Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Policy change over time at home and elsewhere

I think it is pretty interesting that the Chinese have launched the China Foundation Center (CFC). A research center on philanthropy at Beijing Normal University also launched this year.

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.


Anonymous said...

You can also have a look at the 2010 Hurun Report, which lists the biggest philanthropists and the most popular causes in China There are 875,000 people in China with personal wealth of over RMB 10 million today, and 55,000 individuals with over RMB 100 million. China just had their first billionaire philanthropist. You can also find a post on Chinese relationship with Africa to build cooperation between their respective civil society cooperation to help carry out development work in the GuideStar International blog The link between distribution and use of money from Chinese philanthropists and the involvement of civil society organisations would be worth examining.

Lucy Bernholz said...

thanks for these resources!

Tim Delaney said...

Thanks for inviting comments supplying thoughts and resources regarding Congresswoman McCollum’s bipartisan legislation, the Nonprofit Sector and Community Solutions Act. The National Council of Nonprofits worked closely with Congresswoman McCollum’s office on the creation of this bill, which is designed to strengthen the nonprofit community and its relationship with the federal government.

The legislation would take a giant step toward fixing government in three fundamental ways that hurt nonprofits and the communities we serve: lack of communication, lack of coordination, and lack of information. The express goal of the legislation is to make "the Federal Government a more productive partner with nonprofit organizations." Nonprofits serve the same individuals and communities as governments; for the public good, we should be working as equal and independent partners to address the needs of the constituents we share in common.

For more information about this landmark legislation, I invite you and your readers to visit our website, where we have posted a one-page policy briefing, additional information, and a place for nonprofits to sign up to show their organization's support.

Tim Delaney
President & CEO
National Council of Nonprofits

Lucy Bernholz said...

Thanks for all this information - I - and I hope the readers of the blog - appreciate it. I will review and would love to follow up with any questions.

I'm struggling at the highest level with the need for a federal body to interface with nonprofits. Given diversity in sector, can one body do this? should one body?

Other large question - why now? How does this relate to growing role of social enterprise and social finance, NON-nonprofit producers of social goods?

As I said in the post, I'm just looking into it all now, going in with open mind so hoping to gather as much information, as many viewpoints as I can - hope others will chime in