Matthew Hart of The Lafayette Practice traveled to Beijing, China from April 20-29th, 2015. Hart attended and presented at a number of events supported by the Ford Foundation Beijing office to promote participatory (or “peer review”) grantmaking in China, including the formal launch of a Chinese translation of TLP’s 2014 report “Who Decides? How Participatory Grant Making Benefits Donors, Communities, and Movements.” While in China, Hart also had the opportunity to meet with many local activists. Read below for a full report.
TLP extends great appreciation to the Ford Foundation for their support and for this incredible opportunity.
The 2014 “Who Decides” report was sponsored by the Levi Strauss Foundation.
Chinese Translation Report Release
and Participatory Grantmaking Workshops
On April 24th, Chaoyang Kangzhong Health and Education Service Center, a well-established health NGO, hosted the report launch and related workshops. TLP’s Matthew Hart gave a presentation about the report for approximately 70 participants from Chinese foundations and NGOs from all over China, with organizational focus on diverse issues ranging across health issues, education, environment, post-disaster relief, and sexual health/reproductive rights. Next, two well-known figures from the Chinese philanthropy scene then commented on the report: Xu Yongguang, chairman of the board of Narada, one of China’s best-known foundations; and Kang Xiaoguang, Director of Renmin University NPO Research Center, both of whom were resoundingly positive about the content.
Next, a group of speakers explored different examples of participatory grantmaking models, best practices, and impacts, and demonstrated that participatory grantmaking can be effective in China and internationally: Meng Lin, China Alliance of People Living with HIV/AIDS; Wang Longxi, Marie Stopes International China Youth SRHR Fund; Mukami Marete, UHAI – The East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative; and Devi Leiper, FRIDA Young Feminist Fund.
The following afternoon and the second day consisted of a more participatory and smaller scale workshop for 30 or 40 participants, and focused on the why and how of participatory grantmaking, including many who are already using participatory grantmaking methods.
Additional Lectures and Meetings
While in Beijing, Hart had a full schedule of meetings and presentations. Hart gave three additional talks: at the Beijing Normal University, China Philanthropy Research Institute, on participatory grant making; at the Foundation Center, Beijing University (Fan Yanchun), on donor collaboratives; and a lunchtime talk on participatory grant making for all Ford staff and a few grantees in the Ford office. These talks and presentations offered opportunity to meet and talk (through simultaneous translation) with a wide range of researchers and professionals from NGOs and foundations from across China. Hart also met with members of feminist, LGBT, and sex worker rights organizations, student organizers, The American Bar Association of China, and more.
In response to these events, conversations about participatory grantmaking have been active on Chinese social network WeChat in philanthropy and Sexual Health/Reproductive Rights circles. A WeChat group set up for conference participants and discussion is also active. China Development Brief, a popular information resource for civil society organizations in China. Beijing Normal University, China Philanthropy Research Institute posted the Chinese report on their WeChat and microblog.