By Karla Simon
Commentators both inside and outside China have made recent upbeat statements about philanthropy in the country. Li Liguo, the Minister of Civil Affairs, has stressed repeatedly that philanthropy in China is growing and needs to be harnessed to help China succeed in
addressing its social and economic ills. Wang Zhenyao, a leader of the philanthropy movement and Dean of the Philanthropy Research Institute at Beijing Normal University, has stressed the need for the wealthy to engage with civil society in a meaningful manner. He has also noted the importance of training a new generation of foundation leaders to take on the burdens of management for the future. Even Bill Gates recently said how excited he is that philanthropy is growing in China. According to Xinhua he quoted a proverb: "Remember what you have received. Forget what you gave."
Responding to the needs of China's poor and underprivileged is increasingly being seen by the wealthy as a joint commitment of government and individuals and corporations, as the following reports suggest. These reports discuss important trends with respect to different sectors of the donor community external donors, companies, and families.
Report on Giving by External Donors
The first report is a blog post in the Stanford Innovation Review, which discusses the timing of reaching out to China, focusing principally on external donors. It suggests that people and institutions should become involved in this emerging field sooner rather than later. Katharine Marshall, who wrote the blog post, has done extensive research in China.