Should Chinese foundations start investing?

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Foundations in China aren’t investing. While making investments and ensuring financial sustainability are key interests of foundations based abroad, many factors have held Chinese foundations back from investing their endowments, from lack of know-how and risk-averse thinking to narrow regulations.

According to the Foundation Regulations of China, foundations’ annual expenditure on charity projects should not be less than 70 percent of the previous year’s total income. This leaves little room for organizations to invest, let alone make gains.

However, the nascent market provides ample room for growth and learning. Looking to mature foundations overseas, long-term investment can generate sustainable funding for good causes.

Organizations operating in this field and regulators should start considering charitable investment as vital to the sustainable development of China’s philanthropy sector.