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Private foundations outnumber their public counterparts

By He Dan (China Daily)

10:43, November 25, 2011

BEIJING - For the first year ever, more private foundations are operating in China than public ones.

At the same time, those private foundations are finding that they lack the trained professionals and managers they need to function well, according to a recent research report.

At the Third China Private Foundation Forum on Thursday in Beijing, Beijing Normal University's school of social development and public policy released a report on the development of private foundations.

China Foundation Center, a non-governmental philanthropic information provider, said 1,324 private foundations are now operating in China, 131 more than the number of public foundations that are in existence.

Figures from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, meanwhile, show the number of private foundations increased from 253 in 2005 to 1,065 in 2010. During the same period, public foundations went from being 721 in number to being 1,078.

In 2010, private foundations' revenue increased to more than 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion). That came mainly from donations, investments and government departments' grants.

The report also said public foundations are better at raising money than private ones. They brought in more than 27 billion yuan this past year.

China began placing charity foundations into two categories in 2004 after issuing its Regulations on Foundation Management.

In China, an individual, a corporation or an academic institution can set up a private foundation using a fund containing a minimum of 2 million yuan. Such foundations are forbidden from raising money from the public.

Private foundations have taken on larger roles in ensuring that money and supplies go to providing relief from disasters, alleviating poverty and protecting the environment, said Sun Weilin, a senior official in charge of the management of non-governmental organizations under the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

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