Interview: Shahira Ahmed Bazari of Yayasan Hasanah

Since 2021, Yayasan Hasanah, host and partner of this year’s AVPN Global Conference in Kuala Lumpur, has been working to redefine the concept of philanthropy in Malaysia. Hasanah trustee and managing director, Dato’ Shahira Ahmed Bazari sat down with Andrew Milner at the conference to talk about the rationale for this and how she sees the organisation developing over the next few years.

Andrew Miller: Could you start by telling us how Yayasan Hasanah came about and why?

Shahira Ahmed Bazari: Yayasan means foundation and Hasanah means doing good. We are the foundation of the sovereign wealth fund of Malaysia, which is Khazanah Nasional. The foundation was set up in 2015 by Khazanah. Prior to that, Khazanah was doing corporate social responsibility and they wanted to streamline and institutionalise their corporate giving. They are value creation, we are value distribution, is one way of looking at it. We were given a three billion ringgit endowment ($662.7 million at the time of writing) by Khazanah and, eight years on, we’ve supported 600-plus projects across the country. We work with civil society organisations and social enterprises in five areas of work: education, community development, environmental sustainability, arts and cultural heritage. The fifth pillar is basically research and we have the Khazanah Research Institute that provides a lot of the evidence base that we need to do our work in each of those verticals.

Why did you choose those areas?

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