Think about it - if you were the most populous country in the world, with one of the fastest growing economies (with all the accompanying good and bad that comes with that) and a rapidly shifting philanthropic sector -- what type of supports for this emerging sector would you build out first? Technical Assistance? Advocacy? A data center? Research? Legal and financial agents, shared space providers, trade publications, professional development providers?
Philanthropy in China is, of course, not new. Foundations as an institutional form, including many of the 1800 whose data will be archived at the CFC are relatively new, as the country continues to shift the roles of the government and the private sector the third space also shifts.
U.S. news articles about the centers focus on the need for transparency and trust of these new foundations by the people. Of course, the information, data and research conducted by these two centers will also be available to the government. It gives us outsiders a chance to watch the dynamics between philanthropic, public, and private from a distance and ask the questions about roles, accountability, transparency, data, access, and trust that are sometimes (always?) easier to ask of others than of ourselves.
Closer to home I've been thinking about a different kind of development on the public-private-independent relationship front - that of the proposed United States Council on Nonprofit Organizations and Community Solutions that Representative McCollum of Minnesota introduced in the Nonprofit Sector and Community Solutions Act (H.R. 5533). Most of what I've read about the act - which isn't much yet - has been neutral to favorable. I'm not so sure - I am still thinking about it. If you can point me to other resources or thoughts on the bill I'd appreciate it (please note them in comments so all can read)
More to come.