Although I have worked in China's nonprofit sector since 1991, 2010 was the most exciting year for new developments in philanthropy in China.
Here are just some of the notable moments:
Social media and public opinion shaped philanthropic policy in China. In response to public dissatisfaction with regulation that required all charitable donations following the Yushu earthquake in Qinghai to be distributed through the provincial government, the Ministry of Civil Affairs established a special office to collect public opinions. With more than 420 million internet users and more than 805 mobile phone users in China, technology and social media are quietly transforming policy making in China as more people proactively share their opinions online.
The Beijing Normal University One Foundation Philanthropy Research Institute was founded, marking the efforts to build the first professional technical and educational academy for philanthropists in China. Using case-based training and tailor-made consulting, the institute trains leaders on foundation formation and professional management and programming.
The China Foundation Center was established after a decade of continued efforts. Its database includes information on foundations' financials, activities, and performance, and is groundbreaking in its attempt to increase transparency, hold foundations accountable, and enable the public to compare foundations online.
Social Innovation Award. This award reinforces Intel's vision and commitment to enhance the value of social investment in China by providing financial and technical support to innovative NGOs across the country.
The Social Innovation Forum in Shanghai—also called the New Philanthropy Carnival—was organized by the China Social Entrepreneur Foundation to catalyze new thinking on addressing China’s social, economic, and environmental challenges. The Shanghai municipal government is one of the first to invest in and support social innovation centers in China.
Thirty-four NGOs released a report on heavy metal pollution from the information and technology sector—a huge milestone in terms of the professional development and growth of NGOs in China.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett held a memorable dialogue with Chinese billionaires about "doing good while doing well." The dialogue generated a nationwide discussion on how wealthy entrepreneurs in China can make impactful social investments and become strategic philanthropists.
Gates Foundation CEO Jeff Raikes met with influential business and foundation leaders in China to generate ideas on catalytic philanthropy—where business and foundations play a unique role in investing in ideas and new innovations that help change the world and make a substantial difference to people who otherwise might not benefit from the market.
Amway was the first multinational company to receive approval to establish a foundation in China, laying the groundwork for other multinationals to increase their commitments to local development.
Cao Dewang, chairman and chief executive of Fuyao Glass Industry Group, established his family foundation, demonstrating an important shift in focus from commercial investment to social investment and creating a model for other philanthropists to follow.
The Jet Li One Foundation was the first private foundation to be legally registered as a public fundraising foundation—a sign that the government is loosening its control over philanthropy by allowing people to raise money for the public good.
BSR launched CiYuan, an initiative that builds innovative, cross-sector partnerships to enhance the value of social investment in China. Working with the Taproot Foundation, BSR will introduce a skills-based volunteerism model in China to leverage corporate human capital to build NGO capacity.