Philanthropy Innovation: Convergence, Interconnectivity and Community
On the 5th of September, 2017, the second Philanthropy Day of China, the Philanthropy Innovation Summit 2017 was held in Suning headquarters, Nnajing, jointly hosted by the Amity Foundation, China Charity Alliance, Suning Foundation, Rende Foundation, SynTao Co., Ltd., and Zijin Media Think Tank, and assisted by Narada Foundation and icixun.com, under the support and guidance of the United Front Work Department of CPC Jiangsu Provincial Committee. People from the government, enterprises and social organizations shared their own unique understanding on philanthropy innovation, in which convergence, interconnectivity, and community became the key words. This summit is another participation of Zijin Media Think Tank in the field of philanthropy after co-hosting the Elite Forum on Online Charity Campaigns on December, 2016.
Key Word One: Convergence
In the era of the Internet, charity becomes a public undertaking that demands social resources and cooperation between different sectors. Many guests pointed out that philanthropy innovation comprised many levels such as the government, enterprises, social organizations and individuals. Only through in-depth convergence and united efforts of the government, the business circles and charity industry can philanthropy be truly innovated.
Member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China of Jiangsu Province,
Director of the United Front Work Department of Jiangsu Province, Director of the Publicity Department of Jiangsu Province
In the opening speech, Wang Yanwen illustrated how the government can better join into the philanthropy innovation. She said that the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC made it clear that the government was on the track to reform tax laws on charitable donations and adjust related regulations to facilitate philanthropic undertakings in China. With the booming economy in China charity is undergoing profound transformation and reforms, which bring tremendous benefits to our social progress. The government can help promote the development of philanthropic undertakings in many ways. It can encourage and lead the public to participate into charity and help nurture this philanthropic atmosphere. Besides, the government can build up a new philanthropic system and boost the efficiency. What’s more, the development of the Internet and smartphones can help supervise the philanthropic undertakings, which will make charity more transparent and credible. In addition, the Internet promote the connection between online charity projects with offline philanthropic events, so that resources are optimized, charity organizations more converged, and charity events more intelligent. The government can also put more efforts in bringing talents into the philanthropic undertakings.
Qiu Zhonghui, Vice President and Secretary-General of the Amity Foundation
Secretary-General Qiu also believes that charity needs cooperation as well as division of labour between the government, enterprises and social organizations. The government makes policies and exerts regulations according to the law. The enterprises fulfill their corporate social responsibility by providing funds, technology, professionals and intellectual supports. Enterprises donations account for 70% of the total social donations. However, he thinks that compared with the other two subjects, the social organizations in China is still underdeveloped, unable to shoulder their due responsibilities. The Amity Foundation has always been promoting a transparent, scientific and virtuous charity. As for the charitable organizations’ social responsibilities, transparency is the bottom line. But what would be the value of social organizations if they are ineffective and inefficient, and unable to use the donations well? How can they promote the reform of charitable organizations? What’s more, we need to facilitate the professionalization of the philanthropic industry, that is to innovate social organizations. There is still plenty of room for charitable organizations to innovate. Inevitably, problems are besetting the development process. It calls for constant cooperation between the government, enterprises and social organizations to solve these problems and achieve innovation.
Sun Weimin, Vice President of Suning Commerce Group Co., Ltd.
Vice president of Suning, Sun Weimin also expressed that philanthropy innovation calls for cooperation between enterprises and social organizations. Charity is an important party of a company’s corporate social responsibility. Professional charitable organizations compensate what companies lack in philanthropic practices. He said that Suning would put more funds into charity and open its enterprise resources to philanthropic needs.
Yuan Yafei, President of SanPower Group, Vice President of the Association of Industry and Commerce of Jiangsu Province (Top)
Liu Youping, Deputy Secretary-General of China Charity Alliance (Bottom)
Hu Bo, Vice President of TusHoldings, Chairman of TusPark (Jiangsu) (Right)
Liu Youping also highlighted the importance of innovation in philanthropy. What’s more, he thought that the cooperation between different sectors and industries was the key to philanthropy innovation. Yuan Yafei and Hu Bo shared their personal experiences in the company’s charity deeds through cooperation between different industries.
Key Word Two: Interconnectivity
In this summit interconnectivity embodies two denotations. The first refers to the Internet economy, especially the sharing economy, which allows individuals to participate in philanthropy more easily and assuredly. The second meaning is about the deep interconnection between philanthropy and companies and commerce.
Secretary-General Qiu Zhonghui said that philanthropy also need the public to participate besides social organizations. In developed countries, personal donation accounts for 70% of the total, while in our country it is less than 20%. With the development of the Internet and the dissemination of the philanthropic spirit, it is expected that more and more people will participate in the charity.
Xu Yongguang, Contract Research Fellow of the Counsellors’ Office of the State Council, Vice President of China Charity Alliance, President of Narada Foundation
Xu Yongguang pointed out in his speech that only when charity was in collaboration with commerce can social problems be truly solved. What he praised the most was the sharing economy of the Internet. Over the past few decades, information technology has transformed the business modes and give strong push to our economy. However, philanthropy innovation is lagging far behind the business innovation, technological innovation, even behind the government innovation. He said that charitable organizations were the crux of the problem. Social organizations have made plenty of innovations to address social problems but are still confined to a small scope. The reason is that charity costs money. The bigger the charity effort is, the more it costs. But if charity can adopt business modes, philanthropy would thrive in China. There are two kinds of social problems in China: one is where the government hasn’t provided with sufficient resources, including education, medical care, and provision for the elderly; the other are problems unique in China, such as food safety, the diminution of rural villages, left-behind children, etc. Actually these problems can be the breaking point for enterprises. Quoting Peter Drucker, he said that all social problems can be business opportunities for philanthropy innovation.
Cheng Gang, Executive Deputy Director-General of China Foundation Center
Executive Deputy Director-General of China Foundation Center, Cheng Gang briefed a general picture of corporate participation in charity and individual participation. From 1981 to 2017, the number of foundations in China has increased significantly, up to 6199 by the 4th of September, 2017. Since China is a big country, the number is expected to rise even higher. The number of corporate foundations, their net assets, and expenditures also see a steady increase. So do personal foundations. This shows that more and more people participate in charity. In China, corporate foundations are mainly affiliated to private enterprises (81%) and state-owned enterprises (13%). In comparison to state-owned enterprises, private enterprises are more flexible and transparent. Finally, he put corporate philanthropy in the perspective of promoting social innovation. On the one hand, companies need to donate money, which demands sound operation. On the other hand, enterprises need to incorporate philanthropy into their corporate strategies. He briefly shared the operations of many corporate foundations, such as Tecent Charitable Foundation, Alibaba Foundation, etc. He said that Sunning can participate in philanthropy according to its own features.
Professor Zhou Xiaohong, Director of Zijin Media Think Tank and Dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences of Nanjing Univeristy, presided over the Responsibility Dialogue section, having talks with Lin Yongge, secretary of the Communist Party Committee of Rsun Group, Ding Yong, President of Huayi Group, Miao Tianye, President of Jiangsu Yunman Technology Co. Ltd., Zheng Gang, member of the board of trustees of Nangjing University, President of NO ONE Culture Spread Co. Ltd., and Wang Yu, President of Coming Space Investment Management Group and sharing their experiences about the interconnection between their companies and charity.
Professor Zhou Xiaohong, Director of Zijin Media Think Tank, Dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences of Nanjing Univeristy
Professor Zhou Xiaohong said that it can be seen from two angles in regards to corporate participation into and promotion of philanthropy. One is that entrepreneurs are well-off and capable of improving social welfare by donating a part of their wealth. The other is that entrepreneurs should help philanthropy innovation.
Key Word Three: Community
This summit is first of its kind since the enactment of Charities Act last year. The aim of this summit is to bring all sectors of the society together to participate into charity and to promote philanthropic undertakings in China. The ultimate goal is to build up a community that share the same aspirations and push forwards the development of philanthropic undertakings in China.
The Internet not only promotes philanthropy innovation, but also helps forge a charitable community, which includes the government, enterprises, social organizations and individuals. In this community, all parties share the same goal and work for the same end. They make continuous efforts to enlarge social welfare.