Founded in May 2007 by Zhou Qingzhi and Xu Yongguang, at a time when most of the country’s existing foundations were operating foundations, Narada Foundation was the first grantmaking foundation in China dedicated to providing financial support to grassroots NGOs. Its vision is of ‘a fair and just society where every heart carries hope’. Since its founding, the philanthropy scene in China has changed dramatically. Alliance’s Andrew Milner asked Narada’s President and co-founder, Xu Yongguang what the main changes are, how attitudes of the Chinese government and society have shifted and what the prognosis is for the future of philanthropy in the country .
Xu Yongguang, President and Co-Founder of Narada Foundation, Beijing
How has the legislative environment for philanthropy changed in China in recent years? Has it, for example, become easier for philanthropic institutions like foundations or charities to set up and operate?
During the past few years, the legislative environment for philanthropy has had major advances. A series of new laws to regulate philanthropic organisations has been passed, such as the Administrative Measures for Charitable Organisations' Fundraising and the Administrative Measures for Charitable Organisations' Information Disclosure. But perhaps the most important step was China’s Charity Law, which was passed in March 2016. It’s the first legislation in China specifically made to address the development of the philanthropic sector. The law’s greatest significance is in clarifying the relationship between the philanthropic and non-profit sector and the government. It helps secure the legitimate interests of philanthropic and non-profit organisations, donors, beneficiaries, and other participants in the sector as well as clarifying the responsibility of government to advance and supervise the sector. It also prevents other practices which public foundations with a government background used to indulge in. Previously, for example, the donations raised from the public by those foundations would be distributed together with government funds as public funds for, for instance, disaster relief. These kinds of behaviour are prohibited by the Charity Law.