Our Registration Story: the Ford Foundation

Center for Charity Law of the China Philanthropy Research Institute, Beijing Normal University

中文 English

Editor’s Note

This article was originally published by the Center for Charity Law (CCL) at the China Philanthropy Research Institute (CPRI) of Beijing Normal University. See the original here.

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Introduction

The Law of the People s Republic of China on Administration of Activities of Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations in the Mainland of China (ONGO Law) came into effect on January 1st 2017, and since then, its implementation has garnered significant attention from ONGOs and other stakeholders. In the past months, many ONGOs have successfully registered their representative offices with public security departments across the country. The successful registration of representative offices is a joint effort relying on the cooperation of many forces.


 

The Center of Charity Law (CCL) at the China Philanthropy Research Institute (CPRI) is holding a series of interviews with the Chief Representatives of successfully registered ONGOs to better understand their unique experiences and extract meaningful and transferable practices for the larger ONGO Law community to learn from and enable a smoother implementation of the law.

Our first interview is conducted with Ms. Elizabeth Knup, Chief Representative of the China Office of the Ford Foundation. The Ford Foundation successfully completed the registration of their Representative Office at the Beijing Public Security Bureau on June 30th 2017.

 

The Ford Foundation’s Story in China

The Ford Foundation is an international NGO. We have our headquarters in New York and 10 offices around the world. Our mission is to help realize a world where the maximum number of people participate in the decisions that affect their lives, and the maximum number of people benefit from the economic and social development of the countries where they live.

In China, the Ford Foundation focuses on three aspects: poverty alleviation in the context of urbanization, strengthening and internationalizing the philanthropic sector and “China and the world”.

China now is focusing on reducing rural poverty by 2020.  Most researchers and policy makers are focusing on rural poverty. We have found that some people are thinking about the possible future emergence of urban poverty and we we would like to help these researchers and policymakers start to understand that possibility and to think about solutions before the challenges get too severe.

The second part of our strategy is around strengthening the philanthropic sector in China and supporting the internationalization of Chinese philanthropy.  By this we mean supporting global engagement by actors in China’s philanthropy sector with international counterparts. For this work we can contribute both  financial support and knowledge exchange.

The third part of the strategy has its roots in our historic work on  China-US relations.We are expanding beyond China and the US, and looking into more about China and the rest of the world. We will be looking at the Belt and Road Initiative.  In addition, Ford’s global footprint includes other countries in the global south. We will look broadly at  China’s engagement with the world. This strategy is still in development as we look for areas where Ford can make a unique contribution.

The Ford Foundation began its work related to China in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s by funding the establishment of centers of Chinese Studies at major American universities, including Harvard, Berkeley and the University of Michigan.  Because of this early investment, at the time of the normalization of China-US relations the Ford Foundation was in a strong position to begin supporting work directly in the PRC.  In 1988 we opened an office in China in partnership with CASS.

The Foundation witnessed China’s Opening and Reform.  During this time China was opening up to the outside world and was learning and adapting ideas from around the world.  From 1985 to 1995, the Foundation invested in strengthening the field of economics. We supported Chinese students to study economics, either by traveling abroad or from faculty we supported to come to China to teach.  The Ford Foundation, we believe, made an important contribution to China’s  “opening and reform” efforts.  (改革开放 ).

Around the time of the United Nations’ World Conference on Women (1995), we added work on women’s issues and sexual health and reproductive rights.  We also added work on sustainable development related to natural resources, and then finally education. Each new area of work reflected changing needs identified by our Chinese partners and the Chinese government.  We were able to identify these emerging needs and areas of interest because  we have a strong program team on the ground. Our program officers routinely engage with Chinese partners, the government, think tanks and researchers, and try to understand what contributions Ford can make to important issues of the time.

Based on this approach to listening and responding to partners on the ground, we are now increasing our support for the Chinese philanthropic sector, and for work related to China’s role in the world.  In these two areas, it is now not so much about bringing in ideas and resources, but it’s about taking China’s experience and sharing it out. So I think that’s where we are headed.

 

Pre-ONGO Law

The Ford Foundation opened its office in China in 1988 and we have been compliant with the relevant Chinese laws and regulations since that time.  Of course, there were few laws and regulations in 1988.  As the regulatory environment became increasingly mature, Ford continued to adjust its operations as required.  For Ford, the 2016 ONGO Law is just one more step in the development of China’s regulatory environment for overseas NGOs and we have, as in the past, complied.

During the drafting of the law, we paid very close attention. When the second draft came out, we submitted our comments through the  the public portal and through other channels.

 

Registration Process

The law was formally published in April 2016.  Along with other ONGOs, the real work of registering under the law began when the list of  professional supervisory units (PSUs) and the catalog of fields and projects were published in December. But even prior to beginning the specific work of identifying a PSU, we focused our effort to  make sure that key stakeholders understood the Ford Foundation’s history in China, our commitment to China, and the contributions we have made. Our President and Vice President came to China and met with different stakeholders. We have an extremely supportive headquarters that helped facilitate our work.

China is not the only country where the Ford Foundation is trying to navigate new laws and regulations. And frankly, the process in China has been clearer than in some other countries.   The law was drafted and released for public comments, and then revised based on those comments.  The process has been predictable.  Many of the requirements are clear.

When the PSU list and the catalog of fields and projects came out, we noticed that CASS was not on the list of PSUs, so the next thing we needed to do was to find a new PSU. The second thing that we noticed was that the catalog of fields and projects included most of our areas of work, but it was hard to see how they would all fit under one PSU. So I think the biggest challenge for the Ford Foundation was that our work cuts across many of the Major Areas of Work ( 大领域  ) outlined under the law. We identified some PSUs that might fit and wrote to them, but none could catch everything that we did. While we looked for a suitable PSU, we continued our strategy of engaging with stakeholders and talking about registration; we wanted to be sure that our intention to be compliant and our strong commitment to China were clear.

Eventually, we were able to connect with the Chinese People s Assocaition for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) , and they became our PSU. And once CPAFFC was identified, it all went quite smoothly, and we got registered on June 30th 2017.

CPAFFC is a very suitable PSU for the Ford Foundation because they also work across a wide range of areas, and they have relationships with countries all over the world.

We want to thank the public security authorities for their creativity and flexibility.  And, we  also want to thank CPAFFC.  They have taken on an important responsibility under the ONGO law.  They are the PSU for several NGOs and they have embraced their responsibility with professionalism, efficiency, and humility.

 

Looking Forward

Under the ONGO law, the role of the PSU is new.  In the past, host organizations did not have explicit legal responsibility for oversight of ONGOs.  We are all (ONGOs and PSUs) in a “new normal” . So, we need to learn about each other, and this is a process that requires patience. We need to build trust. We need to build confidence. I have had good conversations with CPAFFC. We talk almost everyday. We are making progress towards figuring out how we will work together.  I’m eager  to make some grants this year, and they’re eager to make sure that the processes are correct. I’m quite confident that over time the working process will become regularized.

I am very grateful for CPAFFC willing to become our PSU. We have to recognize that PSUs are stepping up in a really important way.One really important message is that other PSUs should recognize that it is possible to step up. It’s possible to take a chance.

There are a few things that I hope can be explored and clarified. There are important differences between ONGOs that directly implement projects and those that make grants to financially support organzations to implement projects.  These are differences in terms of what constitutes an “activitity” and also in terms of operations.  I hope that these differences can be reflected in future implementing regulations.

I think that it is reasonable for any government to seek to regulate the NGO sector operating in its country.  When these laws are implemented in a fair, transparent and consistent way the laws have the potential to be a positive tool for regulation.

This law is part of China s ongoing development of a set of laws to govern its society. And over twenty years living in China, I have seen many  new laws come on the books, so I think in that sense, this is a very normal process. I also think China has a relatively open approach to seeking public input into its laws. Some people were thinking that this law would not have that public input opportunity, but it did. I think that was a very important moment that underscores China’s commitment to a legal drafting process with public input. That is positive.

I think that future implementing regulations will be very important to help us understand how this law will be understood, interpreted and implemented thoughout the system, from the national level to the local level.  Transparency and consistency of implementation are important to allow the PSUs to do their jobs and to allow the ONGOs to do theirs.

Also, I think small organizations are just as important as large orgnaizations in terms of contributing to China’s development, internationalizaztion and developing an ecosystem . I hope that the new regulatory environment can accommodate the little ones, in the same way that they can accommodate the big ones.

I think there are a few lessons. First, I think proactiveness is key. Since January 1st 2017, my job everyday was to push the rock up the hill just a little bit. If I could do one thing everyday—talk to somebody, go to a meeting, learn something…  Every single day –that was my goal. I think that if we hadn’t demonstrated our positive desire then our Chinese stakedholders may not have understood our commitment to operating in China.

Second, I think we need to have an openness to engage with government authorities, and I think this lesson is particularly applicable to ONGOs who are either not registered in China or don’t know where to start. Government authorities are actually really helpful. They are surprisingly open, flexible and oriented to problem-solving. That’s a really important transferable lesson to take away.

I ve also learnt patience is a huge asset. Again, I think it is important to bring good faith to the process. I think it’s often easy for people to project that the law is negative. But the only way this is going to work is that we all bring our best faith forward. The public security authorities, the PSUs, the ONGOs, and everybody needs to come forward with the best intentions, and together to make it work for everybody.

 

About the Representative Elizabeth Knup

Elizabeth Knup is Chief Representative for the Ford Foundation in China, overseeing all grant-making and the Foundation’s operations in the country from the office in Beijing. Elizabeth focuses her programmatic work on strengthening the philanthropic sector, impact investing, and China-U.S. relations.

Elizabeth has focused her career on developing stronger ties between China and the rest of the world in the education, not-for-profit, and business sectors.The early part of her career focused on strengthening the capacity of social organizationsand working on expanding educational opportunities in China. She spent the decade from 1988-98 at the National Committee on US-China Relations focusing on the Committee’s work in education, environment, and social development. In 1998 Elizabeth moved to Nanjing, China where she served as the American Co-Director of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies where she oversaw the establishment of the Center’s Institute for International Relations and a summer immersion Chinese language program. Upon moving to Beijing she joined Kamsky Associates, a business strategy and investment advisory firm. Most recently Elizabeth simultaneously served as chief representative of Pearson PLC, one of the world’s foremost education and publishing companiesand president of Pearson Education in China.

Elizabeth currently serves on the boards of the National Committee on US-China Relations and the Institute for Sustainable Communities where she serves on the Governance Committee and as Board Secretary. Earlier she served on the board of the Capacity Building and Assessment Center (CBAC), Global Environment Institute (GEI) and the Lingnan Foundation, a supporter of education initiatives in southern China.  She also served on the boards of the American Chamber of Commerce and the British Chamber of Commerce, both in Beijing.

Elizabeth has a master’s degree from the University of Michigan’s Center for Chinese Studies and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Middlebury College.

 

 2017-08-21 慈善法律中心 善见
见言

《境外非政府组织境内活动管理法》实施已逾8个月,各地“捷报频传”。迄今,已有超过170家代表机构成功注册。先期“试水”的他们,有哪些故事需要同大家分享?北师大中国公益研究院慈善法律中心将组织开辟全新栏目——“首代说新法”,采访成功注册代表机构的ONGOers,分享“实战经验”。通过聆听他们的故事,思索代表机构的注册路径。

《境外非政府组织境内活动管理法》自2017年1月1日生效以来,其实施情况就一直受到广泛关注。在过去的半年中,已陆续有多家境外非政府组织在全国各地公安部门登记注册了代表机构。这些成功注册的经验是多方合作努力的结果——涉及到多方面的交流与沟通,凝聚了多方面的坚持与努力。
为了更为深入地了解新法实施过程中的具体情况,中国公益研究院慈善法律中心开展了“首代说新法”系列采访,与多家成功注册代表机构的境外非政府组织首席代表面对面对话。从境外非政府组织的视角,了解这些组织注册过程中的故事和经历,总结提炼有益的经验和做法,进一步推动《管理法》的顺利实施。

我们首期“首代说新法”采访的境外非政府组织首席代表是来自美国福特基金会的Elizabeth Knup  (高倩倩) 女士福特基金会已于2017年6月30日在北京市公安局成功完成了代表机构的登记注册,请参阅《北京为福特基金会等15家境外非政府组织颁证》。

 福特基金会在中国

福特基金会是一个国际性的非政府组织。除设在纽约的总部之外,我们在全球还有10个办公室。基金会的使命是帮助更多的人受益于他们所在国家的经济与社会发展;使尽可能多的人参与制定那些影响到他们生活的决策。

基金会目前与中国的合作重点是城镇化进程中的减贫问题、中国公益慈善领域发展和中国与世界。

中国政府当前致力于实现2020的减贫目标,大多数的研究者和政策制定者们都在关注农村贫困这一话题 。我们同时发现有一些人在思考未来出现城市人口贫困的可能性 ,所以我们希望协助这些研究人员和政策制定者,在挑战变得太严重之前,就开始了解这一现象出现的可能性,并思考相应的解决方法。

我们合作战略的第二个部分,是推动中国慈善事业的发展,与支持中国慈善事业的国际化。我们希望通过支持中国的慈善组织与国际同行的交流,来加强中国在全球慈善事业中的参与度。在这一方面,我们既提供资金上的支持也提供知识层面的相互交流。

我们中国战略的第三部分则源自我们一直以来在中美关系方面的工作。现在我们也在向中美关系之外的领域拓展,更多地去关注中国与世界其他国家及地区的关系。 我们非常关注中国的“一带一路”倡议。另外,基金会的足迹还包括南方国家。我们将借助基金会在全球的资源,从更广泛的角度去推动中国与世界其他国家的互动。不过,这方面的资助战略仍需要进一步的研究和探讨,我们希望能找到那些基金会能够做出独特贡献的领域。

福特基金会从二十世纪六、七十年代就在美国开始了与中国有关的工作,我们资助建立了包括哈佛大学、加州大学伯克利分校、密歇根大学等美国大学的中国研究中心。也正是因为这些早期的投入,到1979年中美建交时,基金会已经有拥有丰富的经验来直接资助中国开展的工作。1988年,我们在中国开设办公室,当时的合作伙伴是中国社会科学院 。

基金会亲历了中国改革开放并向全世界学习、汲取思想的过程。1985年至1995年期间,基金会在加强中国经济学领域方面做出投入。我们帮助中国学生研习经济学,他们有些是出国交流,有些则是由我们请国外老师们来华进行讲授。我们认为福特基金会对中国的改革开放做出了积极的贡献。

在联合国第四次世界妇女大会(1995年)期间,我们增加了在妇女及性与生殖健康和权利方面的工作。我们后来还增加了与自然资源有关的可持续发展方面的工作,以及教育方面的工作。每个新增的工作领域都体现我们对中国发展需求的积极回应。我们之所以能够看到这些发展中的需求,是因为我们在实地拥有强大的项目团队。我们的项目官员定期与中国合作伙伴、政府、智库和研究人员保持沟通,及时了解并分析确定福特基金会可以对当时的重要议题做出什么样的贡献。

基于我们对与当地伙伴沟通的重视,我们也正在继续推进对中国慈善事业,以及“中国与世界”方面的工作的支持。 在这两个领域,我们的工作重点不再是引入想法和资源,而是更多地学习中国的经验并将它们分享出去。我认为这是我们以后的方向。

《管理法》出台前

福特基金会于1988年在中国设立办事处以来,我们始终遵守中国相关的法律和法规。当然,在1988年的时候中国的法律和法规还没有那样健全。从那时到现在,随着法律环境日益成熟,福特基金会也不断地根据要求调整我们的运营模式。对于基金会来说,2016年出台的《境外非政府组织境内活动管理法》是中国在完善境外非政府组织治理环境上的进一步发展,我们也一如既往地遵守这个法律。

我们对这部法律的起草过程一直保持紧密关注。草案的第二稿出来后,我们也在官方门户网站与其他渠道上提交了我们的意见。

注册过程

这部法律是在2016年4月正式出台的。我们真正开始注册的准备工作是在《境外非政府组织在中国境内活动领域和项目目录、业务主管单位名录》的出台后开始的,其他的境外非政府组织大多也是一样。不过即使是在启动具体工作,寻找我们的业务主管单位之前,我们也一直努力确保重要相关方了解福特基金会对中国的承诺,我们在中国的历史,以及所做出的贡献。我们的会长和副会长都来拜会过相关部门的负责人,总部也十分支持我们的工作。

福特基金会并不仅仅在中国面临要适应新的法律法规变化的情况。但坦率地说,比起其他国家而言,中国这一法律的立法和实施过程要清晰得多。该法律在起草过程中公开征集了意见,并且根据这些意见也进行了修改。整个过程没有出现不可预见的情况,法律的要求也很清楚。

当《境外非政府组织在中国境内活动领域和项目目录、业务主管单位名录》公布时,我们注意到我们之前的业务合作单位中国社会科学院不在业务主管单位的名录中,那么我们需要做的就是找到一个新的业务主管单位。我们接下来注意到的是,这个活动领域目录包括了我们大部分的工作领域,但是很难确定一家业务主管单位能涵盖我们所有的业务工作领域。所以我认为对于福特基金会而言最大的挑战就是,我们的工作领域是法律中列出的若干“大领域”的集合 。我们选定了几个可能适合我们工作领域的业务主管单位并致函给他们,但实际上这几个单位的领域无法涵盖我们所有的工作范围。我们寻找合适的业务主管单位的同时,我们也继续保持与相关部门进行关于登记注册方面的沟通,因为我们想要确保我们能够清晰明确地传递两个信息:即我们遵守法律的意愿以及我们对中国的承诺。

最终,我们联系上了中国人民对外友好协会(简称:全国友协),他们也成功地成为了我们的业务主管单位。全国友协确认成为我们的业务主管单位之后,一切都非常顺利,我们在六月三十日完成了在北京市公安局的登记注册手续。

如何登记代表机构和备案临时活动,请参见Practical Guide to the ONGO Law (Registration and Filing)(双语更新版)

 

全国友协对福特基金会来说是一个非常合适的业务主管单位,因为他们的工作领域也涵盖许多不同的领域,并且与全世界的许多国家都有联系。

我们十分感谢公安机关的开放与灵活。我们也非常感谢全国友协。因为根据这个法律,全国友协作为业务主管单位承担了重要的责任。它也同时担任了其他几家境外非政府组织的主管单位,并且以专业、高效、谦逊的精神承担起了责任。

看向未来

在新的《境外非政府组织境内活动管理法》下,业务主管单位有了一个全新的角色。过去,主管单位对于它所监管的境外非政府组织没有明确的法律责任。现在我们(境外非政府组织与业务主管单位)都处于一个“新常态”下。我们需要彼此了解,建立对彼此的信任和信心,这是一个需要耐心的过程。我和全国友协的交流很愉快,我们几乎每天都会沟通。我们在不断调整一起工作的方法,也取得了一定的进展。 我希望尽快开展项目合作工作,他们需要保证这个过程是合规的。 我非常有信心,随着时间的推移,工作流程将会更加规范化。

我非常感谢全国友协愿意成为我们的业务主管单位。我们得承认,在这个过程中业务主管单位的积极参与是非常重要的。我想传递的一个重要信息是,其他的业务主管单位也应该可以更加开放地参与到这个过程当中来。

有几个问题,我希望可以进一步探讨和明确。直接开展项目的非政府组织,与那些从事项目资助拨款给其他机构的非政府组织有着巨大的差异。这些差异决定了组织的“活动”具体如何开展,也决定了一个组织的运营方式。 我希望这个区别可以在未来法律实施的过程中能够有所反映。

我认为对于任何政府来说,想要规范非政府组织在本国的运营都是非常合理的。如果能够以公平、透明和一致的方式实施这项法律,那么这项法律就会成为一种积极的规范手段。

中国社会各个层面的法律都在发展和完善,这项法律只是其中的一部分。我在中国生活的二十多年间,中国颁布了很多新的法律,所以这样看来,我认为这是一个非常正常的过程。我也认为中国对于公开征集法律意见有比较开放的态度。可能有些人没想到这个法律会有这种公开征集意见的机会,但是它的确有。我认为这是一个非常重要的时刻,它强调了中国对于起草法律过程中广泛征集公众意见的重视,这是非常积极的。

我认为将来推行的实施条例,能有效地帮助我们了解这一法律将会如何在从国家层面到地方层面的系统中,被大家理解、解读和实施。法律实施的透明度和一致度都很重要,这样既能让业务主管单位做好他们的工作,也能让境外非政府组织做好他们的工作。

同时,我认为在中国为非政府组织的发展、国际化与生态圈的建立作出贡献方面,小型机构与大型机构一样重要。所以我希望新的法律环境能够以接纳大型机构的方式,去接纳这些小型机构 。

我认为有几点经验可以总结。首先,我认为最关键的是积极性。从2017年1月1日开始,我每天的工作就是把这块“石头”一点一点推向山顶。如果我每天都能做一件事情,无论是跟一些人沟通,去参加会议,还是去学习一些东西... 这就是我每一天的目标 。如果不是因为我们的积极与迫切的态度,中方相关部门可能不会理解我们对于在中国开展工作的重视程度。

其次,我认为在与政府部门进行接触的过程中,我们需要有一个开放的态度。我认为这一点特别适用于那些还没有在中国注册的境外非政府组织,或是那些不知道从哪里开始着手准备的境外非政府组织。政府部门其实真的非常乐于帮忙,他们十分开放、灵活,并且专注于解决问题。这是一个适用于很多组织的、十分有用的经验。

我也意识到了耐心真的是一项巨大的财富。在这整个过程中,信念是很重要的。人们通常都对法律有消极的看法,但是只有当我们都保持坚定的信念,我们才能顺利地完成这件事。无论是公安机关、业务主管单位,还是境外非政府组织,每一方都要在过程中拿出自己最好的一面,这样我们才能一起合作做好这件事情。

 

首席代表高倩倩女士

高倩倩女士是福特基金会北京代表处的首席代表,负责管理基金会北京办事处及基金会在中国开展的合作项目工作。她目前负责的工作包括支持中国公益慈善领域的发展、社会影响力投资和中美关系.

高女士一直致力于推动中国与世界各国在教育、非营利部门和商业领域建立更加牢固的合作关系。高女士早期的工作主要集中在加强社会组织能力建设及在中国拓展教育机会方面。1988年至1998年,她就职于美中关系全国委员会,负责该委员会在教育、环境和社会发展方面的工作。1998年,高女士迁居南京,出任南京大学约翰斯•霍普金斯大学中美文化研究中心美方主任,在任期间,成立了该中心的国际关系研究所,开展了中文夏令营项目。到北京后,她加入了美国甘维珍公司,一个商业战略和投资咨询公司。加入福特基金会前,她是英国培生集团中国办事处的首席代表,该集团是一家在教育和出版方面居领先地位的跨国公司。

高女士目前是美中关系全国委员会的理事,美国可持续发展社区协会治理委员会委员及理事会秘书。她早年曾出任能力建设与评估中心、全球环境研究所和美国岭南基金会理事,后者在华南开展教育项目。她还曾任美国商会和英国商会的理事。

高女士拥有密歇根大学中国研究中心的硕士学位和美国米德尔伯里学院政治学学士学位。

北师大中国公益研究院慈善法律中心,一直致力于为ONGOs顺利在境内注册和备案提供专业的智力支持,并对机构运作和相关活动的开展提供咨询。目前,中心已经成功为多家境外机构提供了代表机构注册和备案等方面的咨询服务。具体内容请参见FNGO Registration Support Program 

除ONGO法外,在境内开展慈善活动的ONGO代表机构,也要遵循慈善法的要求~如何合法、高效开展慈善活动,请参见《慈善规范实务指南》

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