Asian Philanthropy News Digest 04/21/2011

* Council on Foundations names new managing director of global philanthropy. John Harvey joins the Council after serving for nearly a decade as founding executive director of Grantmakers Without Borders, a funder affinity group whose members support development and human-rights programs in the southern hemisphere. In his new capacity, he will design the global leadership role of the Council and oversee implementation of the global philanthropy strategic plan. Harvey will direct efforts to identify trends in international grantmaking to design programs, workshops, and briefings that address the needs and interests of global grantmakers.

* Chinese Red Cross sets up first domestic donor database. The Donor Database Center is claimed to be the first such database of its kind in China. According to officials, the Center would allow the organization to provide follow-up services to donors. The first batch of “charity ask” letters encouraged citizens to join the donor database so they can keep up with latest news and to track their donations.

* Chen Guangbiao: China’s Charity Champion. Guiangbiao is in the news again, this time in Fast Company magazine. It was great to see the author acknowledge that charitable giving existed many years ago. According to Caroline Reeves, a historian at Emmanuel College in Boston, that began to change with the arrival of American missionaries in the late 19th century. “One of the reasons they gave for being there was to help the poor Chinese,” she says. “Because of that need to justify their existence in China, they downplayed China’s own charity. That attitude, that denial of reality, is still very strong today.”

Another interesting factoid: On September 29, 2010, a government directive was issued that said simply: “All newspapers are forbidden from reporting negative news about Chen Guangbiao.”

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