We support work that addresses the root causes of problems affecting communities in Southeast Asia.
We do this through:
Partnership funding work;
By developing direct initiatives, but only in contexts and geographies we know particularly well and where gaps exist that we can play a role in addressing;
Connecting with others, openly sharing our learning, and highlighting useful research.
The problems we seek to address are almost inevitably complex and multi-faceted and, in our opinion, they can’t be solved with single interventions focusing on a single issue in isolation. This is something we have learned first-hand over the years by running social programs in Southeast Asia.
We believe that to be successful in addressing problems faced by the communities we work for, the following elements are required:
Deep and direct knowledge of the problem and of the local context;
Explicit commitment to work with the community and all relevant stakeholders rather than in isolation;
Multi-faced interventions that are not limited to the direct provision of single services.
These elements are fundamental across all aspects of what we do - whether in the approach of the partners we fund, or in initiatives that we develop, in partnership with others.
PARTNERSHIP FUNDING - FIRETREE PHILANTHROPY
This is the core of our work. We provide multi-year, unrestricted support to social purpose organizations that share our values and approach.
We see the role of our philanthropy program as working to fund and support partners that are designing collaborative programmes / interventions with community members that work with a range of stakeholders, build upon community assets and work together to address needs holistically.
While we support programs in Thailand, Hong Kong, Cambodia and Nepal as well as in the Philippines, we have made – for the time being at least - the explicit choice to strongly focus upon organizations working in Tondo and Metro Manila in particular. Learn more about Firetree Philanthropy.
There are special situations when we operate in contexts with which we have a particular connection - and applicable direct knowledge of the problem. That’s when we consider developing our own social programs to support long-term positive change by employing leaders who embody our values and are committed to tackling a social issue, be that the quality of education in Thailand through Starfish Education or the access to social services, protection, education and safe employment in Tondo, Manila through our Tondo Community Initiative.
In both cases there were clear gaps not currently being addressed for which we felt we could play a direct role in building a viable and long-term solution. In both cases we also decided that we would be able to work collaboratively with a wide range of community partners to co-design the program.
Our Initiatives operate as autonomous organizations – with their own management and governance structures - that receive strategic as well as financial support by Firetree.
CONNECTING AND SHARING RELEVANT LEARNINGS
We intend to constantly and openly share what we are learning and facilitate connections for and between our partners, as much as possible, and with the work of our initiatives.
In collaboration with one of our closest partners, Stairway Foundation, we are designing a building in Makati, Manila. This will function as a collaborative space and community that facilitates new types of connection, and sharing, learning and cooperation between different organisations working with / for young people in the Philippines. The long-term aim is to further strengthen their impact and the ecosystem that supports youth-focused organisations. Learn more about this project.
Our initiatives share the same overall approach of Firetree and include a strong component of connecting and sharing learnings and expertise with all stakeholders. Starfish Education has in fact developed Starfish Labz, Thailand's first online learning platform for educators. It is designed as a digital community for teachers and parents to learn, connect and share innovative resources that provide children with the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century. Content includes online courses, assessment tools and video resources that have been created and tested by institutions, organizations, educators and parents.