Liu Wenkui: Co-operation between foundations and grassroots organizations
China Philanthropy Advisors 公域合力, March 7, 2014
In this article, the vice-president of the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, Liu Wenkui, shares his opinions about the importance of effective co-operation between foundations and grassroots organizations.
Liu highlights how deeply the function of foundations has been changing over the past few years. From being merely a funding provider, nowadays foundations have become complex systems that are more oriented towards problem-solving. He explains that, according to how the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation works for the resolution of social issues, there are five ways to approach problems: identifying it; studying it; suggesting a solution; mobilizing resources; and, once the goal has been accomplished, disseminating the results. Recently, however, analysis has shown that the foundation cannot rely purely on its own resources, because it lacks the expertise for effectively facing certain issues. This is the point where close collaboration with grassroots organizations becomes a key factor, due to their closer links to the areas and people that require help.
This cooperation must follow some rules, as Liu suggests. Grassroots organizations must be highly competent in their field and with long-term projects to implement, in order to improve their know-how and abilities. Foundations aim at finding the most skilled partners for carrying out effective programs, and taking care to avoid a wasted allocation of resources. If an organization fails to effectively solve a problem and wisely use funding, foundations will no longer foster any collaboration. Clearly, many grassroots organizations still need time to grow and show their value but, according to Liu, what Chinese foundations look for now are specialized grassroots organizations, able to address specific problems and to promote social progress.
Summary by Martina Poletti. Original article can be read here.