Tao Ze, Li Beiwei, Liu Lei, Li Jing (陶泽、李北伟、刘磊、李劲) (China)
Social Sector Leaders
Title
Tao Ze: Founder and President; Li Beiwei: Secretary-General; Liu Lei: Secretary-General; Li Jing: President (陶泽:创始人兼总裁;李北伟:秘书长;刘磊:秘书长;李劲: 秘书长)
Organization
Tao Ze: Yishan Philanthropy Data Center; Li Beiwei: Yifang Foundation; Liu Lei: TCL Charity Foundation and Huameng Foundation; Li Jing: Sany Foundation (陶泽:易善慈善事业数据中心;李北伟:亿方公益基金会;刘磊:TCL公益基金会及华盟基金;李劲:三一基金会)
Country
China

Tao Ze, Li Beiwei, Liu Lei, Li Jing (陶泽、李北伟、刘磊、李劲) (China)
Social Sector Leaders
Title
Tao Ze: Founder and President; Li Beiwei: Secretary-General; Liu Lei: Secretary-General; Li Jing: President (陶泽:创始人兼总裁;李北伟:秘书长;刘磊:秘书长;李劲: 秘书长)
Organization
Tao Ze: Yishan Philanthropy Data Center; Li Beiwei: Yifang Foundation; Liu Lei: TCL Charity Foundation and Huameng Foundation; Li Jing: Sany Foundation (陶泽:易善慈善事业数据中心;李北伟:亿方公益基金会;刘磊:TCL公益基金会及华盟基金;李劲:三一基金会)
Country
China

Published date: 8 July 2020

The unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has rapidly spread around the world impacting economies, healthcare systems and daily life. The challenges that it poses are real and consequential.

To help policymakers and donors better understand the impact on China’s social sector, CAPS’ Deputy Director of Advisory Services Angel Lin and Research Manager Vincent Cheng (virtually) sat down with Liu Lei, Secretary-General of both the TCL Charity Foundation (hereafter TCLF) and Huameng Foundation, Li Beiwei, Secretary-General of the Yifang Foundation, Li Jing*, President of the Sany Foundation, and Tao Ze, Founder and President of Yishan Philanthropy Data Center. The conversations took place between April 14-20.

CAPS: How has the outbreak affected your work and how are you responding to it?

Liu Lei: As TCLF is embedded in TCL as its CSR arm, we acted very swiftly with the corporate body. First and foremost, we need to protect our employees’ health and safety. We have over 10,000 staff based in Wuhan, six to seven thousands of whom were staying in town within the early outbreak period before the Chinese New Year in late January. We have quickly introduced necessary measures to safeguard their health and as a result don’t have a single infection case among our employees.

Secondly, we started discussing about donations as early as January 24 on Chinese New Year’s eve. Donations were made swiftly by January 26. In total, we donated over RMB 20 million (approximately US$3 million), including cash and gifts in kind, such as electronic appliances to the two Wuhan makeshift hospitals.

Li Jing: The outbreak has had two direct impacts on the Foundation’s work.

Firstly, the communication within our team and with our social sector partners has been affected, given we cannot meet face to face. It has affected our efficiency and relationship building, especially with new partners.

Secondly, some of our offline capacity building and promotion activities had to be cancelled. For example, our flagship 3ESPACE once was an incubation project and now is an NGO community-building initiative. As far as I know, we seem to be the only foundation in Beijing to provide such free space for NGOs’ activities. Sadly, it has not been possible to continue operating 3ESPACE normally during the crisis.

From our end, we had taken early action by supporting social delivery organizations with two rounds of funding before and just after Chinese New Year–half a million RMB (approximately US$70,000) each time. We are a relatively small hybrid foundation (there are two types of foundations in China, operational ones and funding ones) with clear strengths and limitations; hence, we tried to strategically select the most effective intervention within our limited funding. Rather than mobilizing our resources to donate medical supplies—something that has already pulled a huge amount of resources—we decided to support community services that have mostly been neglected yet have big, longer-term impact to society. In short, our support focused on social services like psychological support, community prevention, online diagnosis programs, national foundation coordination and networking, plus related research in said areas. I believe our targeted areas are important especially for the rebuilding of communities in the next stage of the crisis.

On the other hand, with our existing grantees, such as the village revitalization project, we have granted a three months buffer for their project execution, understanding that they have to suspend on-the-ground activities for the moment.

Li Beiwei: The pandemic has little effect on us. The child education, social enterprise development, and elderly care research projects we funded are not much affected by the situation. The two social enterprises we invested in though are affected. They are SMEs that are respectively engaged in the elderly care services and second-hand clothes recycling industry. We have been actively communicating with them and helping them as needed.

Tao Ze: Covid-19 has impacted us in many ways—but more opportunities than challenges I’d say. YISHAN—as a data platform—has a mission to advance the transparency of China’s philanthropic sector. YISHAN has built a platform that has collated donation information on over 50,000 companies as well as the donation requests of over 6,000 charitable organizations. During Covid-19, the public, donors, and charitable organizations have paid greater attention to the issue of transparency as donations have surged. This aligns with and is an opportunity for YISHAN’s advocacy and promotion of data transparency.

The negative impact on YISHAN is that the extra manpower needed to collate the massive amount of donation data out there has made us more cash-strapped than ever. Our work restarted on the eve of Chinese New Year (January 24, 2020), when the government started to mobilize fundraising initiatives, to which society responded quickly. YISHAN had to operate in an almost “wartime mode” working over 15 hours each day to build a data platform, as well as load and release data on this dedicated platform, detailing the donations directed to Covid-19 relief efforts in China.

CAPS: What about going forward? Will you change the way you carry out your work?

Liu Lei: Our major program, the TCL Project Hope Candlelight Award, has been severely impacted. This prize aims to recognize and reward excellent teachers in the rural areas. Normally during this time of the year, we need to visit villages around China for site inspection, and we will bring together selected teachers for award ceremony and training. This kind of offline activities simply could not happen these days. Hence we have decided to defer the selection process till next year (2021).

In general, around 80% of our program work had been either on hold or adjusted, while roughly 20% are online activities which are going as usual. However, since TCLF has a strong business culture and practice, we set strict KPIs earlier, so we don’t sit here and wait. We tried to either adapt existing projects to online mode as much as possible or came up with new innovative projects that don’t require frequent travelling. In fact, we just finalized our new KPI setting based on these new activities.

CAPS: Do you see more local collaboration taking place as a result of this crisis?

Li Jing: In fact, we have seen a plurality of social efforts to help people weather this crisis, including community support measures from the government, donations and provisions from the private sector, and various efforts from social organizations and volunteers. There has not been an overall coordination mechanism, but it seems these vibrant and spontaneous “social organizing” efforts—in the word of Chen Wang, President of the Chinese Academy of Medical Science—laid the foundation towards a successful mitigation of the crisis, if we may say.

Later during the crisis, a China NGO Consortium for Covid-19 was set up in February to provide coordination among foundations and social organizations. Sany Foundation also supported this network, though it’s hard to evaluate how effective this platform is in its early stage.

Tao Ze: There are two noteworthy examples of collaboration that are being led by the Narada Foundation and Beijing Chunmiao Foundation.

Narada Foundation has always focused on ecosystem building and partnerships. Recently, it co-founded a collaborative platform called the China NGO Consortium for Covid-19 (hereafter “CNC Covid-19″), to coordinate amongst funders and NGOs for a more synergistic response to the crisis. Let me give you an example: one organization managed to buy masks and ventilators, but they were unable to send these to Wuhan. Some other organizations with the know-how stepped in and helped with the logistics of getting these supplies to Wuhan.

The platform also serves as an information sharing and facilitation hub. Through this collaborative platform, discussions are organized through Wechat, documents detailing efforts of international disaster-relief responses are translated, and training initiatives are held online to build up the capacity of front-line NGOs. The long-term goal is to establish a coordination mechanism for disaster relief and emergency management, as well as enhance the social sector’s collaboration in China.

Beijing Chunmiao Foundation also established a powerful collaborative network. I should begin with the interesting background of the founder. The founder completed three business school degrees, and her classmates are business owners or chief executives of big corporations in China. During this crisis, these business leaders wanted to help with their resources, but they had no idea what to do or how to do it. Thus, they donated money to Chunmiao to help allocate their resources to those in need.

Chunmiao Foundation thus became a coordinating body, utilizing the founder’s networks to handle procurement and logistics of much-needed medical supplies for hospitals in Wuhan.

Chunmiao essentially functions as a hub that gathers donations from the founder’s network and gets the work done on the ground. Narada, in contrast, established a coordination mechanism to facilitate collaboration through CNC Covid-19.

CAPS: It’s good to hear some of you are supporting collaboration efforts. Do you see this crisis having other longer term implications for the social sector?

Li Beiwei: My personal view is that for social enterprise, I think we should work along the lines of PPP (Public-Private Partnership), which includes stakeholders like the government, the businesses, and their employees. Everyone should work hard together to get through this difficult period.

The government can give tax benefits, reduce the interest rate of loans, and waive rents. Companies should expect to earn reasonably less in this period. For instance, the price of services given to the disadvantaged should also be lowered. Employees should also be conscious of the difficulty of businesses during this period and weather the storm together. This idea of mutual assistance, to me, captures the essence of PPP which benefits the society. This is one of the possible lines to take to persuade the government to prop up social enterprises specifically among the sea of SMEs.

For the wider social sector, if we take the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 as a precedent, the government may entrust more money to the sector to carry out social services at the community level. The clout of the government—as a major procurer even for now—would rise further as social sector’s financial support from other channels dwindles due to the economic downturn. Yet, if the social sector could utilize this tranche of newly available resources, this could well be the beginning of another boom for the sector.

Tao Ze: China’s charitable sector has improved in recording information and data. The scandals that happened over the years have made practitioners realize that more attention has to be paid to transparency. Many stakeholders also want to know the actual donations received by grant recipients, as this piece of information will help them make decisions for future issue-specific donations.

I’ll also pay attention to the roles of and dynamics between GONGOs and NGOs. Figuring these out are important because they offer a glimpse of what China’s future social governance model could be like.

Among these two types of organizations, NGOs symbolize the bottom-up approach and GONGOs top-down. If GONGOs ended up getting the bulk of available resources, this means the top-down approach will dominate the sector, whereas the bottom-up approach will be in its shadow, and vice-versa. That said, we don’t believe the choice of these two approaches will be a zero-sum game, rather it will be more about achieving a dynamic equilibrium that will shape the future pathway of civil society in China.

The exact point of equilibrium will be influenced by the views of government officials, corporations, and leaders of NGOs. The consequence could be very significant if this balancing point is determined wrongly. Nevertheless, this year and the year after is the right time to reshape the direction of China’s civil society.

Liu Lei: Actually I was discussing about social sector’s “self-salvation” with some colleagues earlier (I was a board member in Shenzhen Commonweal Fund Federation).

I think the social sector might not get that much financial aid from the government, because its top priority is to support small and medium enterprises’ survival. On the other hand, it’s unsurprising to hear some companies are going bankrupt in the economic downturn, so grassroot NGOs that rely very much on corporate donations will suffer. Furthermore, it’s difficult and also costly for these NGOs to explore other fundraising models such as crowdfunding on Tencent’s or Alibaba’s platforms. As I mentioned earlier, business thinking and skills are really important to the social sector. Those NGOs that are not agile enough to adapt to changes will face survival issues.

While the majority of social sector organizations are grappling with domestic social issues, for big corporate foundations like ours, we have also been paying attention to the needs of different overseas communities as we expand our philanthropic endeavors abroad. We will continue to do so with more strategic deliberation. This is a big trend and I personally feel it’s a right thing to do.

Li Jing: It’s difficult to predict any trend in China, so I’ll just share some personal observations and thoughts. To most of us, the non-government efforts in this crisis, including those from the private sector, social sector and individuals, are undoubtedly very powerful. What remains a question is how well the government realizes the immense power of these social efforts and how can it recognize and appraise such power?

Our great appreciation to Li Beiwei, Li Jing, Tao Ze and Liu Lei for taking the time to talk with us. We will continue to stay in touch with our partners in China and around Asia as we grapple with the pandemic and its aftermath.

* Mr Li Jing spoke to us in a personal capacity as an experienced philanthropy practitioner.

 

出版日期:2020年7月8日

前所未有的新冠疫情已迅速席卷全球,影响着经济,医疗系统和日常生活。它带来的挑战是真实且重要的。

为了帮助政策制定者和捐助者更好地了解疫情对中国社会部门的影响,亚洲公益事业研究中心(Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society, 以下简称CAPS)咨询服务副总监林卓敏和研究经理张嘉玮,与TCL公益基金会兼华盟基金秘书长刘磊、亿方公益基金会秘书长李北伟、三一基金会秘书长李劲和易善慈善事业数据中心的创始人兼总裁陶泽分别在414日至20日之间进行了访谈。

CAPS疫情如何影响你们的工作?你们怎样去应对?

刘磊:TCL公益基金会作为TCL企业社会责任部门,我们与母公司很快就作出反应。首先,我们需要保护员工的健康和安全。我们在武汉有超过10,000名员工。在爆发的初期,即一月下旬、农历新年之前,有些员工过年回家了,然而厂区大概也留了六七千人。我们迅速采取了必要的措施来保护他们的健康,因此我们的员工是零感染的。

其次,我们早在1月24日春节前夕就开始讨论对外捐赠,并在1月26日迅速作出捐赠。我们总共捐赠了二千万人民币,其中包括现金及物资,如电器等到两家武汉临时救治的雷神山和火神山医院。

李劲:疫情对三一基金会的工作有两个直接的影响。

首先,由于我们无法面对面见面,我们团队内部,以及与合作伙伴之间的沟通受到了影响。它影响了我们工作的进展和关系的建立,特别是与新的伙伴。

其次,我们的一些线下的培训和推广活动也必须取消。例如,我们的旗舰3ESPACE 曾经定位为一个孵化项目,现在是一个主要为NGO提供社区建设空间的一个项目。据我所知,我们可能是北京唯一公开为NGO提供公共活动空间的一个机构。令人遗憾的是,在疫情期间,3ESPACE的运行受到很大的影响。

三一基金会分别在过年之前及之后,就两次拿了五十万支持公益机构作疫情应对。我们是一个相对较小的混合型基金会,有着自身的优势和局限性(中国有两种类型的基金会,资助性基金会和执行性基金会)。因此,我们试图以有限的资金,支持最有效的疫情应对措施。与其动员资源来捐赠医疗用品(已经有大量资源投放在这),我们决定把款项用来支持其他仍未被满足,但对未来的影响比较大的社区服务,比方说心理支持、社区防控、线上医生问诊、全国基金会之间的协作网络的运营,以及在上述领域的相关研究。我认为,我们关注的需求,特别对疫情下一阶段重建社区尤其重要。

另一方面,对于我们现有的合作伙伴,比方说一个小区优化管理项目,因为它们花了很多心思做 社区的应对,我们会给它们原来的项目三个月的缓冲延期。

李北伟:这次疫情对我们的影响不是很大。亿方公益基金会资助的儿童教育,社会企业发展和养老创新研究项目不会受到很大影响。我们投资的两家社会企业则受到影响,一家中小型企业是做养老服务,另一家是做二手衣服回收。我们一直在与他们积极沟通,并根据需要提供帮助。

陶泽:疫情对我们带来一些正面和负面的影响,但是正面的相对会多一些。易善作为一家数据平台,目的是为了推动中国慈善行业的透明度。易善已经搭建的平台已经采集了超过五万家公司的捐赠信息,与六千家慈善组织的募捐信息。新冠疫情这种大型社会事件带来的大额的捐助,让公众、捐赠人和慈善组织都更加关注信息透明度。这与易善一直倡导的数据透明度这个理念一致,这也对倡导有积极的作用。

相对负面的影响就是,整理大量捐赠数据所需的额外人力资源,把大量的现金流消耗掉了。我们基本上从大年二十九就全员开始上班,当时政府开始动员募捐,社会也开始募捐了。易善平均每天以超过15个小时,像“战时状态”运行,以搭建数据平台,采集数据,及时的发布数据,并详细列出有关中国新冠疫情应对的捐款。

CAPS那么接下来呢?您们会改变这些工作的开展方式吗?

刘磊:我们的主要项目,TCL希望工程烛光奖计划,受到严重影响。该奖项旨在表彰和奖励农村地区的优秀教师。通常,在每年的这个时候,我们需要走访中国各地的村庄进行实地考察;我们也会召集特选的老师进行培训及出席颁奖典礼。这段时间,这种线下活动根本就不能够开展。因此,我们决定将选拔流程推迟到明年(2021年)。

总的来说,80%左右的项目需要暂缓或者调整,而占20%的线上活动,则可以继续做。然而,由于TCL公益基金会具有很强的企业文化和实践方式,我们会调整在早期设置的严格的KPI ,然后对我们原有的项目做创新。我们把将原有项目能够转到线上的转线上,不能转线上的就发起不需要频繁出差的新项目。实际上,我们刚刚才根据这些新活动确立了新的KPI。

CAPS您是否认为这次危机会促使更多本地合作?

李劲:我们看到了多种社会力量的参与,帮助人们度过这场疫情。这包括政府的社区支援措施、企业的捐助,及社会组织和志愿者的各种努力。目前还没有一个统筹机制,但用中国医学科学院院长王辰院士的话来说,中国社会的组织化到了一定的程度,可以理解为成功缓解疫情奠定了基础。

在疫情后期,”抗击新冠疫情社会组织协作网络”在二月成立,为基金会及社会组织作出协调。三一基金会也有支持这个网络,尽管在早期阶段很难评估这平台的效益。

陶泽:我可以举两个例子,一个是南都公益基金会,一个是北京春苗基金会。

南都公益基金会平时特别注重行业的生态建设、网络和伙伴关系的建立。它第一时间就发起了这个叫“抗击新冠疫情社会组织协作网络”,以协调捐款人和慈善组织一同应对这个疫情。让我给你举个例子:一个组织得到了口罩和呼吸机,但他们运不到去武汉。有组织知道怎么运,就帮助把这些物资运过去。

这个平台还充当信息分享和促进中心。通过这个协作平台,大家可以组织在微信群里面讨论,翻译国际一些救灾的文档,然后组织在线培训工作,增强前线公益机构的能力。长期目标是建立救灾和应急管理协调机制,并加强中国社会部门的合作。

北京春苗基金会也建立了强大的协作网络。它的创始人很有意思。她读了三家商学院的学位,而她的同学全是企业的大老板。出现这个疫情的时候,这些企业家都希望能够出一分力,但都不知道怎么干。因此,他们给春苗捐钱,让春苗帮助大家做协调,把资源有效调拨。

春苗基金会从而成为一个协调平台,利用创始人的网络来处理医疗用品采购和物流,送到武汉的医院。

春苗实质上是一个枢纽,从创始人网络募款,到组织发放,都扮演重要的角色。相反,南都则建立了协调机制,通过协作网络促进社会组织之间的协作。

CAPS很高兴听到你们中有些人支持协作的工作。您是否认为这场疫情对社会部门还有什么其他长期的影响?

李北伟:我个人的观点是,对社会的企业,我认为我们应该沿着PPP(公私营合作),利益相关者包括像政府,企业和员工。每个人都应该共同努力,度过这个艰难的时期。

政府可以让税、降低贷款利率、免租金等等。公司应期望在此期间的收入减少一些。例如,还应降低为弱势群体提供服务的价格。员工应该意识到在此期间的业务困难,并共同度过难关。对我来说,这种互助的想法抓住了使社会受益的PPP的精髓。这是说服政府在海量的中小企业之中特别扶持社会企业的一个方向。

对于更广泛的社会部门,如果我们以2008年汶川地震为先例,政府可能会调拨更多资金用于该部门,从而在社区层面提供服务。由于经济不景气,政府身为主要采购者的影响力,会因社会部门的其他财政来源减少,而进一步上升。但是,如果社会部门可以充分利用这些新的资源,那很可能是该部门另一次爆发增长的契机。

陶泽:中国的慈善行业信息化水平在不断的提升。过去这么多年发生过的丑闻,令大家都意识到要比较注重透明度。许多利益相关者还希望知道慈善组织收到的实际捐款,因为这些披露将会帮助他们要针对特定社会议题捐款的时候作出决定。

我也会关注官办与和民办公益机构之间的角色和互动。弄清楚这方面比较重要,因为它们可以让我们了解中国公民社会的走向。

这两种类型的机构,民间机构代表的是一种由下而上的模式,而官办则是由上而下的。如果官办机构拿到更多的资源,这意味着由上而下的模式将主导社会部门,而由下而上的模式将被盖过,反之亦然。纵然如此,我们不认为这是零和博弈,而更要各方面寻求一个平衡点,塑造中国公民社会的未来的路向。

最后的平衡点到底在哪,会受到政府官员,企业和公益机构领导人看待这个事情的看法影响。但如果这个平衡点选错了,将会是很不好的一件事。今年和明年是一个很好的重新塑造中国公民社会发展方向的契机。

刘磊:其实我早前有和一些同事讨论有关社会部门“自我救赎”这个课题(我是深圳市社会公益基金会董事会成员)。

我认为社会部门可能不会从政府那里获得太多财政援助,因为政府的首要任务,是支持中小企业的生存。另一方面,一些企业在经济不景气中破产实在不足为奇,因此非常依赖企业捐赠的草根社会组织将会受到打击。此外,要促使这些非政府组织探索其他筹资模式,例如在腾讯或阿里巴巴的平台上众筹,对它们来说又困难成本又昂贵。正如我前面所提到,商业思维和技能对社会部门确实很重要。不够灵活去适应变化的非政府组织将面临生存问题。

虽然大部分的社会组织合作注重国内社会问题,但像我们这样的大型企业基金会,我们拓展海外慈善事业的时候,也一直在关注海外不同群体的需要。我们会更有谋略地继续这样做。这是一个大趋势,我个人认为这是一件该做的事。

李劲:中国的任何趋势都很难预测,所以我就分享一些个人观察和想法。对我们大多数人来说,政府之外的私营部门、社会部门和个体的志愿者,在这场疫情动员到的力量是非常强大的。政府是否充分认识到这些服务社会的巨大力量,以及如何认识和评估这种力量,则仍然是一个问题。

我们非常感谢李北伟,李劲,陶泽和刘磊花时间作这次的访谈。在继续应对新冠疫情的同时,我们将继续与我们在中国及亚洲其他地区的合作伙伴保持联系。

*李劲先生以资深公益人的身份与我们进行这次访谈。