Xu Yongguang “slander follows fame”: 25 years in public welfare
Beijing Times 京华时报, February 21, 2014
On the evening of December 7, 2013 a charity dinner was held to celebrate Xu Yongguang’s 25 years of work in the Chinese public welfare sector. As the founder of the “Hope Project” and Director General of the Narada Foundation, Xu is one of the most influential and active actors in the sector.
Xu first entered the Chinese public welfare world in 1989, after resigning from his position as Director of the Organization Department of the Communist Youth League. He went on to establish the China Youth Development Foundation, whose first creation, ‘Project Hope’, has rapidly became one of the best known charity projects in China. In the 17 years that he has been in charge, Project Hope has raised three billion RMB in international and domestic donations, helped 2,89 million children from poverty-stricken rural families to continue their schooling, and built 12,559 Hope elementary schools around China. In 2005 Xu left his role as Vice-President of the China Charity Federation, and began in November of that year to sow the seeds for the creation of the Narada Foundation, which would become one of the largest and most influential private foundations in China. Last year, during the China Foundation Center’s Three-Year Anniversary Forum, Xu declared his intention to leave his role as Director General, aiming to concentrate all of his efforts on the China Youth Development Foundation and the Narada Foundation.
Due to such a long and busy commitment to the sector, in the past few years Xu has experienced some health problems. Furthermore, he has already reached the retirement age. However, he says that he is not willing to retire just yet. The non-profit sector still has to overcome many obstacles and Xu still believes that he can continue to give an important contribution. Insiders commented that Xu Yongguang has contributed to the charity sector as nobody else has ever done. Xu used “谤随名高” (which means the more famous you are, the more you’ll be slandered) to describe his career in the sector [referring to earlier accusations] and once stated: “I’m continuously pursuing a dream, that is to make charity truly return to the people, to transform it as a personal goal for everyone, and moreover that all the external conditions could support them in achieving this inner need” [Editors note: This quote comes from an interview that Xu gave last year, see here]
Summary by Martina Poletti. Original article can be read here.