Venture philanthropy (VP) traces its roots back to the United States in the 1990s. In 2009, the Shanghai municipal government launched a “Shanghai Community Venture Philanthropy Competition”, the first large-scale venture philanthropy experiment organized by a governmental body in China. This article uses on-site surveying and quantitative analysis to address this mechanism for VP. A comparison of VP abroad and VP in Shanghai reveals that Shanghai’s VP resembles a hybrid model: it borrows basic ideas from VP as practiced abroad, yet retains features of traditional charitable grantmaking. As a new model for cultivating NPOs, VP introduces strong elements of efficiency and accountability and has the potential to transform the third sector as we know it. Finally, the article presents several problems facing venture philanthropy in Shanghai and offers some thoughts on possible policy solutions.
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