By Qiu Zhonghui - General Secretary of Amity Foundation
In 1985 a group of Chinese Christian leaders in Nanjing led by Bishop K. H. Ting and Dr. Wenzao Han initiated The Amity Foundation. Over the ensuing three decades, Amity has cooperated with nearly 300 institutions and agencies in more than 20 countries and regions, drawing support for philanthropy from personages both at home and abroad. Amity’s efforts have focused on an array of areas such as urban and rural community development, philanthropy advocacy and support as well as international collaboration. Throughout these three decades, we have raised a total of RMB 2 billion. Our projects have gained more than RMB 1 billion yuan in matching funds from local governments in the target areas, including more than 200 counties, cities or districts in all 31 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions in China. The number of beneficiaries exceeds ten million people.
Amity’s endeavors over the last 30 years have shown the way for Chinese non-government organizations in the sharing of global philanthropic resources, as well as new platforms for revitalizing philanthropy after the Reform and Opening Up of the late 1970s and a special philanthropic zone in China. Over the last decade in particular, the Amity Foundation has been dedicated to innovations in philanthropy like Internet-based philanthropy, social enterprise, the Amity Rengu Nursing Home, Philanthropy Valley, etc. We are currently embarking on a new globalized journey as a contributor to innovation and the drive to globalize philanthropy in China.
Amity projects have focused on community governance through promoting rural community integrated development projects and urban community service. Our working areas include, but not limited to, primary education, environmental protection, and assistance to particular disadvantaged groups. With thousands of such projects, sustainable development in the project areas has been enhanced.
1.1 Rural community development
1.1.1 Community development and environment protection
Amity has implemented over 30 Rural Integrated Development Projects in Hunan, Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, etc., helping establish more than 200 farmers’ autonomous organizations, playing an active role in encouraging villagers’ participation in community construction. Project implementation items, including capacity building, education, health care, farming infrastructure, returning cultivated land to grassland and forests, animal husbandry, green and recyclable energy and cultural preservation have led to ongoing improvement in community economy, eco-environment, health care, education, cultural heritage, and community reconstruction and sustainable development, benefiting a target population of nearly 6 million.
1.1.2 Public healthcare and HIV-AIDS prevention
Based in rural communities, Amity projects have attempted to combine disease prevention and healthcare in integrated community service with an eye to building primary health care networks. To date, these public healthcare and HIV-AIDS prevention drives have run training workshops for 16,000 village doctors and 6,900 township hospital workers in 9 provinces in west China, helped establish hundreds of village clinics in poverty-stricken regions, and launched prevention and treatment campaigns for diseases like iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) and gynecological disease. From the mid-1990s, a series of anti-HIV-AIDS projects were implemented in communities in Yunnan, Henan, Hunan, Guizhou provinces, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and Chongqing Municipality, distributing free anti-virus drugs, peer education among sex workers, micro-credit to People Living with HIV/AIDS, and advocating safe sex behavior to people at high risk and juvenile groups, in order to probe new ways of HIV/AIDS prevention and cure.
1.1.3 Scholarship and orphan fostering
The Amity Foundation has never ceased its attention to disadvantaged rural school-age children. Back to School has provided support for 120,000 middle and primary school children. Project Torch has supported 900 financially-challenged students throughout their college years. With our funding, at least 700 middle and primary schools have had their campuses not only rebuilt or renovated, but also received improved teaching facilities, activity rooms, solar shower rooms, physical exercise and music rooms. Amity’s Orphan Fostering has financed schooling for 13,000 orphans and attempted to carry out psychological care for orphans.
1.1.4 Social welfare
Our social welfare endeavors have stressed medical and educational services for the disadvantaged in social communities, involving 4 major sectors in 12 provinces and regions, namely, collaborative projects with orphanages, special education, medical treatment and rehabilitation and hospice care. Amity has carried out training for eye doctors and eyecareworkers, supported over 100 mobile medical teams of cataract surgeons, with tens of thousands of patients served. Amity also supported rehabilitation therapy for 1400 polio victims, scholarships to disabled children, and integrated education for visually impaired children, The pilot bilingual education projects undertaken in several provinces have reached the international leading level.
1.2 Urban community service
1.2.1 Urban community senior service
Amity Rengu Nursing Home, directly managed by the Foundation, was set up in 2012 under the Civil Affairs Bureau of Qixia District, Nanjing. With a construction area of 10,000 square meters and 240 beds, it has adhered to the mission of offering “individualized and whole-person care”. Through the adoption of proficient models of management and service, Rengu is now housing a comprehensive service team made up of social work professionals, nurses, therapists, and caretakers. We have also served seniors service in more than 10 neighborhoods in the vicinity of Rengu, who count on our professional support and on the Virtual Nursing Home — another Amity project. Through incorporating home, community and institution-based care, we have been exploring and practicing a multi-channel senior service system. Recently we signed an agreement with Jiangsu People’s Hospital to co-found, over the next three years, a pioneering elderly care center integrating medical-residential-caring services.
1.2.2 Service for disabled juveniles
As the first professional non-profit institution in Nanjing, Amity Home of Blessings is dedicated to provide training in skills for daily life, community adaptation and various vocational settings. It received an award as a “Model Shelter & Care Facility” in Jiangsu Province in 2010 from the Jiangsu Disabled Persons’ Federation. The Amity Bakery has been functioning as a professional, safe and fair vocational training base. The above-mentioned efforts, coordinated and backed up by social resource mobilization, will avail trainees a platform for earning their own lives with dignity. The Bakery, as a recipient of the “Pilot Non-government Social Service Institution” award from the China Association of Social Work, has now been transformed into a social enterprise whose advocacy and innovation has received extensive recognition at home and abroad.
1.2.3 Rehabilitation service for children with autism
In 2008, to address the developmental and educational challenges confronting children and their families, we set up the Amity Children Development Center to provide professional assessment, rehabilitation, early intervention and support as well as training and group activities for autistic children and students in primary and junior middle schools and their caregivers. In 2014, the center was appointed by the provincial Disabled Persons’ Federation as the sole institution qualified to host rehabilitation training for children ages 7 to 14 in Gulou District, Nanjing. Additionally, six international symposiums on autism have been important in spurring exchanges and sharing of medical, therapeutic and caregiving expertise and experience.
1.3 Disaster Management
In response to the fire in the Greater Xing’an Mountains in 1987, Amity launched its first-ever disaster relief project — the Greater Xing’an Mountains Construction Reward Fund. Since then, Amity has responded to an average of 2-3 natural disasters every year and has made relief efforts in over 50 major natural disasters, including the floods in East China in 1991, the Yangtze River flood in 1998, and the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008. Amity has left its disaster-relief footprints in more than 20 Chinese provinces, as well as in North Korea, Kenya, the Philippines and Nepal.
After the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, Amity launched a community reconstruction project at Woyun Village in Mianzhu County.The project mobilized the participation of earthquake-affected villagers, aiming to explore a new path of post-disaster reconstruction through both material aid and spiritual support. In April 2015, Amity’s prompt relief response to the earthquakes in Nepal was a landmark in Chinese non-profit organizations’ involvement in international relief efforts.
1.4 International Exchanges and Cooperation
The education and international exchange programs aim to provide equal education opportunities for vulnerable groups and promote intercultural exchanges. Encouraging young people to participate in social services, the programs provide young adults at home and abroad with a platform covering overseas study, volunteering, internship, and interpersonal networking opportunities. With the goal of building the younger generation’s competence in knowledge, volunteerism and innovation, young adults in these programs are imbued with an international view and caring humanism.
For 30 years, these programs attracted more than 2,000 long-term foreign teachers to teach English in colleges in China. The Summer English Program trained over 32,000 Chinese teachers from primary and secondary schools. Thousands of young adults from the United States, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Australian, Japan and other countries, as well as Hong Kong SAR volunteered with the Service Learning Program, which promoted exchanges between Chinese and foreign youth.
For 30 years, Amity has directly received thousands of overseas friends who came to China for cooperation, study and visits. Just during the last ten years, Amity has been visited by many worldwide Christian leaders, including the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, two Archbishops of Canterbury, the General Secretary of the World Evangelical Alliance, the Global South Archbishops, and the Nigerian Bishops. In 2013, US ambassador Gary Locke and Mrs. Sharon Johnston, the wife of the Governor General of Canada, visited the Amity Bakery. In recent years, major foreign media, including ARD Fernsehen, BBC, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and The Financial Times, conducted interviews and reported on the Amity Foundation. As a member of China NGO Network for International Exchanges, Amity actively participated in exchange and cooperation with Africa and was granted special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in 2014. Amity’s non-governmental diplomacy efforts have not only widened its international perspective but also promoted understanding and communication between China and other countries and made contributions to people-to-people friendship and world peace.
II. Amity’s Explorative Efforts
The process of reform and opening-up advances step by step. The government is gradually implementing decentralization and giving more space to non-governmental organizations. Non-governmental organizations make good use of this space and seek greater space. This will create a good mechanism for active interaction between the government and non-governmental organizations. Amity has made considerable explorative efforts in advocacy, support for development of the philanthropy sector, faith-based philanthropy, and social enterprises, with contributions to the formation of an innovative model of social governance.
As an integrated philanthropic organization, Amity has been committed to promoting the wellbeing of the Chinese people. Amity does policy advocacy when solving social problems. When providing services, Amity focuses on people-oriented approaches. Making full play of its role as a non-governmental organization, Amity has facilitated the development of the philanthropy sector in China.
2.1.1 Policy advocacy
When serving vulnerable groups, Amity pays more attention to the common problems faced by these groups. A lot of Amity projects played the role of policy advocacy. Examples include the shift from relief-based poverty reduction in the 1980s to integrated community development-oriented poverty reduction, as well as the upgrade from the Return to Schools project to the Action e10000 project. Advocacy through project implementation made project results visible to the government and the public, leading to wide recognition and changes in policies. As a result, this spreading of Amity’s best practices benefited more people in need of help. Examples include desertification control in Guangxi, IDD (iodine deficiency disease; goiter) prevention and treatment in Gansu, construction of rural clinics in Ningxia, bilingual deaf education, and facilitating the purchase by local governments of social service from non-governmental organizations.
2.1.2 Advocacy on principles
Amity has enjoyed access to international resources from the very beginning. Powered by development principles learned from international partners, Amity has built a set of systems and methods in project and financial management that ensures credibility and transparency. Amity has also gradually formed its own development concepts and methods based on its practices. The examples include the model of Three Participations (the participation of beneficiaries, experts and local governments), the principle of Three Shares (three project stakeholders, i.e., Amity, local governments and beneficiaries share the costs of the projects), and project objectives that emphasize Three Benefits (economic, social and ecological benefits). Helping disadvantaged groups enhance their capacity, Amity specially highlights the value of human-oriented development.
2.1.3 Advocacy on the sector
In response to the scandals in the philanthropy sector, Amity launched the san ming principles of transparency (mingxing), wisdom (minghui) and virtue (mingdao), which warmed the sector that was then suffering a “winter of scandals” and helped restore public confidence in China’s philanthropy sector. Transparency (mingxing) refers to the publication of rules, procedures, inputs and outcomes of philanthropy projects that would allow information to be accessible to the general public for the sake of participation and monitoring. Amity improved its project management and financial management systems and openly disclosed the use and result of each donation. Wisdom (minghui) refers to the maximization of philanthropic outcomes through scientific, professional, efficient and innovative operation and management. Amity has raised its capacity while making innovative and practical efforts to become more professional and efficient. Virtue (mingdao) refers to the recognition of moral and ethical principles revealed in philanthropic projects rather than direct and visible outcomes. Amity has been advocating equality, respect, sharing, fairness, justice, freedom, peace, integrity and participation for the beneficiaries, the public and the philanthropic sector.
2.1.4 Advocacy on philanthropy
The core values of philanthropy are love and virtue. We believe in love in action. Amity is undertaking the great cause of spreading love. The cause involves the participation of the public. More and more people have learned the true meaning of philanthropy through Amity’s work. Philanthropy has become part of a lifestyle. It is among the core values recognized by the public. In 2008, Amity worked with Tencent to launch an online fundraising program “Action e-10,000” for supporting orphans. By October 2015, the number of people donating to the Amity Orphan Fostering Program through Tencent philanthropic platform has reached 2.35 million, with a total fund of 45.15 million yuan. Amity has also helped several hundreds of organizations and individuals achieve online crowd-funding which has attracted the participation of some hundreds of thousands of people. These achievements fully reveal the charm of online philanthropy. Tall trees from little acorns grow. Philanthropy by everyone has materialized.
2.2 Supporting the development of the philanthropic sector
Amity continues to promote the growth of China’s philanthropic sector by nurturing the healthy development of all kinds of social organizations that will contribute to social construction.
2.2.1 Incubating and promoting community social organizations
Community social organizations, which are rooted in local communities and provide direct services for them, are the backbone of philanthropy. The Amity NGO Development Center, founded by Amity Foundation in 2009, created a new model in China’s philanthropic sector by becoming the first public fund-raising foundation to incubate social organizations. Taking advantage of the resources, sectoral support and innovation platform of a public fund-raising foundation, the center carried out work ranging from NGO incubation, capacity building and inter-sectoral exchange, to raise their operational, project management and fundraising capacities. In response to local needs, Amity set up NGO development centers in Nantong and Kunshan in 2010 and 2011 with support from local governments, to help social organizations better address local issues and help community development. More than 100 grassroots social organizations have benefited from Amity’s systematic incubation and support. In recognition of Amity’s pioneering efforts, the Learning and Practice Activity Leading Group Office of CPC Central Committee specially compiled and distributed a briefing, applauding Amity’s model of NGO development which rely on social strength, government support and professional team management.
2.2.2 Promoting foundation development
Foundations are the important engines behind the development of the philanthropic sector. As a founding member, Amity supports the operation of China Foundation Center and its research on China Foundation Transparency Index, which has effectively stepped up the transparency of foundations, formulated foundation transparency standards and provided the public with reliable references for selection. In 2012, the Amity-initiated Rende Foundation began a Foundation Incubator project. Based in Pudong Foundation Service Park, the project offers a series of incubating services to foundations at preparatory or start-up stage in Yangtzer River Delta. It has delivered 27 organizations with services including administrative support, capacity building, coaching and consultancy, and sectoral exchange in order to raise the core competence of their teams and lay a solid foundation for future growth. In partnership with sub-district offices of the governments in Nanjing and Shanghai, Amity started community fund and community foundation incubating in an attempt to create a sustainable philanthropic eco-chain that is community based. This will help mobilize and unearth resources in the community, boost self-governance and multi-governance and achieve community development.
2.2.3 Supporting non-government philanthropy and caring for philanthropic workers
In cooperation with domestic enterprises and organizations, Amity has set up various special funds to support NGO operation, innovative project implementation and philanthropic workers’ security. For example, Amity together with XinhuGroup has supported such projects as Yangtze River Resource Preservation Station, Social Enterprise Innovation Prize, Foundation Research and Promotion, Pudong Foundation Service Park Construction. It has endeavored to address major issues arising in the course of NGO development such as resource shortage, low levels of professionalism and the lack of sustainability. Grace Forever Care Fund supports individuals working in the philanthropy sector through a long-term and professional model for finding pragmatic solutions to their problems.
2.3 Religious philanthropy
Amity strives to hasten the involvement of Chinese religious circles, especially Christians, in social construction and to upgrade their social service capacity to meet the increasing needs of society.
2.3.1 Church and social service
Since 2002, Amity has supported over 210 church-run social service projects with a total investment of 100 million yuan, benefiting 300,000 people, mainly in central and western China. By the end of 2014, more than 80 non-government social service organizations mostly from Jiangsu and ten other provinces, including Shandong and Anhui, have joined the social service network, mainly consisting of church social service organizations.
2.3.2 Jiangsu Christian Fund for Social Service
With support from the United Front Work Department of CPC Jiangsu Committee and Jiangsu Religious Affairs Bureau, Amity and Jiangsu TSPM/CC jointly founded Jiangsu Christian Fund for Social Service to implement such capacity building projects as project management, service for the elderly and the handicapped. The Fund has raised over 10 million yuan, supported 138 social service projects of 22 categories and benefitted over 80,000 people. Among others, Church Environmental Protection Action has carried out 24 environmental protection events in 9 places in Jiangsu attracting over 46,000 Christian participants.
2.3.3 Interfaith cooperation
Entrusted by the United Front Work Department of CPC Jiangsu Committee and Jiangsu Religious Affairs Bureau, Amity held the first Jiangsu Religious Philanthropy Training Workshop in July 2015.It was attended by more than 60 leaders from the five major religions in Jiangsu. The five-day workshop focused on both theory and practice achieving good results and scored a first in China by providing a platform for inter-religious dialogue and philanthropic cooperation, winning wide acclaim from religious circles in China and overseas. Amity’s role as a bridge and platform for religions to be involved in social service development has become increasingly important.
2.4 Social enterprise
Amity Printing Co. Ltd, one of the earliest-established and most influential social enterprises in China and a successful combination of business model and philanthropy, has played an important part in Amity’s philanthropic undertakings.
In 1986, Amity’s Bible printing facility was established under the support of the government, United Bible Societies and people from different walks of life. Aiming to “serve Chinese churches, overseas churches, Chinese society and Chinese people”, Amity Printing Company has grown into a modern thin paper printing enterprise and the world’s largest Bible printing press. Amity Printing Company has printed 140 million Bibles in over 100 languages for more than 70 countries and regions. It has also produced more than 2,652 sets of Braille Bibles. On July 1st, 2015, Amity, in response to the sincere invitation from African friends, set up the African Service Center in the capital of Ethiopia in order to better serve the African people.
III. Amity’s Prospect
Thirty years ago, the Amity Foundation had only 3 staffers. Now Amity has around 1000 employees. From relief to development, as well as from philanthropy efforts to social enterprises, the coverage of Amity projects expanded remarkably. The rapid growth of Amity has been inseparable from the endeavor generations working at Amity.
3.1 Starting Points for Amity’s New Journey
3.1.1 Strategically transform project areas and motivate development of Amity’s work nationwide
Amity has firmly grasped the trends and features of social development, and realized a strategic transformation in the past 30 years. Amity’s project area expanded from East China to West China, where the needs were more urgent, in the 1990s, and from rural communities to urban ones with the increasingly diverse and urgent demands of the early 21stcentury, greatly extending Amity’s working space and domain as well as gaining more recognition. These two successful transformations have shaped the continuously developing Amity of today.
3.1.2 Transform resource structure to guarantee Amity’s sustainable development
The allocation of resources has been the strong backing for each of Amity’s successful transformations. Amity’s 20th anniversary, a decade ago, was the first time Amity had raised more than 100 million RMB in a year. We were encouraged. Yet, Amity’s astute management personnel perceived a crisis. As China’s comprehensive national strength continued to improve and developed countries overseas experienced an economic slowdown, it was dangerous to rely on overseas resources for 95% or more of Amity’s funding. It is gratifying that Amity’s domestic fund raising has continually exceeded that from overseas for the past 3 years, and that Internet philanthropy, Philanthropy for All, special funds, and others have become new resource gathering platforms.
3.1.3 Change the personnel structure to achieve stable development of Amity
Each of Amity’s successful transformations is closely bound up with its staffing and team building. More than two decades ago, when the project area moved to West China, Amity introduced a group of talented people in agriculture, forestry, and the environment; in recent years, Amity’s urban community service entities have continued to grow and domestic fund raising has exceeded that from overseas, necessitating more professional teams of social workers, as well as increased publicity and fund raising, planning, nursing, etc. More importantly, in the past 10 years and more, Amity has cultivated a group of key workers who have conscientiously worked in Amity for more than 5 or 10 years.They are Amity’s precious and unique wealth that can fundamentally ensure Amity’s successful transformation and guarantee intergenerational transmission among the agency’s personnel.
3.1.4 Transform the agency configuration and design Amity’s new journey
Since 1990s, Amity and its partners, in accordance with our West Strategy, have set up different Amity project offices in related provinces, regions, and counties. Amity’s local partners network has formed on this basis and thus the promotion of Amity’s projects has been strongly assured. In the past decade, Amity has built various entities based on Nanjing City and Jiangsu Province to facilitate urban community service and NGO development work. In recent years, Amity has initiated related organizations in first-tier cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou, and achieved the transformation of the Amity Hongkong Office to further expand Amity’s resources and influence. In addition, the establishment of the Amity African Office and the upcoming Amity International Office in Geneva both herald the new round of development for Amity.
3.2 The Outlook for Amity’s New Journey
3.2.1 Focus on administration in carrying out community construction
Amity strives to foster more professional social organizations rooted in communities and enhance the main forces participating in community administration. It expands the scale, creates the spheres of social service, and improves the standard of community service to meet increasingly diverse social needs. In response to an aging population, Amity strengthens Amity’s international Philanthropic Valley, enlarging the network and exploring models for serving the elderly, as well as promoting establishment of sector standards.
3.2.2 Focus on serving to motivate social service in the churches
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s variedgrace” (1 Peter 4:10). Amity will put more energy into propelling Christian churches and other religions to take part in the development of philanthropy. Amity will found a church philanthropy training base, and gradually set up a platform for religious philanthropy aimed at research, training, communication, and resource gathering, driving religious social service forward to a new level.
3.2.3 Focus on advocacy to propel healthy development of the philanthropy sector
Amity advocates sanming principles of transparency (mingxing), wisdom (minghui) and virtue (mingdao).Amity, together with all social sectors, will further promote rules, process, and outcomes of transparency in the Chinese philanthropy sector; it will improve the professional level of philanthropy and make philanthropy more effective; it will propose that there is a social significance borne and declared by philanthropy and devote itself to the reconstruction of social values.
3.2.4 Focus on innovation to promote diversified development
Philanthropy by Everyone, Internet-philanthropy, social enterprises, and philanthropic innovations are just unfolding. Amity will use more open and inclusive network thinking in arranging its philanthropy. It will actively propose, mobilize, and integrate all forces and resources. And it will build more diverse philanthropy platforms that can engage more people and serve more people.
3.2.5 Focus on ecumenical sharing to deepen international development
Philanthropy goes beyond borders, languages, and ethnic groups. Presently, as never before, people are aware that the planet they live on has long been an interdependent community, sharing the same fate. In the past three decades, Amity’s development has always gained strong support from many friends and partners at home and abroad. The Amity of today would not exist without universal sharing. Therefore, Amity has the responsibility and obligation to enable ecumenical sharing of its 30-year practice and achievements through South-South cooperation and South-North cooperation. “I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
There is a long way ahead. Amity needs the continuous support of more friends and partners at home and abroad. If you walk alone, you walk fast; if you walk together, you walk further. Amity hopes to walk with all of you hand in hand in light of Amity’s mission and vision to achieve more abundant lives, more justice, and a better world!