For our 12th annual philanthropy roundup we’ve sifted through dozens of candidates to compile a list of altruists attracted to causes in the Asia-Pacific region.
The 40-member honor roll spans entrepreneurs, executives and one celebrity, and unlike our wealth lists, these selections are subjective. The goal is to capture individual philanthropists–those making donations with personal funds and not through their businesses (unless they own a substantial stake in the companies, in which case we consider the giving a part of their fortune). We also don’t include fundraisers or heads of nonprofits, though they play an important role. Forbes Asia zooms in on names with the financial or social capital to put their stamp on issues of importance.
Countries such as China and India traditionally have more names than one like Japan, where cultural sensitivities on celebrating individual generosity can limit our scope. As in previous years, we aim to unearth new names, unless a past donor has made a significant pledge or contribution.
Some people have been fervent in the arts, while many others are committed to efforts in education and healthcare across the region. Indian tycoon Kochouseph Chittilappilly gave not only his time and money but donated one of his kidneys to a total stranger. See our story on him here. For the first time, a philanthropist from Cambodia makes the list: Suwanna Gauntlett, an American residing there for 18 years, has dedicated herself to guarding rain forests and wildlife in the country.