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English>>China Society

Public to have say on distribution of funds

By Xu Jingxi in Guangzhou  (China Daily)

08:15, October 29, 2012

HK philanthropists ask residents which charities should get money

Residents of Guangdong province will soon be able to vote for which social programs they want to see receive money from a charitable fund set up by the richest people in Hong Kong.

Provincial authorities and the Li Ka Shing Foundation, which supports charitable projects in both the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Chinese mainland, have said they plan to invest 20 million yuan ($3.2 million) in at least 170 public services that are run by social organizations for the benefit of women.

Voters will be able to have a say either online or over the phone on which organizations receive the support.

"By involving the public, the initiative will not only draw people's attention to the protection of women's rights but may also spur people to make donations or even start their own charity projects," Chan Yu, project manager for the Li Ka Shing Foundation, said on the weekend at an event to launch the initiative.

The fund, set up by Li Ka-shing, chairman of the multinational conglomerate Cheung Kong Group, used the same methods to organize Love Ideas Love HK, a philanthropic campaign also supported by the foundation.

According to Chan, social organizations will be placed into various categories according to how much money they request.

Voters will then have two opportunities to pick which projects they think should receive support and those with the most votes in each category will get it.

During each round of voting, Chan said, 40 projects will receive up to 50,000 yuan each; 45 will get 50,001 to 100,000 yuan each; two will get 100,001 to 500,000 yuan each; and one will receive up to 1 million yuan.

"It's the first time citizens in the province, rather than government or foundation officials, have decided which public program should receive money," said Xie Xiaoxie of the Guangdong Women's Federation.

Provincial authorities began entrusting the provision of public services to social organizations this year.

Xie said more than 30,000 social organizations operate in Guangdong, a number that far exceeds the supply of public-program opportunities.

"Social organizations need to learn how to sell their ideas to enterprises and foundations and exploit connections to raise money from 'friends'," she said. "This is especially difficult for small or budding groups.

"This initiative gives social organizations a fair means of competing for public support. We hope it will help small organizations expand."

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