China Philanthropy Summit: Next Generation Philanthropy

At the China Philanthropy Summit last week, there was a session on next generation philanthropy in China, featuring several Indiana University philanthropy graduate students from China as well as Connie Leong, co-founder of Philanthropy in Motion, based in Hong Kong. It was an opportunity to hear about their views on the future of philanthropy in China. Panelists spoke of opportunities even in the midst of challenges.

The challenges:

  • There is still a low level of public understanding of philanthropy in China
  • Philanthropy still seems inaccessible, too daunting, like “a faraway dream”
  • Sometimes a lack of patience in seeing the next generation engage

The opportunities:

  • Engage young people at their level through a gradual learning process about philanthropy
  • The role of teaching in knowledge and skill development, to help young people appreciate the opportunity to make a difference through philanthropy
  • A growing consciousness of giving in China – the development of a desire to give back

How do we capitalize on the opportunities, and provide platforms and forums for young people to take action? Technology and social media certainly have its role in bringing greater awareness and a social aspect to giving.

He Lijun, one of the speakers, shared:

Technology helps giving become a greater part of a young person’s identity…However, as pervasive as technology is, the actual network building and physical connections are still important, and those who are more experienced can help provide those pathways to relationship building. More and more [young people] seek to be responsible global citizens, and want to develop their character through philanthropy.

It was encouraging to hear from the panelists about their optimism for philanthropy in the future and how it can shape Chinese society for the next generation. As public policy in China develops to encourage philanthropy and build capacity (and trust) of nonprofit organizations, and as there are more role models for philanthropy that encourage giving at all levels (and not just for the wealthy elite), young people in China will see philanthropy as an avenue to do good.

About the Author

andyhoAndrew Ho is a philanthropic advisor with an extensive background in research, program design, and strategy at Kordant Philanthropy Advisors. He previously served as lead global philanthropy program staff for the Council on Foundations, where he led the Council’s global outreach efforts through identifying, developing, and stewarding collaborative relationships with foundations and stakeholders engaged in global philanthropy. He has also worked closely with family philanthropies to advise on philanthropy strategy and best practices, and developed programs for next generation foundation trustees and staff. Andrew is a frequent speaker on philanthropy and has presented on topics such as global philanthropy trends, and philanthropy in China.