China’s economic reform since the late 1970s has inaugurated a societal restructuring, with profound changes taking place in the outlook on wealth and fortune. In recent years, a distinct group of social actors, the shan’erdai, comprised of the children of the super wealthy, has emerged to play a significant role in social welfare and charity projects. Though there has been some discussion about philanthropy in general and its realization in China in particular, the shan’erdai has received little scholarly attention. This paper identifies some of the defining characteristics of the shan’erdai and examines a modern form of Chinese philanthropy that the shan’erdai practice. Drawing on interviews and publication reviews, we specifically address two central questions: What are the motivations, values, and practices of the shan’erdai? How do the motivations, giving patterns, and modes and technologies of the shan’erdai differ from the parental generation? We sketch the contours of the shan’erdai as a social group and explore the ways through which this shan’erdai experiments with new forms of philanthropy, charity, and social entrepreneurship. Shaped by social and historical formations domestically and on the global stage, we argue that the shan’erdai proactively reformulates the logics of social action for the public good and inspires a novel form of philanthropy in China.
As trends in increasing private wealth around the world continue, understanding the charitable contributions of the extremely wealthy is important. Using the Forbes China Rich Lists and the Forbes China Charity Lists from 2013 to 2017, this study examines the social and economic factors present in the donations of the extremely wealthy whose net worth equals at least 649 million (all amounts expressed in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted) in China. The results indicate that net worth, social status, political connection, and source of wealth are important factors in these donations. Specifically, extremely wealthy individuals with high net worth, social status, and political connections are more likely to be and more frequently on the Charity Lists than extremely wealthy individuals without above characteristics, particularly those in the real estate industry. However, the real estate industry’s effect on the dollar amount of donations is not significant. In contrast, the extremely wealthy individuals in professional, scientific, and technical areas donated significantly more money than their counterparts in other areas.
Using the data from the World Value Survey, this paper uses a comparative lens to assess environmental philanthropy by focusing on four predominantly Chinese societies – mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, which contributes to the debate on whether culture can sufficiently explain cross-regional variation in civic engagement, particularly in the domain of environmental philanthropy. We find that residents in mainland China shared similar environmental concerns and beliefs with people from the other regions, but they are least likely to volunteer, donate, and demonstrate for these causes. After accounting for personal characteristics, the sizeable interregional gaps on pro-environmental behaviors remain. These findings are consistent with the argument that structural differences, particularly the developing nature of civil society in mainland China, hinders environmental civic engagement.
Due to push and pull factors, millions of Chinese migrants fanned out into the Nanyang from the mid-1800s onward. The G1 (first generation) diasporic Chinese left China with a sojourner mentality, compelling their philanthropic action back to motherland China. As G1 diasporic Chinese and their second or third generation ethnic Chinese (G2, G3 …) eventually settled as nationals into various countries in Southeast Asia, their Confucian Chinese values were confronted, severely tested, remolded, and evolved as they assimilated and converged with the political, social, and economic circumstances of the times. With self-help and mutual aid philanthropy, they thrived and prospered in the Nanyang and were soon propelled to lead local communities. As they engendered gratitude to where they built their wealth, raised families, and honored ancestry in their resettled new homes, their loyalties, generosity, and philanthropy also began to shift away from China. This study investigates these traditions, ethos, and value systems through the lens of philanthropy.
The contribution of overseas Chinese to their ancestral homeland in China is an important topic for research. This article uses the concept of diaspora philanthropy to analyze the patterns and mechanisms of philanthropic giving by overseas Chinese to their ancestral hometowns or villages, also known as qiaoxiang. Based on an ethnographic study in Shunde, Guangdong Province, this article argues that Chinese diaspora philanthropy is not just based on a tradition based on the donors’ affinity, emotional ties, and personal relations to their hometowns, but is involved in the historical process organized and strategically orchestrated by multiple actors, including individuals, organizations, and the state. In this process, the associations of overseas Chinese and local governments in China, especial through the cooperation between local “qiao cadres” and leaders of oversea Chinese communities, play important roles in promoting philanthropy and bringing about desirable outcomes. The intersection of push and pull mechanisms in stimulating donor giving constitutes the basic dynamics of contemporary Chinese diaspora philanthropy. This is the reason why philanthropic giving from overseas Chinese continues to rise even as qiaoxiang have been already well developed.
In the early twentieth century, approximately eighty-five percent of the Chinese population relied on agriculture for their livelihood. Aiming to improve the well-being of China’s vast rural population, the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) made their own efforts through conducting philanthropy in rural China. The North China Council for Rural Reconstruction (NCCRR), a RF-funded rural philanthropic program composed of six Chinese institutions, was established in Peiping (Beijing) on April 2, 1936. As a nontraditional and experimental program, the NCCRR brought together the leading professors from various disciplines at different universities into intimate contact with philanthropic and educational activities in rural China. Although the program perhaps pointed to the modest ways in which institutions conducted rural philanthropy, the task of reviving China’s countryside was ultimately too heavy for the RF as a foreign private foundation. Due to complicated circumstances far beyond their control, the RF had to terminate its rural reconstruction work in 1944.
With the idea of governance spreading, governance thinking has also begun being applied in the field of project management, giving rise to an emerging theory of project governance. The nature of charitable organizations and their disadvantage in resource mobilization make it necessary also to apply the idea and analysis framework of governance to project operations and move from project management to project governance. This article will illustrate, through an analysis of the “Aid De facto Orphans” Project that the Changsha City Yuelu District Boundless Love Commonwealth Culture Promotion Association (DAWJ) has launched, that a charitable organization in its process of project governance must also hold fast to its mission and, on the basis of the mission, set objectives of project governance, select partners, build governance mechanisms and control governance performance.
NGOs are faced with the dilemma of action logic in participating in poverty alleviation at the grass-roots level: if they do not embed into local areas, they cannot carry out activities; if they embed too deeply, they will be molded in reverse and cannot realize successful exits. So what action logic will NGOs take in the process of poverty alleviation? Through field observation of H organization which participated in the poverty alleviation project of a pig farm in J village, this paper puts forward the action logic of “soft embeddedness” (SE) on the basis of the theory of “embeddedness” and “soft governance.” SE mainly includes three aspects: the soft relationship embeddedness of culture and custom, the soft resources embeddedness of negotiation by many parties and the soft structure embeddedness of rural regulations and folk conventions. Compared with that of “hard embeddedness” (HE) which emphasizes institutionalism and inculcation, the action logic of SE has its own characteristics. It includes the flexibility of interaction, the strategy of participation and the limited responsibility boundary. The SE action logic helps maintain the autonomy of NGOs, promote the accumulation of village social capital and realize the sustainable development of poverty alleviation projects. At the same time, this paper theoretically complements and extends the interaction between the states and the society as well as the action logic of NGOs in China.
Social enterprises (SE) certification is a process of labeling SE and distinguishing them from other types of organizations. This article centers on the SE certification practices in China’s Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, analyzes their development conditions and compares them in the three areas. The research has found that there are many similarities in certification organizers, essential criteria, SE qualifications, government role, the application of certification results in such areas. Meanwhile, evident differences have also been found, which can be explained from the institutional contexts within which social enterprises grow and the maturity of non-profit sectors in these regions. Through the analysis of SE certification practice in the three areas, this article points out that SE certification practice varies in different institutional contexts, but in general it helps social enterprises to construct a unique and distinct identity so as to better acquire support from the market, government and other entities. At the same time, we should be alert to the “fence effect” when endorsing social enterprises, and avoid setting fine-grained indicators which may bring damage to the diversified ecology of social entrepreneurship.