Sunday, April 2, 2017

My Voluntas article on Divergent Pathways of Chinese Foundations and Grassroots NGOs

About two years ago, I wrote a paper for the China Philanthropy Initiative titled, "Same Bed, Different Dreams: The Divergent Pathways of Foundations and Grassroots NGOs in China." After several revisions, that paper was recently accepted for publication by Voluntas: the International Journal for Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, and is now available here for viewing but not for downloading.

I'm particularly proud of this article because it addresses what I felt was a very important practical and political issue if China's civil society was to maintain its rapid development, and that is to find creative ways to tap into local funding and resources. This issue has become even more pressing now with the Overseas NGO Law which will make it more difficult than ever for foreign funding to support the work of grassroots NGOs, particularly those doing more sensitive work.

Here is the paper abstract: 

The rapid rise of high-wealth individuals and foundations in China should be good news for China’s grassroots NGOs whose continued growth depends critically on their ability to mobilize domestic resources. As a number of Chinese philanthropy practitioners have noted, Chinese foundations and NGOs should be natural allies and strategic partners. Yet the reality is very different as foundations currently provide very little support to NGOs, particularly the more independent, grassroots NGOs that have few ties with the government. This paper examines the disconnect between Chinese foundations and grassroots NGOs, and whether progress is being made in closing the gap betwee n them. It argues that one of the main reasons for the gap has to do with their very different development paths, which have engendered signicant structural and cultural differences between the two. It also highlights some cases of promising foundation-NGO collaboration.

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