This report is based on an article by the Charity Times, 超11亿投入 爱佑儿童医疗三次创变探索救助之道, originally published on the 17th of June. The Charity Times’ article is loosely based on an interview with Gao Zifei, the assistant secretary-general of the Ai You Foundation. The Ai You Foundation has long been considered one of China’s most important charitable foundations.
The Ai You Foundation’s founder Wang Bing recently gave his predictions regarding the Chinese charity sector in a strategic cooperation conference entitled “Create a nice and healthy future with charity and medical care”. As he said, “the Charity industry will no longer focus on only providing help. Solving social problems in a systematic way will become the new goal for charity.”
The Ai You Foundation was formed in 2004, as the first non-public offering foundation after the establishment of the Regulations on Foundation Administration in China. Compared with many other non-public offering foundations, Ai You’s most remarkable feature is that most of its main founders and directors are entrepreneurs. With the introduction of this commercial element, Ai You can practice charity in a unique fashion.
Child healthcare remains the Ai You Foundation’s core service. According to its annual report, the foundation’s investment in child healthcare services has increased every year from 2013 to 2018. In 2018, the Ai You Foundation donated over 392 million yuan of its income in total, with over 200 million yuan invested in child healthcare. Until now Ai You has invested 1.1 billion yuan in this field, and it has helped over 76.000 ill children who are also suffering from poverty or loneliness.
In 15 years, the Ai You Foundation’s services in child healthcare have experienced three remarkable innovations. Just after its establishment, the foundation started a first program called “Ai You Children” to aid those with congenital heart disease. They selected cooperative hospitals in various regions all over the country to provide treatment, and gradually explored a standardized mode of charitable medical assistance.
As Gao Zifei, the assistant secretary-general of Ai You Foundation, explains, Ai You’s first innovation started around 2013, after they had accumulated much management experience and possessed a relatively comprehensive management system. At this time the foundation successively started a number of programs, including “Ai You Angels” and “Ai You Morning Stars”, to expand the current charity treatment to include other child patients with blood disease, tumours, birth defects or autism. Moreover, they also reinforced their evaluation system of cooperative hospitals during this first round of innovation. Once the hospital fails to meet their standard, the foundation will start a withdrawal mechanism to stop cooperation. The violation of standards includes low levels of medical treatment, poor management ability, and the transfer of key department leaders.
In its second round of innovation the foundation started to focus more on social problems such as the uneven distribution of medical resources, the shortage of medical talents in children’s healthcare, and a low overall level of medical treatment for children. Aiming to improve these issues, the Ai You Foundation started providing a wider range of services. The foundation carried out doctor training programs, offered research funds for young paediatricians, helped database construction, and promoted the development of medical social workers, hoping their efforts could promote the development of Chinese children’s medical care in all aspects. By the end of 2018, Ai You’s doctor training programs had aided hundreds of doctors from 23 provinces, dozens of research achievements had been successfully applied, and the “Chinese Congenital Heart Disease Surgeries Database” had recorded data from over 40,000 surgeries.
Nowadays, the Ai You Foundation is experiencing its third round of innovation. After many years of collaboration, the foundation’s relationship with hospitals has changed fundamentally. Rather than merely provide treatment, hospitals are now becoming the foundation’s close cooperative partners, actively participating in discussions on children healthcare’s prospects and being willing to provide more resources. As Gao says, “Ai You’s staff have joined the morning meeting of their cooperating hospitals’ cardinal surgery departments to find out more about the progress of cooperation, problems encountered and doctors’ suggestions. We will keep improving our programs with the help of this information”.