who we are

A Capacity-Building Provider for Sustainable Rural Community Development in Bali

The Balinese culture is renowned for its adept and beautiful art, rich philosophical wisdom, and elaborate religious traditions. In an age of rampant consumerism and mass tourism to the island, the global community risks losing access to a longstanding culture that has much to offer the world.

In 1971, only 9.8% of Bali’s population resided in urban areas. Just 40 years later, this percentage rose to a staggering 60.2%. Every year, thousands of individuals from Bali’s rural village communities migrate to urban touristy areas to work in hotels and restaurants, draining the villages of the human capital needed to sustain the culture and environmental beauty of the island as a whole. Meanwhile, villages rapidly become absorbed into expanding urbanized areas as mass tourism quickly spreads through investment in real estate and tourism in Bali. Today, Bali is at a precarious tipping point. Five Pillar Foundation works with rural village youth and communities to develop new economic opportunities that protect and preserve local communities and their resources through capacity-building and other community development initiatives.


— Our Vision

Strong, educated, and self-sufficient communities protecting and preserving environment & culture

— Our Mission

To develop the full potential of village communities through the full recognition and utilization of available community assets.
To develop sustainable economic opportunities for local communities through local and global partnerships.

— Our Story

Five Pillar Foundation was co-founded by local Balinese hero I Putu Wiraguna (“Wira”) and leadership scholar and educator Dr. Alan James Yu in 2014. At the time, Alan was working on his dissertation, interviewing individuals from various walks of life to better understand the cultural mindset of Balinese leaders on the island. While listening to the stories of artists, farmers, NGO founders, social entrepreneurs, and leaders in the educational and tourism sectors, they came to understand the various problems Bali is currently experiencing—commercialization and the spread of tourism, environmental degradation, and the loss of culture and identity. Of particular concern to both Alan and Wira was the migration of youth away from rural villages to urban touristy areas to seek work in hotels and restaurants. Alan and Wira understood that, without sufficient youth living in rural areas to take care of their lands and traditions, the culture and natural environment cannot withstand the pressures of increased urbanization and tourism. Understanding that local youth needed income but did not necessarily want to leave their families and village communities, Five Pillar Foundation was started by Alan and Wira to motivate rural Balinese youth and communities to create new economic opportunities in their villages. 


An Assets-Based Approach to Community Development

The Five Pillars represent an integrated approach to community development focused on the development of economic, social, natural, human, and cultural capital.

We believe economic development and education combined with a strong sense of communal belonging will empower and position rural village communities to protect and preserve their culture, environment, and communities.

Our community development programs take environment and local culture into consideration. We aims to develop local communities across Bali while preserving the nature, the unique culture each communities have, and the sustainable, traditional way of life.


I Putu Wiraguna

Wira is a young Balinese community leader, social innovator, and social entrepreneur. He has a strong passion to share Balinese culture with the world and works with youth from remote villages in West Bali to help them develop skills so that that they can create new opportunities in rural areas and work with their communities to protect their environment and cultural traditions. As Co-founder of Five Pillar Foundation, Wira has developed Five Pillar’s integrated assets-based approach  to community development and actively involves himself in understanding the needs and challenges of local rural communities. He is currently involved in working with rural communities to create community-based tourism experiences that raise awareness of the importance of the role that rural communities play in protecting nature and culture here in Bali.

Alan J. Yu Ph. D​

Alan is an American leadership development specialist, organizational and personal development consultant, educator, and concerned global citizen based out of Southeast Asia. He thrives in enabling individuals and communities to come together to unleash new imaginative possibilities addressing commonly held concerns. As a co-founder of Five Pillar Foundation, Alan develops educational experiences emphasizing leadership, intercultural dialogue, and service learning for both international visitors and the local community. Alan earned his doctorate in Leadership Studies in 2015 from University of San Diego’s School of Leadership & Education Sciences, where he concentrated his studies in adult learning and leadership education.  He has completed He is a member of the International Leadership Association, Singapore Training and Development Association (STADA), World Café community. He is graduate of the Designing for Social Innovation and Leadership global certificate program.