Zhu Jiangang on the Development of Community Foundations in China

中国非公募基金会发展论坛

中文 English

Editor’s Note

This is CDB’s translation of an article that originally appeared in 中国非公募基金会发展论坛. The article includes a summary of a talk given by Zhu Jiangang (朱健刚), executive president of the Public Charity Research Institute at Sun Yat-Sen University and deputy director general of the Guangdong Qian He Public Charity Foundation, on the topic of community foundations in China, and an interview with Zhu where he further clarifies his views on the subject. 

 

As a type of community organization that promotes the administration and strengthening of communities, community foundations have been developing for over a hundred years. In China, although the history of community foundations is shorter than ten years, the sector is already showing dynamic growth.

On June 3rd, a meeting on “Community changes and the infinite possibilities generated for Community Foundations” was held, co-hosted by the China Foundation Development Forum, the Chengdu Bureau of Civil Administration, the Jinjiang District Bureau of Civil Administration, and He Ping Tai. Zhu Jiangang, the executive president of the Public Charity Research Institute at Sun Yat-Sen University and deputy director general of the Guangdong Qian He Public Charity Foundation, started off his talk by saying that the number of Chinese community foundations has reached 98 to date.

“Community foundations are key parts of the value chain of community public welfare. They can efficiently mobilize community resources, and promote a ‘well-governed community”. In the interviews with reporters subsequent to the meeting, Zhu indicated that the prospects for the development of community foundations and the role that community foundations play in community administration and even in social administration give cause for hope.

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Zhu Jiangang giving a speech entitled “Community changes face, community foundations generate infinite possibility” at the China Foundation Development Forum.

 

Community foundations should “take actions first”, and then make definitions

From the perspective of absolute numbers, 98 community foundations are not a lot. However 70% of them were founded after 2014. This represents a conspicuous development.

When it comes to their geographic distribution community foundations are quite concentrated, and two cities, Shanghai and Shenzhen, stand out. According to Zhu’s statistics, Shanghai and Shenzhen have 52 and 24 community foundations respectively. He claims that policy incentives are the major factor. Policy guides such as the “Shanghai Community Foundation Development Guide (pilot stage)” and the “Shenzhen Community Foundation Development Training Tentative Work Guide,” released by the Shanghai and Shenzhen Municipal Government respectively, have since generated a great number of governmental community foundations.

Community foundations have their origins in the U.S. In China however, community foundations are not specific legal entities and thus not clearly defined. Some scholars have pointed out that if we take the US standards for community foundations as reference, most community foundations in China would not qualify.

Zhu Jiangang defines community foundations loosely as “foundations that mobilize local resources, rely on local beneficiaries, and seek local solutions to problems.” In his view, community foundations are globalized community charities that have diverse forms, including but not limited to US-based forms. In China community foundations are still at an exploratory stage, and we should not rush into making definitions, but rather “take action first”.

 

Privately run community foundations will be the “mainstream”

Despite there not being many community foundations in China, Zhu Jianggang thinks that there are “bubbles” forming already, which are mostly concentrated in government-run community foundations.

“A lot of the community foundations that have been founded exist in name only, they are empty shells.” Zhu indicates that community foundations run by local governments are lacking vitality and creativity due to restrictions in mobilizing resources and in the local governments’ reaching capacity.

By comparison, enterprise-driven community foundations have more resources. Nevertheless, their key issues are how to build cooperation mechanisms and be open enough to avoid losing the trust of the community.

As a long-term advocate for citizens’ interests and public welfare, Zhu Jiangang is optimistic about the future of civil society-driven community foundations. Looking into the prospects of community foundations, he foresees that community foundations set up by civil society will be the “mainstream.” Some government-run community foundations will transition to being society-run due to the work of people at the grassroots.

Zhu’s predictions seem very optimistic. Policy space, as Zhu admits however, is the key to success. Without policy support and endorsement, community foundations set up by civil society will face dangers, especially during times when policies become more restrictive.

Zhu is nevertheless a pragmatist. The Qianhe Community Foundation, in which Zhu is vicechairman of the executive council, collaborated with the Nandu Charity Foundation, the Chengdu Jinjiang District Social Organization Development Foundation and the Zhengrong Charity Foundation to create “He Ping Tai”, whose aim is to promote the development of domestic community foundations.

 

A conversation with Zhu Jiangang: the development of community foundations needs policy space

Reporter: in December 2016, you attended the Global Community Foundation Summit at Johannesburg in South Africa. What did you observe about the development trends of community foundations in other countries and regions, and what can China learn from them?

Zhu Jiangang: The global development of community foundations is very diverse and takes various forms.

Take the example of an NGO in Vietnam, which is not formally registered as a community foundation. In carrying out capacity building for grassroots NGOs, financial assistance, and social project development it can play a role in mobilizing local resources, connecting beneficiaries and finding workable methods to deal with local problems. This is a model too, it’s the Southeast Asian model.

In Africa there are many community foundations which focus on agricultural ecological development and ecological protection. In the US, on the other hand, there are traditional, conservative community foundations in places like central Indiana that are interested only in community things. Then there are the ones in Sillicon Valley that are interested in global issues.

Therefore community foundations can be very diverse, and all of them are worth learning from.

Reporter: “Community foundations” do not have a clear definition in China. How would you define them?

Zhu Jiangang: We don’t need to make definitions right now. In China you can’t start off with a definition. We need take action first, and then based on that find the definitions. Community foundations are still at an experimental stage in China, and whatever you think is valuble is worth a try.

Reporter: Other than funding programs, what are the other roles that community foundations play within the community?

Zhu Jiangang: I think their most important role lies in fostering human resources, supporting community activists, and supporting and fostering social organizations within the community.

Reporter: What are the obstacles in developing community foundations in China?

Zhu Jiangang: It’s hard to say in a few words. There are all kinds of obstacles.

The problem with government-run community foundations is that, upon receiving the administrative order to start a foundation, local governments do not have the drive to really create anything, because the people working for them are too busy and tired. This means that many community foundations, after being founded, remain empty shells with nothing but a name.

In comparison, when it comes to enterprise-registered community foundations, the problem is to build trust in the community. Without trust, citizens will not be motivated.

However, civil society-run community foundations can provoke anxiety and over-sensitivity from the government. If civil society is so strong, what do we need the government for? Therefore, the government has to impose lots of restrictions.

Reporter: What do community foundations mean for the general development of the foundations sector? 

Zhu Jiangang: They mean a lot.

The primary function of foundations is to elicit funds. They don’t need to do everything. However in China, most foundations are operational. Although they lack professional skills, they have to carry out their work on their own. This is a huge problem.

On the one hand, big foundations have a lot of money which they don’t know how to put to good use; on the other hand, grassroots NGOs are completely lacking in funds. There has to be something in the middle to connect both ends and build trusts between them. This is the real problem we are facing.

If there were this sort of community foundations, many big foundations would not need to rely on themselves, or pour money into grassroots NGOs. They could just give it to the community foundations. The latter could make use of the technical skills and strengths of their community experts, and give the money to social organizations. This way they would be of excellent use as intermediaries.

Reporter: What role do you expect He Ping Tai to take on in the development of community foundations?  

Zhu Jiangang: He Ping Tai will function as a hub. Firstly, it will form a web which connects community foundations and people who want to work in this field to study, communicate, and share. Secondly, it will carry out some capacity building. One big advantage of community foundations is their professionalism. Community foundations are like a social expert that understands the community, which is why people are willing to fund them. Their professional abilities are community foundations’ real capital, which can be developed through training and learning. The third function for He Ping Tai lies in promoting international communication.

Reporter: In recent years China’s community foundations have been rapidly increasing, most notably in the past two years. Will this increase in the last two years become the basis for the future?

Zhu Jiangang: It depends on government policy. There are 98 community foundations in China, most of which were founded in the past two years. Community foundations are still increasing rapidly in China. However, the majority of them were generated by the government, so I feel that there still has to be a process of eliminating bubbles.

If the state allows communities to work on their own, giving them more space, then I think community foundations can develop faster. But if the policies tighten up, will this still be allowed? The state’s power is the key factor.

朱健刚:社区基金会的发展需要政策空间,也要“去泡沫” | 成都峰会

 

2017-06-05 中国非公募基金会发展论坛

作为推动社区治理和社区建设的一类社会组织,社区基金会在全世界已有上百年的发展历史。而在中国,尽管社区基金会的发展历程还不足十年,但已呈现出蓬勃增长的态势。

在6月3日,由中国基金会发展论坛、成都市民政局、锦江区民政局、禾平台联合举办的社区变脸·社区基金会催生的无限可能会议上,中山大学中国公益慈善研究院执行院长、广东省千禾社区公益基金会副理事长朱健刚介绍说,目前中国社区基金会的数量已达98家。

 

社区基金会是社区公益价值链的关键部位,能够有效动员起社区各方资源,推动形成善治的社区’”在会后接受记者的采访中,朱健刚表示,社区基金会的发展前景,及其在社区治理乃至社会治理中扮演的角色令人期待。

朱健刚在中国基金会发展论坛成都峰会,发表演讲:《社区变脸·社区基金会催生的无限可能》

 

社区基金会要先做起来再下定义

 

从绝对数量上看,98家社区基金会这一数字并不庞大,但其中七成以上是在2014年之后成立的,发展态势令人瞩目。

 

 

在地域分布上,社区基金会则十分集中,以上海和深圳两座城市尤为突出。根据朱健刚的统计,上海、深圳的社区基金会数量分别达到52家和24家。他认为政策驱动是主要因素。两地政府部门颁布的《上海社区基金会建设指引(试行)》、《深圳市社区基金会培育发展工作暂行办法》等政策办法,催生了众多具有政府背景的社区基金会。

 

事实上,社区基金会起源于美国,其在中国并非一种特定的法律形式,定义也并未明确。有学者曾提出,如果参照美国对于社区基金会的标准,我国现有的社区基金会多数还不足以称为社区基金会。

 

朱健刚将社区基金会宽泛地定义为“动员本地资源,依靠本地利益相关方,寻找问题的本地解决方案的基金会”。

 

在他看来,社区基金会是已被全球化的一种社区慈善的多元表现形式,并非只有美国一种模式。而在中国,社区基金会还处于探索阶段,并不急于去下定义,而要先做起来再说。

 

民办的社区基金会将成为主流

 

尽管社区基金会的数量还不多,朱健刚却认为“泡沫”已经存在,而“泡沫”正是集中在政府驱动的社区基金会之中。

“许多社区基金会虽然成立了,但只是挂个牌,空壳而已。”朱健刚表示,基层政府办的社区基金会由于资源动员限制和基层政府的能力限度,缺乏活力与创新的动力。

而对于企业驱动的社区基金会,虽然拥有较多资源,但如何在治理层面建立合作治理的有效机制,并具备足够的开放性,进而不失去社区信任是关键问题。

 

作为公民公益的长期倡导者,朱健刚对于民间社会驱动的社区基金会最为看好。在展望社区基金会的发展前景时,他表示民间兴办的社区基金会将成为主流,部分由政府驱动的社区基金会将因为基层探索者的原因而开始社会化转型。

 

这种预测看似十分乐观。朱健刚承认,政策的空间将会是关键因素。如果没有政策支持和扶持,或者发生政策收缩的话,民间兴办的社区基金会或许会步履艰难。

朱健刚同时也是一位实践者。由他担任副理事长的千禾社区公益基金会,联合南都公益基金会、成都市锦江区社会组织发展基金会、正荣公益基金会发起成立的“禾平台”,致力于推动国内社区基金会的发展。

这种预测看似十分乐观。朱健刚承认,政策的空间将会是关键因素。如果没有政策支持和扶持,或者发生政策收缩的话,民间兴办的社区基金会或许会步履艰难。

朱健刚同时也是一位实践者。由他担任副理事长的千禾社区公益基金会,联合南都公益基金会、成都市锦江区社会组织发展基金会、正荣公益基金会发起成立的“禾平台”,致力于推动国内社区基金会的发展。

 

对话朱健刚:

社区基金会的发展需要政策空间

 

记者:201612月,您参加了在南非约翰内斯堡举行的全球社区基金会峰会。据您的观察,社区基金会在其它国家和地区的发展态势如何?有哪些值得中国借鉴的地方?

 

朱健刚:全球社区基金会的发展非常多元,各种类型都有。

 

比如越南的一家NGO,甚至连社区基金会这块牌子都没有。但在做草根NGO的能力建设、小额资助、社区项目开发等,起着一个动员本地资源、连接利益相关方、寻找适合本地的问题解决方案的作用。这也是一种模式,是东南亚的模式。

在非洲,有很多关注农业生态发展、保护生态等专门议题的社区基金会。在美国,既有中印第安纳那样传统的、保守的只关注社区事物的社区基金会,也有像硅谷社区基金会那样的,关心全世界的事儿。

所以社区基金会可以很多元,都值得我们学习。

 

记者:社区基金会在中国还没有一个明确的概念。您认为应该如何定义?

 

朱健刚:现在不需要去下定义。中国的事儿不能先下定义,要先做起来,然后在归纳的基础上去定义。现在社区基金会在实验阶段,如果你认为有价值,那你就去尝试。

 

 

记者:除了资助项目,社区基金会在社区中还能够发挥哪些作用?

 

朱健刚:最重要的作用是培养人,支持社区中积极的骨干、行动者,支持和培育社区内的社会组织。

 

记者:目前社区基金会在中国的发展,出现的困难有哪些?

 

朱健刚:一言难尽,各有各的困难。

政府办的社区基金会,困难在于你是行政命令下来的,基层政府没有动力搞创新,因为太忙、太累了。造成许多社区基金会虽然成立了,但只是挂个牌,空壳而已。

企业办的社区基金会,怎么能建立社区的信任是难题。没有信任,居民就没有动力。

民间办的,政府会着急、敏感。民间这么强大了,要我们政府干什么?就会有好多限制。

 

记者:社区基金会对于整个基金会行业的发展有什么意义?

 

朱健刚:有非常重要的意义。

 

基金会的主要能力是募款能力,不需要什么都会做。而中国大部分基金会是操作型的,它缺乏专业能力,又要亲自操作,这是非常大的问题。

一方面,大基金会钱多不知道怎么花,另一方面草根NGO没钱,这中间太需要一些中介把他们连接在一起,建立信任。这个是目前基金会特别缺的一块儿。

这时候如果有一类社区基金会发展起来,就可以使很多大基金会不用自己去做,也不用把钱直接给草根NGO,而是先给这些社区基金会。社区基金会运用它的社区专家的能力和优势,在社区里把这些钱给那些社区组织,这样不就是一个很好的中介作用吗?

 

 

记者:您期待禾平台在社区基金会的发展中发挥什么作用?

 

朱健刚:主要是起到枢纽的作用。一方面形成一个网络,把社区基金会和想做社区基金会的人连接在一起,相互之间学习、交流、共享。第二,它也做一些能力建设。社区基金会一个很大的特点,就是它的专业性。它是社区专家、懂社区,所以大家才愿意把钱给你。专业能力是社区基金会真正的本钱,所以就需要专业的能力建设,通过培训、学习等去培养。第三是促进国际交流等。

 

记者:近年来,中国基金会的数量迅速增长。这其中社区基金会的数量在近两年迅速增加,未来会不会成为基金会数量增长的主体?

 

朱健刚:这要看政府政策。社区基金会现在有98家,主要是在这两年成立的,增长速度很快。但大部分都是政府催化出来的,所以我觉得还有一个去泡沫的过程。

如果国家允许社区干,给社区更大的空间,那我觉得就会发展很快。如果政策收紧了,还允许你干这个?国家的权力是关键因素。

 

/善达网记者刘长春 

 

主办单位

禾平台是由南都公益基金会、千禾社区公益基金会、成都市锦江区社会组织发展基金会、正荣公益基金会等联合发起,致力于推动国内社区基金会发展的公益支持平台。

中国基金会发展论坛(以下简称论坛,英文名称为China Foundation Forum,简称CFF),是由具有8年历史的中国非公募基金会发展论坛于2016年转型升级而来,是中国有志于追求机构卓越和行业发展的机构自愿发起设立的非正式网络平台。

Translated by Shuyue He

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