Chen Shuhui, Project Hope Donations Director and Beijing Youth Development Fund Secretary-General, discusses the culture of philanthropy in Beijing. Speaking from her experience with Project Hope since 1999, Chen explains how in the 1990’s, Project Hope’s focused on giving to China poorer provinces. But many people locally in Beijing need help as well. In response to two studies about student poverty in Beijing, Project Hope established two scholarship programs, the Star of Hope (1+1) Scholarship (希望之星(1+1)奖学金 ) for primary and middle school students, and Sunlight Students (学子阳光) for college students. These two programs have been well received, and many funding relationships between sponsors and funded families have lasted over ten years.
Speaking more generally about the culture of giving in China, Chen explains how Project Hope is trying to promote a donation model in which many people, not just the most wealthy, give small donations to causes regularly. For some Project Hope initiatives, how many people participated and donated was just as important to them as the amount of money raised. The hope is to popularize the “impulse of charity” and integrate a spirit of giving into Chinese people’s daily lives.