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Foundations in China

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image of The China Nonprofit Review

Foundations are rooted in public interest; they are built from wealth; they are a form of involvement in the public interest for the wealthy; they represent a systemic arrangement in which society may, through organizing, compel the rich to express their concern for society through public-interest donations to the poor; and they are a legal form in which, in the name of the public interest, wealth can be redistributed and perpetuated. After defining foundations, offering a classification, and discussing foundations’ properties, this article endeavors to examine the historical development of foundations in the West and in China, and analyze the unique characteristics of Chinese foundations and their opportunities going forward. It will proceed to analyze the systemic characteristics of foundations’ property rights, introduce the concept of public-interest property rights, discuss foundation governance structures, analyze the basic principles behind foundation legislation, discuss preferential tax policies and innovations in foundation governance, and, finally, raise several policy recommendations for the expansion and strengthening of China’s foundations. This article represents the author’s effort at a general analytic framework for and basic research theory of foundations, based on empirical research, for the reference of his esteemed colleagues.

Affiliations: 1: Wang Ming (), Professor and Director of the NGO Research Institute of Tsinghua University’s School of Public Policy & Management; 2: Xu Yushan (), Ph.D., Tsinghua School of Public Policy & Management; Assistant Researcher at the Shenzhen Municipal Academy of Social Sciences


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