest distance in life is from the brain to the heart”. By this, she wanted Atilano to not only be successful but make a difference in the lives of people.

For almost 22 years, Atilano had carried out her love for educating people through various projects in the agricultural sector because she values farmers as major contributors to the country’s economic growth. “We have been training people to read and write the most practical and sustainable ways to develop their land [and] teaching them financial literacy,” she shares.

She institutionalised this involvement by founding AGREA in 2014. A coinage of the words Agriculture and “Gaea” or environment in Greek, AGREA is a Filipino agriculture-focused, for-purpose, inclusive business that empowers farmers and their communities as impactful agents of change. Through AGREA, Cherrie aims to bring sustainable agricultural practices to farmers and provide farmers fair prices for their produce.

Her work has likewise made an impact on her life as a person and a social entrepreneur. She says, “The poorest of the poor in the farming communities are my brightest teachers; they teach me life and what matters most in life. In AGREA, our business is not transactional but transformational. We have a mantra of ‘ecology of dignity’. [We dignify] the food producers by making sure that they are educated, supported and respected.”

Recently, the AGREA Rescue Kitchen that was established during the pandemic won a grant from Food Solidarity Fund by the Social Gastronomy Movement in Brazil. Atilano was also awarded by the Cultural Vistas USA as the Most Impactful Alumni and appointed United Nations Global Champion for Food Systems Summit.

For all her work, initiatives and achievements in the agriculture sector, Atilano was recently appointed Philippine Ambassadress on Food Security by the Department of Agriculture.

Clarissa Delgado

Photo: Louie Arcilla
Photo: Louie Arcilla

Profession: Co-founder and CEO of Teach for the Philippines

Location: Philippines

“We are doing everything we can to directly ensure [that] learning continues in the Philippines,” says Clarissa Delgado, CEO and co-founder of Teach for the Philippines (TFP).

Since the pandemic broke out in the middle of March, the Filipino non-profit has been busy creating a strategy both effective and responsive to the times. Given the technological constraints of our country, that is no easy feat and Delgado, a humanitarian at heart, stands at the centre of the movement. “The organisation has been tremendously busy supporting our public-school teachers and administrators to ensure that learning continues this school year,” she says.

Through her organisation, this 2016-2017 Gen T honouree, has made an impact around the country. “Teachers everywhere are frontliners. As a community, Teach for the Philippines has directly taught almost 100,000 children nationwide over the past eight years alone and we will not let Covid-19 keep us from our vision,” she shares.

The impact she’s made doesn’t just ripple around her. The goodness that the organisation achieves goes back and inspires Delgado to further the TFP mission. “Working with the staff and participants has given me profound moments of joy and my most significant struggles to date. They have fundamentally changed me for the better,” she shares.

Illac Diaz

Photo: Artu Nepomuceno
Photo: Artu Nepomuceno

Profession: Founder of Liter of Light

Location: Philippines

Illac Diaz believes that we can make the world a better place, one litre of light at a time.

As a child, Diaz was taught by his mum that success can be measured by the impact it can make or has made on people’s lives. Though coming from an affluent Italian family, his mother always made sure that their house was open to all, that there was no barrier between their home and those around them.

Growing up, Diaz made friends with those belonging to families involved in blue-collared labour. These friends taught him the manual skills that would come in handy later in his life. “They taught me to use my hands as they helped their parents in upholstery shops, machine service shops and car repair—also giving me the confidence and love for technical work.” And he started to develop the passion to build the things that would bring aid to hundreds and thousands of families across the world.

In 2011, Diaz launched his Liter of Light project. What started as a local initiative turned into a global campaign that aims to bring light into the homes of disadvantaged families in more than 30 countries. He did not stop at lighting homes but went on to encourage and mobilise the youth to “invest time and courage [in] making the world a little bit more equitable and a better place for all of us to live in”.

Diaz continues to encourage everyone, including friends and influencers, to make a change even in the midst of a global pandemic. One of his suggestions is to build solar lights by hand, like what he has made in the villages. While watching the movie Pay It Forward, Diaz was inspired to launch his Light It Forward campaign to engage people to make a difference in solving energy poverty from the safety of their homes. To this day, more than 400 celebrities, around 1,500 doctors and school children have contributed to Light It Forward. The goal? To make 3,000 solar lights before Christmas.

Anna Oposa

Photo: Artu Nepomuceno
Photo: Artu Nepomuceno

Profession: Founder of Save Philippine Seas

Location: Philippines

Mermaids are real and they’re here to save the Philippine seas—and Anna Oposa is one of them. As the co-founder and Chief Mermaid of Save Philippine Seas, Oposa is dedicated to conserving the country’s marine resources through education and various community-based projects.

Oposa has founded other leadership programmes and served different organisations that help preserve environmental resources. Her passion and dedication have been growing as her inspiration is right in front of her. “The youth leaders and community champions [whom I’ve had the privilege to work with] continue to inspire me, make me laugh, sometimes cry and give me hope,” she says.

Hope, in fact, has greatly helped lead her towards the many achievements of the programmes she has participated in. One of which is the training of nearly 300 youth leaders by the SEA Camp in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia. Oposa is hopeful that more can be achieved through existing projects by Save Philippine Seas.

Three new programmes are currently being conducted. Change the Current is a campaign dedicated to educating and encouraging seatizens (citizens), teachers and students to make a change for the sake of climate action. Another project is Earthucation which is a programme created to help the educators of the Philippines improve their capacity to educate their students about the environment. Lastly, the Haquathon and Marine Accelerator Program are programmes for the new leaders in the region to help develop projects that bring awareness to marine conservation issues.

Enrique K Razon Jr

Profession: Chairman of International Container Terminal Services and Bloomberry Resorts

Location: Philippines

For the “Port King”, to be recognised for his philanthropic efforts is the least important, if at all. At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Razon said, “There is no thinking of whether you should help or not; we need to keep firing away to beat this thing.” He believes that more than a health crisis, the pandemic has taken its toll on the economic and social condition of most Filipinos.

Through his Bloomberry Cultural Foundation Inc (BCFI), he constructed and turned over a mega quarantine facility with 600-bed capacity to the government—the biggest Covid-19 isolation facility in Metro Manila. The foundation has also funded the retrofitting of quarantine facilities at the Rizal Memorial Complex and Ninoy Aquino Stadium, the distribution of PPEs to public hospitals and grocery packs for marginalised communities. Meanwhile, with the ICTSI Foundation, he secured the safety and financial security of his employees and continuously aided the foundation’s scholars, day-care teachers, social workers, tricycle operators’ and drivers’ associations, as well as adopted public schools and hospitals.

Also through the ICTSI Foundation, he supported government relief efforts for the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption; in the development of Aeta communities in Tarlac; in the animal conservation project in Palawan; and in combatting human trafficking among the youth, to name a few.

Hans Sy

Profession: Chairman of SM Prime Holdings and China Banking Corporation

Location: Philippines

Apart from leaving us with the country’s largest conglomerate, the late tycoon Henry Sy’s impact on his children is his heart for the Filipino people. All his children imbibed this, such as his son Hans, the scion in charge of SM Prime Holdings.

From his late father, Hans learnt the importance of fairness, integrity and hard work. From his mother, he acquired the virtues of humility and simplicity, learning as well that actions speak louder than words especially when it comes to helping others.

“I believe philanthropy, whether by an organisation or an individual, stems from having a sincere heart to do good for others, and to keep the good of others in mind,” Hans said. SM Foundation was established in 1983 by the Sy patriarch with his wife Felicidad and is committed to serve by supporting and empowering communities through education, healthcare, shelter, disaster response, farmer’s training, environmental programmes and care for persons with special needs.

Hans aligns his advocacies with sustainability and disaster resiliency, conscious of the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters. After the SM Makati fire of 1988, he became very much involved with developing several disaster-resilient features in their properties. “As we aim for better ways to serve the Filipino people, we will keep working on making sure that disaster preparedness and resiliency become part of their daily lives,” Hans said.

Dee-Anne Hora-Zobel and Mercedes Zobel

Photo: Wig Tysmans
Photo: Wig Tysmans
Photo: MJ Suayan
Photo: MJ Suayan

Profession: Zobel Foundation

Location: Philippines

Dee and her stepdaughter Mercedes, through the Enrique Zobel Foundation, enrich the lives of disadvantaged children through reforms in the public education system.

Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Fernando Zobel de Ayala

Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chairman emeritus Jaime Zobel de Ayala, and president and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala | Photography by Paco Guerrero
Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chairman emeritus Jaime Zobel de Ayala, and president and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala | Photography by Paco Guerrero

Profession: The Ayala Foundation

Location: Philippines

Brothers Jaime and Fernando are major donors to various charities and also lead The Ayala Foundation, which supports the arts, environmental initiatives and educational programmes.

 

Danny Yeung

Photo: Alex Maeland, Styling: Christie Simpson
Photo: Alex Maeland, Styling: Christie Simpson

Profession: CEO and co-founder of Prenetics

Location: Hong Kong

Yeung, co-founder and CEO of the genetic testing company Prenetics, distributes rapid coronavirus testing kits that are critical to re-establish travel and live events.

Adrian Cheng

Photo: Olivier Yoan
Photo: Olivier Yoan

Profession: Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of New World Development (NWD) and founder of the K11 Group of cultural-retail complexes

Location: Hong Kong

Cheng, executive vice chairman and CEO of New World Development and founder of the K11 group of cultural-retail complexes, produces and donates hundreds of thousands of high-quality and affordable masks as part of his Covid-19 response. He is also spearheading the transformation of the State Theatre, a historic former cinema, into a cultural hub.

See also: The Future Of Retail Is Now: Adrian Cheng And His Team Of 100 Creatives Debut K11 Musea

Jill Robinson

Photo: Alex Maeland, Styling: Christie Simpson, Hair and Make-up: Gloomy Kwok, Irene Lee at Makeupbees, Styling Assistant: Angela Leung, Outfit: Lemarie jumper available at Lane Crawford
Photo: Alex Maeland, Styling: Christie Simpson, Hair and Make-up: Gloomy Kwok, Irene Lee at Makeupbees, Styling Assistant: Angela Leung, Outfit: Lemarie jumper available at Lane Crawford

Profession: Founder and Director of Animals Asia

Location: Hong Kong

Robinson, founder and CEO of Animals Asia, fights the practice of bear bile farming and improves the welfare of animals throughout Asia.

See also: Pet Spotlight: Dr Aivee Teo, Sassa Jimenez, And Many More Talk About Their Furbabies

Alia Eyres

Photo: Alex Maeland, Styling: Christie Simpson, Hair and Make-up: Karen Yiu, Gloomy Kwok, Irene Lee at Makeupbees, Styling Assistant: Angela Leung, Outfit: Hobbs jacket (Alia Eyres)
Photo: Alex Maeland, Styling: Christie Simpson, Hair and Make-up: Karen Yiu, Gloomy Kwok, Irene Lee at Makeupbees, Styling Assistant: Angela Leung, Outfit: Hobbs jacket (Alia Eyres)

Profession: CEO of Mother's Choice

Location: Hong Kong

Eyres, CEO of Mother’s Choice, provides support to teen mothers and young children without families.

David Yeung

Photo: Alex Maeland
Photo: Alex Maeland

Profession: Founder of Green Monday and Green Common

Location: Hong Kong

Yeung, a plant-based food pioneer who is founder of Green Monday Group, makes vegan and vegetarian food accessible to people around the world.

See also: SaladStop, Corner Tree Cafe, And More: Vegan And Vegetarian Restaurants That Deliver In Metro Manila

John Wood

Photo: Alex Maeland
Photo: Alex Maeland

Profession: Founder of Room to Read

Location: Hong Kong

Wood, founder of Room to Read, focuses on improving child literacy and gender equality in education.

Jessica Tam

Photo: Alex Maeland, Styling: Christie Simpson, Hair and Make-up: Gloomy Kwok, Irene Lee at Makeupbees, Styling Assistant: Angela Leung
Photo: Alex Maeland, Styling: Christie Simpson, Hair and Make-up: Gloomy Kwok, Irene Lee at Makeupbees, Styling Assistant: Angela Leung

Profession: Head of the Social Enterprise Business Centre

Location: Hong Kong

Tam, business development manager of Social Enterprise Business Centre, Hong Kong Council of Social Service, drives social change and advocates for social innovation through fundraising efforts.

David Begbie

Photo: Alex Maeland, Styling: Christie Simpson, Grooming: Gloomy Kwok, Irene Lee at Makeupbees, Styling Assistant: Angela Leung
Photo: Alex Maeland, Styling: Christie Simpson, Grooming: Gloomy Kwok, Irene Lee at Makeupbees, Styling Assistant: Angela Leung

Profession: Co-founder of Crossroads Foundation

Location: Hong Kong

Begbie, founder of the Crossroads Foundation and director of Crossroads’ Global Village, provides humanitarian aid and relief to vulnerable individuals and families that are experiencing poverty.

Ricky Yu

Photo: Alex Maeland, Styling: Christie Simpson, Grooming: Gloomy Kwok, Irene Lee at Makeupbees, Styling Assistant: Angela Leung
Photo: Alex Maeland, Styling: Christie Simpson, Grooming: Gloomy Kwok, Irene Lee at Makeupbees, Styling Assistant: Angela Leung

Profession: Founder of Light Be

Location: Hong Kong

Yu, founder of Hong Kong’s first social housing enterprise, Light Be, aims to solve the city’s housing problem by providing social housing projects.

Christina Dean

Photo: Olivier Yoan
Photo: Olivier Yoan

Profession: Founder of Redress and The R Collective

Location: Hong Kong

Dean, founder of Redress and The R Collective, aims to reduce waste in the fashion industry and creates sustainable clothes using luxury brands’ waste materials.

Dipa Swaminathan

Photo: Darren Gabriel Leow, Styling: Joey Tan, Outfit: Erdem dress, available at Club 21
Photo: Darren Gabriel Leow, Styling: Joey Tan, Outfit: Erdem dress, available at Club 21

Profession: Founder of It's Raining Raincoats

Location: Singapore

Swaminathan, founder of It’s Raining Raincoats, helps migrant workers with legal claims, care packs and by strengthening their integration into the community.

Lee Swee Lin, Kim Lin and Suzanne Ling

Photo: Khairul Imran
Photo: Khairul Imran

Profession: Founders of PichaEats

Location: Malaysia

Lee, Lim and Ling, founders of PichaEats, help refugees become financially independent by training them to become chefs.

Wang Canfa

Photo: hicago Tribune/Getty Images
Photo: hicago Tribune/Getty Images

Profession: Environmental lawyer and director of the Centre for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims

Location: China

Wang, a professor who founded the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims, holds corporations accountable for environmental damage.

See also: Burberry Launches Reusable Face Masks

Isabel and Melati Wijsen

Photo: Tatler Hong Kong
Photo: Tatler Hong Kong

Profession: Founders of Bye Bye Plastic Bags

Location: Indonesia

Isabel and Melati Wijsen, founders of Bye Bye Plastic Bags, lead the fight against plastic bag use in Indonesia. They successfully lobbied their local government in Bali to ban single-use plastics, and subsequently founded Youthtopia, a platform connecting young changemakers around the world.

See also: See All Honourees On The Gen.T 2020 List

Shiori Ito

Photo: Behrouz Mehri/AFP
Photo: Behrouz Mehri/AFP

Profession: Freelance journalist and filmmaker

Location: Japan

Ito, a journalist and filmmaker, won a landmark civil case accusing a prominent reporter, who had close ties to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, of rape, making her the face of the #MeToo movement in Japan.

Ko Swe Win

Photo: Thet Htoo
Photo: Thet Htoo

Profession: Editor-in-Chief of Myanmar Now

Location: Myanmar

Swe Win, editor of Myanmar Now, provides critical in-depth reporting on human rights and social justice issues.

Mechai Viravaidya

Photo: Tatler Hong Kong
Photo: Tatler Hong Kong

Profession: Founder of The Population and Community Development Association (PDA)

Location: Thailand

Viravaidya, founder of Population and Community Development Association, is known as “Mr Condom” for his promotion of family planning programmes and advocacy for safe-sex measures.

Peter Tsai

Photo: Brianna Paciorka/USA Today Network
Photo: Brianna Paciorka/USA Today Network

Profession: Inventor and retired professor at the University of Tennessee

Location: Taiwan

Tsai, the inventor of filtering technology used in N95 masks, came out of retirement to help speed production of reusable masks for healthcare workers.

See also: Tatler Heroes: Individuals Around Asia Leading The Fight Against Covid-19

Suwanna Gauntlett

Profession: Founder and CEO of the Wildlife Alliance

Location: Cambodia

Gauntlett, founder and CEO of the Wildlife Alliance, fights for the protection of the rainforest and wildlife.

Melita Hunter

Profession: Co-founder of Song Saa Foundation

Location: Cambodia

Hunter, co-founder of the Song Saa Foundation, protects the habitat and marine life of the Koh Rong Archipelago.

Chang Sun

Profession: Founder of Black Soil Group

Location: China

Chang, founder of Black Soil Group, promotes a modern agriculture business with improved productivity by consolidating land and scaling up operations.

Charles Chen Yidan

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Profession: Co-founder of Tencent

Location: China

Chen, one of the co-founders of Tencent, whose Yidan Prize Foundation established the world’s largest education prize, provides educational innovators and pioneers with recognition and support.

See also: Behind The Scenes: Tencent Co-Founder Charles Chen Yidan's Generous Spirit

Guo Jianmei

Profession: Lawyer, author and human rights activist

Location: China

Guo, a lawyer, author and human rights activist, provides thousands of disadvantaged women in China with free legal aid and counselling. She was also awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 2019 for her pioneering work on women’s rights.

Han Hong

Profession: Singer and founder of Han Hong Love Charity Foundation

Location: China

Han, a singer and founder of the Han Hong Love Charity Foundation, focuses on relief work across China. During the pandemic, the foundation launched a fundraising initiative to donate and distribute medical resources to workers fighting the coronavirus.

Hao Jingfang

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Profession: Award-winning science fiction writer and founder of the Tonxing Academy

Location: China

Hao, an award-winning science fiction writer and founder of the Tonxing Academy, aims to provide education to children in poverty.

Hu Shuli

Profession: Founder and publisher of Caixin Media Group

Location: China

Hu, founder and publisher of Caixin Media Group and its Caijing business magazine, upholds journalistic integrity by publishing groundbreaking reports on corporate fraud and government corruption, including illegal trading practices on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the extent of the Chinese government’s cover-up of the 2003 Sars epidemic.

Li Zhizhong

Profession: Science writer and co-founder of Curekids

Location: China

Li, a science writer, uses the pen name Pineapple to create accessible materials that help demystify the topic of cancer. He is also co-founder of Curekids, a charity that provides parents with reliable information about children’s cancer treatment.

Jack Ma and Pony Ma

Profession: Founder of Alibaba Group (Jack Ma), founder, chairman and CEO of Tencent (Pony Ma)

Location: China

Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group, and Pony Ma, founder, chairman and CEO of Tencent, are central figures in the Paradise Foundation, a charity that focuses on the conservation of the natural environment.

May Mei

Profession: Founder of GoalBlue

Location: China

Mei, founder of GoalBlue, inspires long-lasting environmental change by promoting sustainable lifestyle practices.

Cao Peng

Profession: Conductor and founder of Shanghai Angels Salon

Location: China

Peng, a conductor who founded the Shanghai Angels Salon, provides free musical education to autistic children.

Qin Yuefei

Profession: Founder of Serve for China

Location: China

Qin, founder of Serve for China, alleviates poverty by sending top university graduates to work in remote villages, promoting development and social entrepreneurship.

Chung To

Profession: Former investment banker and co-founder and chairman of the Chi Heng Foundation

Location: China

To, a former investment banker and co-founder and chairman of the Chi Heng Foundation, supports the education and care of orphaned children whose parents have fallen victim to Aids. 

Wang Jiuliang

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Profession: Director

Location: China

Wang, director of Beijing Besieged by Waste (2011) and Plastic China (2016), documents unsustainable waste practices in China. His films prompted the Beijing municipal government to invest 10 billion yuan to regulate the waste disposal industry.

Wu Yuangang and Wu Yanxi

Profession: Chairman of Hangking Group (Wu Yuangang), Chairman of Green City Group (Wu Yanxi)

Location: China

Property tycoon brothers Wu Yuangang, chairman of Hanking Group, and Wu Yanxi, chairman of Green City Group, gave US$49 million to build new campuses for two high schools in their hometown of Shanwei. 

Yao Li

Profession: Founder of BN Vocational School

Location: China

Yao, founder of BN Vocational School, the first private, tuition-free vocational secondary school in Beijing, provides education for impoverished youth and migrant children.

Yao Ming

Profession: Former basketball player and founder of the Yao Ming Foundation

Location: China

Yao, the basketball player and founder of the Yao Ming Foundation, provides educational opportunities to children in the United States and China.

Eric Yuan

Profession: Founder and CEO of Zoom

Location: China

Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom, provides free videoconferencing tools to students from kindergarten through to 12th grade to continue their education while schools have been closed this year.

Zhong Nanshan

Profession: Pulmonologist, leads China's National Health Commission expert panel

Location: China

Zhong, a pulmonologist who was one of the leading medical experts during the 2003 Sars outbreak, now leads China’s National Health Commission expert panel investigating Covid-19. He was also awarded the Medal of the Republic, China’s highest state honour, this year.

Aparna Hegde

Profession: Urogynecologist, founder and managing trustee of Armman

Location: India

Hegde, a urogynecologist and founder and managing trustee of Armman, leverages technology to expand access to medical treatment for pregnant women, mothers and children.

Azim H Premji

Profession: Founder and chairman of Wipro and the Azmin Premji Foundation

Location: India

Premji, founder and chairman of Wipro and the Azim Premji Foundation, has donated US$7.6 billion to his education-centred foundations.

Urvashi Sahni

Photo: Anand Chitravanshi
Photo: Anand Chitravanshi

Profession: Women's right activist and CEO and founder of Study Hall Educational Foundation

Location: India

Sahni, a women’s rights activist and CEO and founder of Study Hall Educational Foundation, provides educational programmes to vulnerable groups like girls, disabled children and rural children.

Ratan Tata

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Profession: Chairman of Tata Trusts

Location: India

Tata, chairman of Tata Trusts, alleviates poverty by providing grants to help vulnerable groups.

Raffi Ahmad and Nagita Slavina

Profession: Entertainers

Location: Indonesia

Ahmad and Slavina, entertainers, raise funds to purchase medical equipment and supply daily-need packages to those who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus.

Veronica Colondam

Photo: Tatler Hong Kong
Photo: Tatler Hong Kong

Profession: Founder and CEO of the Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa Foundation

Location: Indonesia

Colondam, founder and CEO of the Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa Foundation, improves the welfare of underprivileged youth through education and economic access.

Rili Djohani

Profession: Co-founder and executive director of Coral Triangle Centre

Location: Indonesia

Djohani, co-founder and executive director of Coral Triangle Centre, works closely with local communities and the government to provide protection to coral reef ecosystems by promoting sustainable practices.

Hendrika Mayora Victoria Kelan

Profession: First openly transgender public officer

Location: Indonesia

Kelan, the first openly transgender public officer in Indonesia, fights for transgender rights by trying to enact more inclusive policies that will empower the community.

See also: Top Filipino LGBT Supporters That Inspire Us

Nadiem Makarim

Profession: Founder of Go-Jek

Location: Indonesia

Makarim, founder of digital payment platform Go-Jek and Indonesia’s minister of education and culture, gave up his career in start-ups to dedicate himself to public service.

Butet Manurung

Profession: Co-founder of Sokola Rimba

Location: Indonesia

Manurung, co-founder of Sokola Rimba, an alternative education system designed for indigenous people in Indonesia, teaches modern literacy skills to help them integrate smoothly into society without forgetting their roots.

Tommy Tjiptadjaja

Profession: Co-founder and CEO of Greenhope

Location: Indonesia

Tjiptadjaja, co-founder and CEO of Greenhope, a green technology company that produces biodegradable plastic, works with local and national governments to reduce plastic consumption.

Yenny Wahid

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Profession: Director of The Wahid Institute

Location: Indonesia

Wahid, director of The Wahid Institute, an Islamic research centre founded by her father, the late Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, improves welfare for those in poverty and facilitates understanding between Muslims and other religious people.

Tomy Winata

Profession: Founder of Artha Graha Peduli Foundation and Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation

Location: Indonesia

Winata, founder of Artha Graha Peduli Foundation and Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation, provides humanitarian aid to vulnerable groups in Indonesia and runs a rescue centre that aims to protect the endangered Sumatran tiger. 

Nanako Kudo

Profession: Executive director of the Social Impact Investment Foundation

Location: Japan

Kudo, executive director of the Social Impact Investment Foundation, supports sustainable development. She also convinced the Japanese government to build a department in the cabinet office to advocate for impact investing.

Syed Mokhtar Albukhary

Profession: Founder of the Albukhary Foundation

Location: Malaysia

Syed Mokhtar, founder of the Albukhary Foundation, specialises in community development and heritage preservation. The foundation donated more than RM$15 million in medical equipment to parties fighting the coronavirus.

Nisha Ayub

Profession: Transgender rights activist and co-founder of Seed Foundation and Justice for Sisters

Location: Malaysia

Nisha, a transgender rights activist and co-founder of Seed Foundation and Justice for Sisters, works to repeal laws that discriminate against transgender people.

Syed Azmi

Profession: Children's rights activist and co-founder of PuakPayong

Location: Malaysia

Syed Azmi, a children’s rights activist and co-founder of PuakPayong, provides a safe space for children, including troubled youths and unwed pregnant women.

Jeffrey Cheah

Profession: Founder and chairman of Sunway Group and founder of the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation

Location: Malaysia

Cheah, founder and chairman of Sunway Group and founder of the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, awards scholarships to disadvantaged students. In response to the pandemic, Cheah also donated RM$34 million and provided free Covid-19 tests.

Munirah Hamid

Profession: Founder of Pertiwi Soup Kitchen

Location: Malaysia

Munirah, founder of Pertiwi Soup Kitchen, provides food aid to the homeless in Kuala Lumpur.

Lee Kim Yew

Profession: Founder and chairman of Country Heights Holding

Location: Malaysia

Lee, founder and chairman of Country Heights Holding, provides humanitarian aid through the Bantu-Bantu Malaysia initiative to combat the pandemic.

John-Son Oei

Profession: Founder and CEO of Epic Collective

Location: Malaysia

Oei, founder and CEO of Epic Collective, promotes collaborative social impact initiatives. Its flagship, Epic Homes, aids Orang Asli families by helping them build homes and obtain higher-value jobs.

Samsui Said

Photo: Tatler Hong Kong
Photo: Tatler Hong Kong

Profession: Photojournalist

Location: Malaysia

Samsul, a photojournalist whose work highlights marginalised communities, raises awareness of prejudice and discrimination.

See also: Still Life: 6 Filipino Photographers Share Experiences And Realisations While In Quarantine

Francis Yeoh

Profession: Executive chairman of YTL Group and YTL Foundation

Location: Malaysia

Yeoh, executive chairman of YTL Group and YTL Foundation, champions the use of technology in education. This year the group launched Learn From Home to provide free online resources and mobile data to all students in government schools.

Nirvana Chaudhary

Profession: Managing director of Chaudary Group and the Chaudhary Foundation

Location: Nepal

Chaudhary, managing director of Chaudary Group and the Chaudhary Foundation, strengthens communities and improves livelihoods. The organisation focuses on education, economic empowerment and healthcare.

See also: How Binod Chaudhary Became Nepal's Only Billionaire

Kalsoom Lakhani

Profession: Co-founder and chief executive director of Invest2Innovate

Location: Pakistan

Lakhani, co-founder and chief executive director of Invest2Innovate, helps match investors with social entrepreneurs who aim to help low-income communities and alleviate poverty.

Christine Amour-Levar

Photo: Darren Gabriel Leow
Photo: Darren Gabriel Leow

Profession: Founder of Women on a Mission and HER Planet Earth

Location: Singapore

Amour-Levar, founder of Women on a Mission and HER Planet Earth, leads all-female teams on expeditions to empower women who have experienced violence or abuse, or have been affected by climate change

Goh Wei Leong

Profession: Doctor and chairman of HealthServe

Location: Singapore

Goh, a doctor and chairman of HealthServe, provides migrant workers with affordable healthcare, counselling and social assistance.

Hsieh Fu Hua

Profession: Chairman of ACR Capital Holdings and founder of BinjaiTree

Location: Singapore

Hsieh, chairman of ACR Capital Holdings and founder of BinjaiTree, helps local charities and social enterprises, focusing on issues of mental health and the development of the arts and social services.

Koh Choon Hui

Profession: Chairman of Singapore Children's Society and Singapore's Pools

Location: Singapore

Koh, chairman of Singapore Children’s Society and Singapore Pools, protects children’s welfare by providing homes, workshops, counselling and educational services.

Melissa Kwee

Photo: Tatler Hong Kong
Photo: Tatler Hong Kong

Profession: CEO of National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre

Location: Singapore

Kwee, CEO of National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, facilitates partnerships in Singapore with a vision to build a City of Good.

Nizar Mohamed Shariff

Photo: Darren Gabriel Leow
Photo: Darren Gabriel Leow

Profession: Founder of Free Food for All

Location: Singapore

Nizar, founder of Free Food for All, provides halal food to vulnerable groups like the elderly, migrant workers, disabled and impoverished.

Jack Sim

Profession: Founder of the World Toiler Organisation

Location: Singapore

Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organisation, raises the standards of public restrooms and promotes proper sanitation.

Kim Tan

Profession: Co-founder of Transformational Business Network

Location: Singapore

Tan, co-founder of Transformational Business Network, connects entrepreneurs with investors to create impactful businesses.

Danny Yong

Profession: Chief investment officer and founding partner of Dymon Asia Capital, chairman and co-founder of The Majurity Trust, and founder of Yong Hon Kong Foundation 

Location: Singapore

Yong, chief investment officer and founding partner of Dymon Asia Capital, chairman and co-founder of The Majurity Trust, and founder of Yong Hon Kong Foundation, connects donors and charities. He is also the founding donor of the Sustain the Arts Fund.

Kyung-sun Chung

Profession: Founder and CEO of Root Impact

Location: South Korea

Chung, founder and CEO of Root Impact, invests in social enterprises and supports entrepreneurs who create solutions for social issues.

Hyun-joo Je

Profession: CEO and managing director of Yellowdog

Location: South Korea

Je, CEO and managing director of Yellowdog, a venture capital firm, invests in start-ups that address social problems including discrimination, climate change and education.

Jung Eun-kyeong

Profession: Doctor and the first female commissioner of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency

Location: South Korea

Jung, a doctor who is the first female commissioner of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, leads South Korea’s antivirus efforts.

Suh Kyung-bae

Profession: Chairman and CEO of Amorepacific Group and founder of The Suh Kyung-bae Science Foundation

Location: South Korea

Suh, chairman and CEO of Amorepacific Group and founder of The Suh Kyungbae Science Foundation, annually gives financial support to the research of five biotechnology scientists, such as developing models of the human alveoli that are used to study respiratory viruses.

Sophie Chang

Profession: Chairwoman of the charity foundation of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing

Location: Taiwan

Chang, an artist who is chairwoman of the charity foundation of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, promotes women’s and children’s rights, education, environmental protection and corporate social responsibility.

Chi Chia-wei

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Profession: Civil rights activist

Location: Taiwan

Chi, a civil rights activist, championed a successful campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in Taiwan in 2019.

See also: Tim Yap And Javi Martinez On Love, Marriage, Pride, And Overcoming Challenges
 

Tina Lai

Profession: Lawyer and advocate for women's rights

Location: Taiwan

Lai, a lawyer and advocate for women’s rights, focuses on cases involving domestic or sexual abuse.

See also: Powerful Quotes From 10 Female Leaders And Pioneers

Lee Yung-feng

Profession: Founder of Paper Windmill Culture Foundation theatre group

Location: Taiwan

Lee, founder of Paper Windmill Culture Foundation theatre group, provides free performances for children in rural communities.

Sunny Yi-han Lin

Profession: Founder of Social Enterprise Insights

Location: Taiwan

Lin, founder of Social Enterprise Insights, provides information about social innovation, entrepreneurs and businesses.

An-ting Liu

Profession: Founder of Teach for Taiwan

Location: Taiwan

Liu, founder of Teach for Taiwan, places skilled teachers in remote communities.

Horace Luke

Profession: Co-founder and CEO of Gogoro

Location: Taiwan

Luke, co-founder and CEO of Gogoro, makes electric scooters that embrace green technology.

Tzu-hsien Tung

Profession: Co-founder of ASUS and president of Pegatron

Location: Taiwan

Tung, co-founder of ASUS and president of Pegatron, helps farmers and supports disadvantaged communities.

Benson Ping-Cheng Yeh

Profession: Professor at National Taiwan University and co-founder of PaGamO

Location: Taiwan

Yeh, a professor at the National Taiwan University, is co-founder of PaGamO, a multi-student social gaming platform that incentivises learning and provides insight into students’ abilities.

Nalutporn Krairiksh

Profession: Journalist and founder of ThisAble.me

Location: Thailand

Krairiksh, a journalist and founder of ThisAble.me, focuses on human news stories about disabled people and their rights in Thailand.

Angkhana Neelapaijit

Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP
Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Profession: Human rights activist

Location: Thailand

Neelapaijit, a human rights activist and the wife of human rights lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit who was dragged from his car and disappeared in 2004, demands accountability by exposing abuses by police and government.

Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao

Profession: CEO of Vietjet Air and founder of Wings of Love

Location: Vietnam

Nguyen, CEO of Vietjet Air and founder of Wings of Love, is Vietnam’s first self-made female billionaire and provides scholarships and clothing to underprivileged children.

Pham Nhat Vuong

Profession: Chairman of Vingroup and founder of Kind Heart Foundation

Location: Vietnam

Pham, chairman of Vingroup and founder of Kind Heart Foundation, provides housing, education, healthcare and other aid to the poor.

Hall of Fame

Ronnie Chan

Photo: Until Chan
Photo: Until Chan

Profession: Chairman of Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society, co-chair of Asia Society and co-founder of Morningside Foundation

Location: Hong Kong

Chan, a co-chairman of Asia Society, promotes partnerships between people and businesses in Asia and the US. He is also co-founder of the Morningside Foundation which donated US$350 million to Harvard University.

See also: How Ronnie Chan And Ruth Shapiro Are Promoting Excellence In Asian Philanthropy

Linda Agum Gumelar

Profession: Founder of Yayasan Kanker Payudara

Location: Indonesia

Gumelar, a breast cancer survivor and founder of Yayasan Kanker Payudara Indonesia, works with the government to offer free mammograms and promote breast cancer counselling services.

Koh Seow Chuan

Profession: Art collector and philatelist

Location: Singapore

Koh, an art collector and philatelist, donates thousands of historical artefacts and artworks to the Singapore Art Museum, Singapore Philatelic Museum and National Library Board.

See also: 50 Biggest Art Collectors In Asia

Robert Kuok

Profession: Founder and chairman of Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts and the Kuok Foundation

Location: Malaysia

Kuok, founder and chairman of Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts and the Kuok Foundation, offers scholarships and loans, provides aid to the poor and supports hospitals and medical institutions.

Li Ka-shing

Photo: Bloomberg/Getty
Photo: Bloomberg/Getty

Profession: Founder of Li Ka-shing Foundation

Location: Hong Kong

Li, founder of the Li Ka-shing Foundation, has pledged to donate one-third of his assets to charity and has called on other entrepreneurs in Asia to do the same. His foundation promotes positive and sustainable change through educational reform, medical research and aid.

See also: What You Need To Know About The Li Ka Shing Foundation

Laurence Lien

Photo: Darren Gabriel Leow
Photo: Darren Gabriel Leow

Profession: Co-founder and CEO of Asia Philanthropy Circle and chairman of the Lien Foundation

Location: Singapore

Lien, co-founder and CEO of Asia Philanthropy Circle and chairman of the Lien Foundation, encourages entrepreneurs to engage in philanthropy by building a membership platform to support collaborative efforts to tackle social issues and challenges.

See also: 50 Philanthropists In Asia Who Are Changing The World

Victor Lo

Photo: South China Morning Post/Getty Images
Photo: South China Morning Post/Getty Images

Profession: Director of Hong Kong Design Centre and PMQ Management Company, Chairman of the M+ Board

Location: Hong Kong

Lo, director of Hong Kong Design Centre and PMQ Management Company, and chairman of M+ under the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, promotes development and design in Hong Kong.

Anita Ratnasari Tanjung

Profession: Co-founder of the CT ARSA Foundation

Location: Indonesia

Tanjung, co-founder of the CT ARSA Foundation, offers educational opportunities to children from marginalised communities. Since the 2004 tsunami, the organisation has established 35 high schools across Indonesia that offer students free facilities and living expenses.

Joseph and Clara Tsai

Profession: Co-founder and executive vice-chairman of Alibaba Group (Joseph), founder of The Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation (Joseph and Clara)

Location: Taiwan

Joseph Tsai, co-founder and executive vice-chairman of Alibaba Group, and his wife Clara, together founders of The Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation, have donated US$2.6 million in medical supplies to hospitals in the US, and also pledged US$50 million to social justice and economic equality initiatives for people of colour.


The 2020 Impact List was created by Tatler editors along with a committee of experts on philanthropy, including Ronald Arculli, the former chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, former chairman of Hong Kong Jockey Club and vice-chairman of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority; Ruth Shapiro, co-founder and CEO of the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society; Jean Sung, the head of The Philanthropy Centre, JP Morgan Private Bank; and Kevin Tan, founder and CEO of Tri-Sector Associates.


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