Twenty nine Chinese families figured heavily in a list of the 100most influential family donors worldwide, with most of them donating to the education and poverty alleviation sectors, according to a report by China Global Philanthropy Institute.
The Shenzhen based institute is China’s first educational institute that is solely dedicated to charity sector education, and it was cofounded by Bill Gates in 2015. The report, the first of its kind, used research data before the end of 2015, and the list has no rankings.
The list picked out families who have donated more than $100 million. Other selection factors include that the family members had a significant influence in their countries and they had publicly attended many charity events. The report said that in nearly a century, accumulated donations from the 100most influential family donors totaled some $356 billion.
Among the 100 families, 16 of them have family charitable organizations with histories of more than 50 years. The Rockefeller family is a prominent example. It has launched 75 charitable agencies and family members from six generations have been engaged in charitable events.
“By doing research on the acts of charity and the impact of those families, we hope to call for more fortunes to flow to philanthropy, guide more high net worth individuals in China to take public welfare as an important part of their family heritages and take more social responsibilities,”said Fu Changbo, assistant dean at China Global Philanthropy Institute and a professor at Beijing Normal University.
The report found some Chinese families had donated for more than $1 billion. They include the families of Li Kashing, Henry Fok, Run Run Shaw, Jack Ma, Wang Yongqing and Cao Dewang. They have also established foundations and charitable trusts in their names or in the names of other generations.
Other listed Chinese families include the families of Wang Jianlin, Pony Ma, Niu Gensheng, He Qiaonv, Chen Yidan, Xu Jiayin and Yang Guoqiang.
The report found that most donations from Chinese families focused on the education, poverty alleviation, and disaster relief sectors.
The institute said donations from most US and European families tended to focus more on the education, culture, arts, sports and science research sectors, as those areas helped improve social development.
“In recent years, an increasing number of Chinese philanthropists have paid more attention to sectors such as environmental protection and sustainable development,”said Cheng Fen, deputy director of public welfare research center at China Global Philanthropy Institute.
“Yet, Chinese families seldom donate to scientific research projects. By the end of 2015,we found that no Chinese families on the list took scientific research as their primary donation area,”she said.
“This is related to the stage of social and welfare system development in China. Some
people see it as the government’s responsibility to support science projects, but the situation is expected to change gradually.”