Research Report on Cultivation and Operation Modes of Community Foundations
Since the concept and policy of "community building" was first introduced in 1990s, China’s community building has been carried on for more than two decades. Over the two decades, the urban community management system reforms and the community service system building has achieved fruitful results, while at the same time still facing dilemmas in governance transformation and problems of insufficient supply of public services. In order to strengthen the self-governance and service capacity of the urban and rural communities, the National Twelfth "Five-Year Plan" has clearly put forward the urge to actively foster social organisations featuring community services, public welfare and mutual benefit; to guide various social organisations and volunteers to participate in community management and services; to encourage locally-adaptable innovative community management and service models; and to accelerate the establishment of ensured funding mechanisms with combined contributions from both the government and the society. In recent years, the local governments around the country continue to increase investment into actively cultivating and developing social organisations featuring community services, public welfare, and mutual benefit; and they have become the bridge for residents to participate in community building. But generally speaking, the atmosphere of the whole society has not yet formed; there’s lack of ability for social to participate in community building; there’s lack of sustainability in financial support and assurance; and in particular, the funding assurance mechanism for social investment hasn’t really been set up yet. As a result, the development of community social organisations is still in its infancy, featuring only small number and in small scale. In addition, as the majority of the community organisations have been cultivated with financial support from government, no effective governance mechanism has been established in the conversion process of community public welfare resources.
"Community Foundation" originated in the United States in 1914, and its global development now has a history one hundred years, and has accumulated a full range of relatively mature operation models. According to the experience of global development, the mission of community foundations is to engage in local public welfare and charitable projects. They raise funds from local residents, businesses, government, non-profit organisations and other foundations. The Board which is made up of community residents is responsible for managing the foundation, and carrying out projects through a third party non-profit organisation, solving problems faced by the community, and providing services to the donors to help them achieve objectives of public interest, where the operation should remain transparent. Also, the funded projects mainly focus on local stakeholders, as the link between the community needs and local resources. Community foundations tend to have a profound impact on the public services and social governance of a place.
Different from the booming of community foundations in the world, those typical public-supported community foundations in the United States didn’t appear in China. It is because the development of China’s modern philanthropy and foundation is still in its early stage, and the foundation-related system arrangements have not been able to provide sufficient space for the development of community foundations. Community organisation is defined as all kinds of social groups and private non-business organisations individually or jointly conducted by community-based organisations or individuals in the community (town, street), to carry out activities within the community in order to meet the different needs of the community members, where foundations are excluded. This is large cause by the current foundation registration management system. And it is especially important to stress that after the "community" concept was introduced to China, its scope and function have become very different from the western community. However, we still believe that community foundations with the fundamental characteristics featuring local resources, local stakeholders, local solutions, will be an important reference in solving China’s community governance difficulties and the problem of insufficient community services.
China has already started the exploration and trail in fostering and developing community foundations. As presented in this paper, the Shenzhen government guided cultivation and operation mode emphasizes on creating a favorable policy environment on a macro level for the establishment and development of community foundations, including the initial fund, registration and management, professional talent training, tax and other support measures; while the social-oriented cultivation and operation mode with the Taoyuanju Foundation as a typical example, put more emphasis on providing direct support for the internal capacity building of community foundations, including providing funds, venues, and operational support for relevant projects. This topic aims to explore the policy and legal system for fostering and developing community foundations in China, to summarize the paths and methods in the cultivation and development of the existing service-oriented community foundations, to advocate strong support for the development of community charitable organizations, to establish a standardized system for urban community services, and to provide effective solutions for community governance and service model innovations.
This research will focus on the current community building process and the exploration and practice of community Foundation as the research object, to research on the function and value of cultivation and development of community foundations in the community building in China as well as research on the existing policy and legal issues, and to summarise the experiences in the cultivation and development, operations and management, policy support for community foundations as well as the standardization and system building of community service.
The main research methods include:
1) Literature search. It conducts a comprehensive search of the existing literature on the community foundation researches, including foreign literature.
2) Case study. It conducts case studies and summarise the lessons learned on the local system innovation featuring Shenzhen Municipal Government supported community foundation, Taoyuanju Public Welfare Foundation and its supported community foundations.
3) Targeted interviews. It conducts interviews of relevant stakeholders involved in the development process of community Foundations.
4) Investigation and analysis. It conducts field investigation in the community where the community foundation was proposed to establish, and it analyse the overall situation of the capacity building of each community, and the problems that community governance and services are facing, the development of the community public welfare, the development of community social organizations, social organizations’ involvement in community governance and services, the status of community asset management, as well as the service demand of the community residents and community organizations etc.
5) Comparative study. Necessary research and summary will be conducted on the development of the Community Foundations in USA, Hong Kong SAR and Taiwan.
6) Seminars. It will organise a number of small-scale seminars during the research process, in order to understand various views and comments.
1) Main viewpoints
The main point of this research report are as follows: Cultivation and development community foundations with Chinese characteristics will encourage and guide charity donors to show interest in community affairs, to facilitate the development of community charitable organizations, and also to provide sustainable financial support in cultivating other community services and public welfare oriented social organizations, to fully open up the channels for community public welfare resources, to improve the community public service system, and to improve community livelihood and public welfare, and to create new community governance and service models.
Currently China doesn’t have a system design for community foundations. Therefore, to establish a comprehensive policy support system will help the development and regulated operation of community foundations.
In order to promote the development and regulated operation of community foundations, we also need to refine a standardized operational and management system for community foundations and a standardized system for community services on the basis of the current experience.
2) This topic has theoretically innovative significance and practical values
Firstly, in the process of a comprehensive community building in China, and the development of community foundations can meet the many practical needs in the community governance, acting as the spokesperson for the community public interest in order to effectively address the issues of the motivations of the subject of community governance, the cost and management capacity. Although China has no specific types of community foundations, the foundations can be set up and registered in accordance with the foundation management system. Currently there is a sophisticated legal system and management system for foundation Management, especially that there are existing laws to follow regarding the governance structure of the foundations. Good governance structure can ensure standardized operation of the foundation. The board of the foundation is mainly made up by representatives of the local residents, stakeholders, government representatives, experts and scholar, in order to best reflect the public interest of the community. At the same time, the community foundation can become the platform for integrated use of public resource. It can not only be authorised by the government to manage specific funds, but also provide services for the donors who are interested in community welfare. The professional operation of the foundation can facilitate the effective allocation and use of various public resources of the community.
Secondly, community foundations can promote community governance mechanism innovation through conversion of public resources, and overcome current administrative tendency of self-governed community organisations and the difficult situation of insufficient community involvement and lack of self-governance capacity. Public resources not only refers to funds, but also include manpower, material resources, mentality and policy etc. Community foundations can seek donations and volunteer services from the community residents, businesses and organisations, so as to increase community service resources and improve community participation. It can also seek support and cooperation of the government, and access financial subsidies and policy support resources through government procurement services etc., establish a funding assurance mechanism for combined contribution by both government investment and social investment, improve efficiency in the use of funds and resources through innovative management, and solve the various problems faced by the community more effectively.
3) The research results of this project is to summarize and refine the existing experiences, and can be directly used to guide the practice of fostering and developing community foundations.
The research team of this project was formed after full consideration of the need for the research. The team mainly consists of the following members: some are experts and scholars from various domestic and overseas university research institutions including Jinping Jin (Director of the Research Center for Non-profit Organizations Laws, Peking University), Guosheng Deng (Director and professor of the Innovation and Social responsibility Research Center, Tsinghua University), Jintang Chen (Principal Lecturer and Associate Professor, Department of Applied Social Science, Hong Kong Polytechnic University), Yanyan Yu (Director of the City Institute and Director of Community Research Centre, Beijing Academy of Social Sciences), who have long been engaged in theoretical research on community building and social organizations, and also have extensive experience in social practice and surveys; some from the government departments, including Yong Li (Deputy director of the State Administration of Non-governmental Organizations), Yisa Hou (Deputy Director of Shenzhen Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau), Huiqiu Wang (Director of the Disaster Relief and Charity Department of Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs), and Yukun Yi (Researcher of the Disaster Relief and Charity Department of Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs), who have long been engaged in the administration and guidance related to social organizations and charity, and have high policy level and a wealth of practical experience; and some are managers of social organisations, including Aijun Li (Founder and Executive Director of Taoyuanju Public Welfare Foundation), Haoming Huang (Vice President and Secretary General of China International NGO Cooperation Association), Jinxing Rao (Director of the China economic and Social development Research Center in Beijing), Tao Fang (Secretary-General of Shenzhen Charity Association) and Min Zhang (Secretary-General of Taoyuanju Public Welfare Development Foundation), who are very familiar with the actual operation of social organizations, and they represent diverse perspectives. Members of the research team are allocated different responsibilities during the study, and they worked together to ensure this research report is completed on time.