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April 11, 2009

China's version of donor directed funds?

Cellphone Fellow bloggers over at China Philanthropy just posted something interesting happening in Chinese philanthropy.  The Chinese Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, a government-run entity launched a program called "All Citizens Charity Program" for the common-folks.  Is this China's way of "democratizing" philanthropy?   Perhaps it is a micro version of a donor-advised fund? The author, Leo links to the article in which the news appeared but unless you can read Chinese, I highly recommend just reading his post, Set Up Your Own Foundation in China - for Just 5RMB.  An excerpt is below:

Apparently, having a private charity foundation with your name attached is no longer a privilege reserved for the wealthy. According to a report by the Beijing Times (March 31st, 2009), the only requirement is to wire a minimum of 5 RMB (USD 0.73) per month to the Chinese Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFFPA), a government-run foundation.

On April 1, 2009, CFFPA officially launched the program called "All Citizens Charity Program" in which every Chinese citizen can set up a "foundation" in his own name simply by maintaining ongoing monthly donations.  To participate in the program, an applicant can either fill out a survey conducted by CFFPA about what areas of social need to give to or send a text message with their preferences.  CFFPA will reply by sending back a confirmation.  Once the applicant confirms the information, the "foundation" is considered established.

CFFPA will manage these mini-foundations and report to donors through text messages.  Donors will also be able to monitor the use of their money by texting the same number they used to set up their foundation. Once the funds in an individual’s account reach an amount sufficient to support a charity, the CFFPA will transfer the funds to a project that corresponds to the sponsor's preferences.  Every year, CFFPA will merge accounts with similar giving preferences that lack enough funds to an entire project.

Photo courtesy of Samantha Celera


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