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Ma Weihua: Development and Innovation of Philanthropy Should be Connected to the Development of Society, Economy, and Technology


 On May 24th, CGPI EMP 2019 Spring Cohort Opening Ceremony was held in Shenzhen. 64 new students from 24 cities in 19 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions started their two-year study on philanthropy.


At the opening ceremony, Professor Ma Weihua, Chairman of the Board of CGPI, expressed his heartfelt congratulations to the news students of EMP 2019 Spring Cohort. According to him, the initial intention and mission of the five CGPI founders, Bill Gates, Ray Dalio, Niu Gensheng, He Qiaonyu, and Ye Qingjun is to train outstanding talents for the transformation and innovation of philanthropic undertakings and help philanthropy in China improve to a new level. The uniqueness of the institute lies in innovation and internationalization, research on the needs of social philanthropic undertakings, and forward-looking training; it partners with the world’s most influential philanthropists, world-class universities and philanthropic organizations to train mission-oriented philanthropists and philanthropy management professionals.

Full text of Chairman Ma Weihua’s speech

Thank you. I am very glad to attend the CGPI EMP 2019 Spring Cohort Opening Ceremony. Shenzhen has actually entered early summer in May with luxuriant plants. We are very happy to welcome 64 new students. For CGPI, this early summer is the time to plant; and for the 64 new students, you are excellent seeds. You will surely become outstanding talents in vigorous philanthropy in China through the nutrition and nourishment of the institute as well as your own efforts.

As the Chairman of the Board, I am honored to participate in the opening ceremony every year. It has been 7 times already. Standing on the podium, I have been thinking about two questions: first, why do we run this institute, that is, what is its initial intention and mission? Second, why do students apply to our institute, what are their demands, and what can we give them?

We commemorated the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up last year, and will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of People’s Republic of China this year. In the course of 40-year development, Chinese economic and social undertakings have made remarkable achievements worldwide, so it is with modern philanthropy. I remember that the total donation in 2007 was less than 30 billion[C1] , while in 2017 there were already 7,335 philanthropic organizations. From the perspective of quantity, the philanthropic achievements in China have been presented to the world. However, philanthropic undertakings not only develop fast but also face enormous challenges. We need transformation and innovation, and need to change traditional philanthropy and develop new philanthropy.

We have all realized that social issues are becoming more and more complicated, and solving these to make the society better is the mission of philanthropy. To solve this problem, we need talents, profession, knowledge, breakthrough, and innovation.

CGPI is to train philanthropists and philanthropic leaders as role models to provide outstanding talents for the transformation and innovation of philanthropic undertakings. This is exactly the initial intention and mission of the five CGPI founders, Bill Gates, Ray Dalio, Niu Gensheng, He Qiaonyu, and Ye Qingjun. We not only cultivate excellent senior executives for 7,000 foundations, but also train leaders and thought leaders for this great cause and help Chinese philanthropy improve to a new level.

For the second question: coming to this institute, what are your demands, and what kind of knowledge do you want to acquire? I think the demands of you students are the demands of Chinese philanthropy at present. I am engaged in finance and services, and I focus on demands. When I was engaged in banking, I studied customer demands. What are the customer demands? What are competitive products and services? We not only meet current demands, but more importantly, we study demands in future, especially in three or five years. I usually do not do the things that everyone else thinks they are “good”, because if all people think so and do it, it will not mean anything. We must focus on the things that people do not favor now but will surely focus on in future. We do these things unswervingly. Doing such things is risky as this tests your judgment.

Now we are studying the demands of students in the institute, we need to study the demands of future philanthropic undertakings in three, five, or ten years. We must meet such demands so that our students can adapt to the development demands of Chinese philanthropy in near future. This is called forward-looking training. What are demands? We must study the demands brought about by economic, social and scientific development. Philanthropic undertakings are no exception. Development and innovation of philanthropy should be connected to the development of society, economy and technology. We must contact this world.

I have three sentences for you: “who does not know future cannot judge present” - it is difficult to take the first step well if you do not know about the future trend of philanthropy; “who does not know the world cannot understand China” - at present, whether economic development or philanthropic development is connected to global development trends, and it is difficult to see Chinese trend clearly without understanding the development trend of the world; and “who does not know the macrocosm cannot handle the microcosm” - we need to see our endeavor from a higher perspective and stand higher to see further.

The world is undergoing great changes. The global economy has developed rapidly over the past 30 years, mainly in technological revolution, financial innovation, capital globalization, and marketization. Economy has developed very fast, and there have been big companies like Apple and Amazon with market value last year of more than 1 trillion US dollars, which is equivalent to Indonesia’s GNP. This can be called extremely wealthy. On the other hand, however, there are still 2 billion people living in the world with daily living cost of only 3.1 US dollars, and about 1.6 billion people have no basic sanitation guarantee. China has made great achievements in anti-poverty struggle by decreasing such population by 80 million in the past six years, but there are still 20 million people who are under absolute poverty according to the existing standards. How to ensure no returning to poverty is a great task. And social problems like environmental damage, ecological crisis, inequality, and discrimination, etc. have affected the sustainable development of global economy.

We can do some maths: according to the 17 indicators proposed in the 2015-2030 sustainable development plan, the funding gap is still 3.9 trillion US dollars to solve the problems in emerging markets after quantification of these 17 indicators. We make efforts in donation while the fundraising and government investment is only 1.4 trillion. There is still a big gap. Undoubtedly, we still need efforts in traditional donation because it is the virtue of our nation and the development of world culture; but only this is not enough, we must innovate to solve social issues. This is what we are considering now, to use philanthropic concept and commercial model to solve this problem. This includes impact investment, philanthropic venture investment, philanthropic trusts, social enterprises, green funds, and inclusive finance, etc. We need to master these tools as this is the only way in which we can fundamentally solve our problems and make the world a better place.

To consider demands from this perspective, you need to grasp the latest financial tools and ideas when studying in our institute to make achievements in future practice. This is our demands.

As an institute, we should study students’ demands carefully, this is also to study the demands of the society. As an institute, we can only have a good strategy if understanding the demands. There are many changes taking place in philanthropy today, such as global social issues like environment, health, energy, and poverty. The complexity of these issues makes higher requirements on people’s ability to find solutions innovatively.

A new revolution is taking place in philanthropy of countries around the world, and capital entering philanthropy has become a trend. What is the frontier of philanthropy? This border keeps expanding endlessly.

There is no doubt that philanthropy is constantly evolving and changing. In particular, I have a few frontier issues to discuss. A marketability revolution in global philanthropy is taking place. Global philanthropy has gradually evolved from one-way donation in the past to a dual return model economically and socially with investment as the principal thing. 这种变化将加速一系列的传统范畴下公益行为和效率,社会影响和市场机制融合的过程。[C2] 

For example, innovation and entrepreneurship aiming at solving social problems are the main frontiers of global philanthropy today. Social entrepreneurs use market mechanism to create welfare services extremely efficiently for marginalized or poor people who, without these, could hardly have a chance.

There are still 2.5 billion people in low-income countries and 2.7 billion in middle-income countries. 2.5 billion plus 2.7 billion - these 5.2 billion people rarely had traditional financial services and could hardly change their own destiny. Nowadays, microfinance and inclusive finance will become an important stage for market reform in philanthropy, and application of this market mechanism most widely to the current poverty alleviation work will greatly enhance these people’s ability to completely change their own destiny.

Simply making donation in the past, we only saw these people’s poverty. Now, we should not only see their poverty that needs help but also see that these billions of people are a huge market, and a series of products and services for them, including education, health, and housing, have not been released yet. Once released, these will be a huge increase in social and economic development.

I think these cutting-edge issues are closely related to our solution to modern social issues. These are issues that our institute needs to discuss, also products that we will bring to students in future to meet their demands.

We have already had some graduates, and will have more. In society, they are playing a pioneering role in promoting changes in this great cause of philanthropy, and becoming seeds of new philanthropy. We are proud of this while we are also faced with many challenges. Complex social issues give us new topics that are worth thinking every day. To continue to run the institute well, we need a good governance structure, a development strategy that keeps pace with the times, and an efficient institute management system and function. and we must have a teaching system and faculty with core competitiveness in philanthropic education so that we can achieve our strategic goal of building centurial philanthropy.

Lu You, a poet of the Southern Song Dynasty, said “the way to cultivate talents is training by practice”. We hope that our students will become this kind of people: you should be versatile, innovative, hardworking, and brave to take social responsibility; you should stay humble and eager to learn, plan and concern about the world, and have the same words and deeds to not only yourself but also other people. It is my expectation that under the joint efforts of teachers and leadership, you will surely contribute to philanthropy the great cause.




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