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Trends in Overseas Philanthropy by Chinese Foundations

Abstract

In recent years, Chinese foundations have become increasingly involved in overseas charitable activities. This paper first describes the current status of Chinese foundations’ involvement in overseas charitable activities, including the development stage, the extent of participation, and the scale and scope of donations. Next, the paper analyzes the factors that impact Chinese foundations’ overseas donations. The study finds that fund size and the secretary general’s age and gender have no significant impact on overseas donations. However, factors such as the frequency of exchanges between foundations and foreign non-governmental organizations, the number of full-time employees in the foundations, and the number of years of education of the secretary general affect the amount of foundations’ overseas donations to various extents. Finally, policy recommendations are presented to promote Chinese foundations’ overseas charitable activities.

Résumé

Depuis quelques années, les fondations chinoises participent de plus en plus à des activités de bienfaisance à l’étranger. Le présent article décrit d’abord l’état actuel de la participation des fondations chinoises auxdites activités de bienfaisance, notamment la phase de développement, l’importance de la participation et l’échelle et la portée des dons. Il analyse ensuite les facteurs qui ont une incidence sur les dons des fondations chinoises à l’étranger. L’étude démontre que la taille des fonds et l’âge et le sexe du ou de la secrétaire générale n’ont pas de répercussions de taille sur les dons faits à l’étranger. Des facteurs comme la fréquence des échanges entre les fondations et les organisations non gouvernementales (ONG) étrangères, le nombre d’employés à temps plein au service des fondations et la durée, en années, des études du ou de la secrétaire générale influencent toutefois le montant des dons des fondations à l’étranger, et ce, de diverses façons. L’article présente enfin des recommandations en matière de politique pour favoriser les activités de bienfaisance des fondations chinoises à l’étranger.

Zusammenfassung

In den vergangenen Jahren haben sich chinesische Stiftungen vermehrt an wohltätigen Aktivitäten in Übersee beteiligt. Dieser Beitrag beschreibt zunächst den aktuellen Status der Beteiligung chinesischer Stiftungen an gemeinnützigen Aktivitäten in Übersee, einschließlich der Entwicklungsphase, des Umfangs der Beteiligung und des Spendenausmaßes. Anschließend werden die Faktoren analysiert, die sich auf die seitens der chinesischen Stiftungen getätigten Spenden in Übersee auswirken. Die Studie kommt zu dem Ergebnis, dass sich die Höhe der Geldmittel und das Alter und Geschlecht des Generalsekretärs nicht bedeutend auf die Spenden in Übersee auswirken. Allerdings beeinflussen Faktoren wie die Häufigkeit der Kontakte zwischen den Stiftungen und den ausländischen Nichtregierungsorganisationen (NROs), die Zahl der Vollzeitbeschäftigten in den Stiftungen und die Bildung des Generalsekretärs die von den Stiftungen vorgenommenen Spenden in Übersee in unterschiedlichem Maße. Abschließend werden politische Empfehlungen präsentiert, um die Spendenaktivitäten in Übersee seitens chinesischer Stiftungen zu fördern.

Resumen

En los últimos años, las fundaciones chinas se han implicado cada vez más en actividades benéficas en el exterior. El presente documento describe en primer lugar la situación actual de la implicación de las fundaciones chinas en actividades benéficas en el exterior, incluidas la etapa de desarrollo, la amplitud de la participación y la escala y el alcance de las donaciones. Después, el documento analiza los factores que afectan a las donaciones en el exterior de las fundaciones chinas. El estudio encuentra que el tamaño del fondo y la edad y el género del secretario general no tienen impacto significativo en las donaciones en el exterior. Sin embargo, factores tales como la frecuencia de los intercambios entre fundaciones y organizaciones no gubernamentales extranjeras (NGO, por sus siglas en inglés), el número de empleados a tiempo completo en las fundaciones, y el número de años de educación del secretario general afectan al importe de las donaciones exteriores de las fundaciones en diversa medida. Finalmente, se presentan recomendaciones sobre la política para promover las actividades benéficas en el exterior de las fundaciones chinas.

摘要

近年来, 越来越多的中国基金会开始参与海外慈善活动。本文首先从总体上描述了中国基金会在海外开展慈善活动的基本状况, 包括基金会参与海外慈善的发展阶段, 参与的程度、捐赠的规模和捐赠的范围。其次, 文章分析了影响中国基金会海外捐赠的因素。研究发现, 基金会的资金规模、秘书长的年龄与性别对海外捐赠没有显著的影响, 而基金会与海外NGO交流的密切程度、基金会的全职工作人员数量、秘书长的教育年限等因素对基金会海外捐赠有不同程度的显著影响。最后, 文章提出了推动中国基金会在海外开展慈善活动的政策建议。

ملخص

الخيرية في الخارج، بما في ذلك مرحلة التطوير، مدى المشاركة، حجم ونطاق التبرعات. بعد ذلك، يحلل البحث العوامل التي تؤثر على تبرعات المؤسسات الصينية في الخارج. وجدت الدراسة أن حجم التمويل والعمر العام والجنس ليس لهما تأثير كبيرعلى التبرعات الخارجية. مع ذلك، فإن عوامل مثل تكرارالتبادلات بين المؤسسات والمنظمات الغير حكومية (NGOs) الأجنبية، عدد العاملين بدوام كامل في المؤسسات، عدد سنوات تعليم الأمين العام يؤثر على مبلغ تبرعات المؤسسات في الخارج بدرجات مختلفة. أخيرا”، يتم تقديم توصيات السياسات لتعزيز أنشطة المؤسسات الخيرية الصينية في الخارج.

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Notes

  1. Social organizations in China are based on membership. Examples include trade organizations and academic societies. Private non-enterprise units are not based on membership and include organizations such as non-profit schools, non-profit hospitals, and non-profit social welfare organizations. See Wang and Liu (2009).

  2. These include 73.1% of donations from enterprises and other corporate institutions, 13.75% of donations from individuals, and 13.15% from other sources (Chinese Foundation Development Report Task Force 2016).

  3. According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry received RMB 18 million in domestic and overseas donations in 1995. This figure did not include donations received by other governmental departments and local governments.

  4. The One Belt One Road Initiative is a collective term for the Silk Road Economic Zone and the twenty-first-century Maritime Silk Road. It borrowed from the idea of the ancient Silk Road in China and aims to strengthen the economic and trade cooperation and development of China and countries along the land and maritime Silk Roads. In line with the One Belt One Road Initiative, the Chinese government promotes the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and also actively encourages Chinese enterprises and NGOs to go abroad. In this context, the government began to support Chinese Foundations in participating in the implementation of foreign aid projects, providing funding and other forms of aid along the way.

  5. Prior to performing this survey, the author made a preliminary estimate of overseas donations by Chinese foundations. Based on media reports and communication with several of the foundations, the author feels that overseas donation by Chinese foundations is not active, particularly in the case of grave natural disasters abroad, in response to which the total amount of societal donation is not substantial. Therefore, the author estimates that the proportion of overseas donations by Chinese foundations is approximately 10%, while that of the 500 most-active foundations is approximately 20%.

  6. In China, the majority of foundation councils or boards of directors serve no real decision-making function. Therefore, the secretary-general often plays a critical role in foundation decision-making.

  7. “Project HOPE” is a brand name project of the CYDF, which primarily assists in the construction of HOPE elementary schools and provides “one-to-one” education funding. The World Eminence Chinese Business Association cosponsored “Into Africa Project HOPE” with the CYDF in December 2010, with the World Eminence Chinese Business Association in charge of fund-raising and the CYDF in charge of donation management and the construction of HOPE elementary schools in Africa. As of August 17, 2011, the CYDF has already received a designated donation of RMB 31.023 million from members of the World Eminence Chinese Business Association for “Into Africa Project HOPE.” In addition, pledged donations from members of the World Eminence Chinese Business Association have reached RMB 300 million. In August 2011, however, some netizens and media questioned the project in two areas. First, some expressed criticism that there were still many poor regions in China, and its basic educational system were still very backward. According to these critics, domestic problems should be the top priority for China before providing aid to Africa. Second, some people questioned whether the World Eminence Chinese Business Association was using the charity brand name of the CYDF to gain unfair commercial advantages. Xingyu Lu, who is the daughter of the person in charge of the World Eminence Chinese Business Association, took over “Into Africa Project HOPE” in a high-profile role, and she became one of the protagonists in this incident. Therefore, the incident is referred to as the “Lu Meimei incident” (Wang 2012).

  8. Another dependent variable this paper initially planned to select was whether the foundation has overseas projects. However, in the 82 collected questionnaires, only a few foundations had overseas projects, and the number was too small to be analyzed. Thus, this dependent variable was omitted.

  9. Due to large differences among the various foundations, the logarithm of founding fund size was used in the logistic regression analysis.

  10. According to the Regulations for the Management of Foundations, the annual charitable expenses of public foundations cannot be less than 70% of the previous year’s total annual income, and the annual charitable expenses of non-public foundations cannot be less than 8% of the previous year’s fund balance.

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Correspondence to Guosheng Deng.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Appendix: List of Interviews

Appendix: List of Interviews

Name Positions of NGO representative Date of interview
Liu, Y. Secretary General, Chengmei Charity Foundation, September 19, 2014
Wu, P. Director of International Department, CFPA, August 10, 2013
Yang, P. Director of Overseas Cooperation Center, CYDF March 22, 2013
Yan, Sh. Vice Minister of Africa Department, CYDF March 22, 2013

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Deng, G. Trends in Overseas Philanthropy by Chinese Foundations. Voluntas 30, 678–691 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-017-9868-7

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Keywords

  • Foundations
  • Overseas donations
  • Charity
  • Impact factors