Although China’s economic development path has been highly successful, there is a growing gap between the extent of problems facing society and the government’s ability to address them. Philanthropic activity could be a key way to fill that gap. There have been some promising developments: giving has risen dramatically to several billion Renminbi per year, there are 3,000 foundations, NGO's are rapidly expanding their activities, corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs are proliferating, and social enterprises are taking root. Moreover, there has emerged a substantial community of experts and activists in and out of academia across the country that has strong ties with the global philanthropic community.
Against these positive trends, philanthropy in China is often ineffective and exhibits problems visible in the broader political and social environment. Philanthropic organizations exist in a challenging regulatory environment, and their internal governance and capacity to carry out projects are often insufficient to be successful. Trust between foundations and NGOs is quite low. Moreover, China's philanthropic sector is also not very well understood because of the dearth of quality research to date.
The RCCPB and Lilly Family School of Philanthropy have launched a three-year Initiative on Philanthropy in China that combines in-depth scholarly research by a team of experts from the United States and China, a series of workshops and conferences, publication and dissemination of our findings, and on-the-ground learning opportunities for Indiana University students. In each of these areas we are partnering with leading organizations of philanthropic studies, as well as have an on the ground presence and extensive periods of fieldwork. In addition, based on a belief in learning by doing, the initiative is carrying out its own philanthropic endeavor to address challenges facing Chinese society.
The initiative is supported with generous funding from the Ford Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, Indiana University and other donors. The RCCPB and Lilly Family School of Philanthropy are grateful to their vision and commitment to supporting cutting-edge research and building bridges between academia, industry, stakeholders, and government. If you would like to become involved with this initiative, please contact the RCCPB or the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.