China’s evolving philanthropy sector is focus of two-day summit in Indianapolis

Gene Tempel

Gene Tempel

Scott Kennedy

Scott Kennedy

Philanthropists, scholars and business people from around the world are gathering Friday and Saturday in Indianapolis for a summit on the present and future role of philanthropy in one of the world’s most rapidly growing economies, China.

The academic conference, at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’ Hine Hall, attracted so much interest that registration had to be closed. Organizers are hoping to eventually present some of the sessions online.

Scott Kennedy, director of the Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business at IU Bloomington, said he was surprised by public interest in the topic. More often, he sees Americans’ interest in China driven by concerns over its growing military and economic influence.

“I thought there would be less interest in social activism in China and what could be done to make the country a better place, but obviously I was wrong,” said Kennedy, whose center is based within the School of Global and International Studies. “There are people who are concerned about the environment, health care and a lot of other issues that the Chinese government can’t solve on its own.

“It just so turns out that America is the home of the global philanthropic movement,” he added. “Americans, both individually and through organizations, contribute a lot to our country and have been quite involved in China as well.”

Conference organizers had planned for about 75 people, but nearly twice as many — about 140 — are registered for the China Philanthropy Summit.

The conference highlights a three-year Initiative on Philanthropy in China funded by the Henry Luce Foundation and the Ford Foundation, jointly carried out by the IU Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business and the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

“We are pleased to welcome our distinguished colleagues from China and U.S. institutions, both those presenting and those learning along with us as attendees,” said Gene Tempel, founding dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

“This is an exciting time in China and in the world of philanthropy. The summit is a continuation of our work to learn from and learn with our Chinese colleagues as we work together to strengthen and inform philanthropy in both countries,” Tempel said.

Researchers from several leading U.S. and Chinese universities and institutions, including the University of Wisconsin, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Maryland, Tsinghua University and Sun Yat-Sen University, will present the findings from 11 research projects associated with the initiative.

In addition, panels of both young and seasoned practitioners from China’s philanthropic community will participate in a variety of panels. Among them will be Yang Peng, former president of the Shenzhen-based One Foundation, and Holly Chang, founder and president of the Beijing-based Golden Bridges Foundation. The co-founders of the Hong Kong-based organization Philanthropy in Motion also are participating.

Today in China, about 3,000 foundations and non-governmental organizations are rapidly expanding activities. Corporate social responsibility programs are proliferating and social enterprises are taking root. A substantial community of experts and activists with strong ties with the global philanthropic community has become increasingly active.

Although China’s economic development path has been very successful, a growing gap between the extent of problems facing society and the government’s ability to address them has developed, said Angela Bies, endowed associate professor of global philanthropy and nonprofit leadership at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. Philanthropic activity could be a key way to fill that gap.

“China’s contemporary philanthropic sector is at a pivotal juncture where societal needs are complex and pressing,” Bies said. “And while philanthropic capacity is immense and social innovation and experimentation exciting, the institutional environment and organizational capacity for philanthropy remain emergent and in flux. In this regard, it is vital for scholars and practitioners to come together and jointly reflect on these issues.”

The Initiative on Philanthropy in China was announced last summer, and since then there have been nearly a dozen research projects and a workshop and conferences in China. Last spring, a new course on philanthropy in China was offered at IU Bloomington and IUPUI. Three students received internships in China, working with Cummins Inc., Mercy Corps and China Development Brief.

One highlight of the China Philanthropy Summit will be the conceptual presentation of “My Philanthropic Story,” a bilingual, user-driven website that will go live early next year. The site will be dedicated to promoting philanthropy in China through the personal stories of givers and recipients.

“It will be a way to promote philanthropy, not through academic research like the kinds we’re going to see this week, but through the voices of average people, which we think will be more powerful,” Kennedy said.

A mix of social media and connections from other key websites, combined with support from within the philanthropic sector in China, will draw attention to “My Philanthropic Story.”

Editors: As previously mentioned, registration for the conference is closed, but media are welcome. Contact George Vlahakis at IU Communications or Adriene Davis Kalugyer of the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy to arrange for interviews.

Upcoming construction at IUPUI will strengthen ties to community, renovate IU Natatorium

394504_w308Change is coming to the IUPUI campus, thanks to a partnership between IUPUI, the city of Indianapolis and Lilly Endowment.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard announced the joint $30 million deal Monday, along with IU President Michael A. McRobbie, representatives from Lilly Endowment and other organizations involved in the project. The partnership is designed to strengthen IUPUI’s ties to the surrounding neighborhoods and make critical renovations to the IU Natatorium.

The IU Natatorium will be undergoing significant renovations.

Under terms of the agreement, the city will turn Michigan and New York streets into two-way roads from West Street, through the campus and across the bridges into the Haughville neighborhood. Part of that project will include improvements to pedestrian crossings, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, medians and other features.

The work will require rerouted traffic patterns beginning in 2015, officials said.

During Monday’s announcement, Ballard cited numerous advantages to the IUPUI campus, the city and its residents.

“Thousands of people enter and exit IUPUI for work, class and access to medical care every day,” the mayor said. “These streets improvements will make it safer and easier for people to access campus and encourage investment and development in Haughville, Hawthorne and Stringtown from companies seeking to be near IUPUI and the growing IU Health complex.”

Funding will include support from the downtown tax increment financing district, plus support from IUPUI and the endowment for upgrades to the natatorium.

“Just as the IUPUI campus has been an integral part of downtown Indianapolis for decades, the IU Natatorium has become one of the city’s signature sports venues of the last 30 years,” said McRobbie. “Indiana University’s investment in the future of the natatorium is emblematic of our commitment to the city of Indianapolis. The planned improvements will allow the natatorium to provide swimmers and divers of all levels — as well as fans of the sports — with a world-class facility for years to come, further strengthening the strong partnership between IU and the city.”

The natatorium is scheduled to host the 2016 U.S. Olympic Diving Trials.

“This project involves several partners coming together to benefit the city of Indianapolis and the IUPUI campus,” IUPUI Director of Athletics Mike Moore said. “The natatorium is a special place in our community and these improvements will impact swimmers and divers of all ages, including our student-athletes.”

The infrastructure changes are expected to attract new development and increase the number of residents interested in the opportunities that will be available on the Near Westside. That could include a growing number of students interested in living in apartments and rental units in the affected neighborhoods.

City leaders are hopeful that the growth will help the Westside neighborhoods follow the path of other communities (like Fountain Square and the Old Northside) as “hot spots” in the center of Indianapolis.

The changes will help IUPUI become more a part of the city neighborhoods that surround the campus. City officials also hope that increasingly attractive housing options will help continue recent trends of college graduates deciding to stay in Indianapolis, both as residents and employees.

by Ric Burrous

Tempel named nonprofit sector’s national “Influencer of the Year”

Gene Tempel, founding dean of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, has been named the “Influencer of the Year” in the U.S. nonprofit sector by The NonProfit Times, a leading nonprofit sector publication.

Tempel was selected for the honor from among 50 leaders nationwide who The NonProfit Times is recognizing as its 2013 “Power and Influence Top 50,” the 50 individuals the publication considers to have the greatest impact on the nonprofit sector.

The “Influencer of the Year” award was announced last night at a gala in Washington, DC, honoring the people who comprise the 2013 Top 50 list. The annual list recognizes leaders for their innovation, their influence on the broader sector, and for developing organizational models that can be replicated. It is compiled by The NonProfit Times’ staff and leaders from the philanthropic sector. Tempel has been honored on the list 12 of the 16 times it has been published since its debut in 1998.

In recognizing Tempel’s leadership, the publication said, “Tempel heads the nation’s first school of philanthropy. He also headed what was the premier Center on Philanthropy. It can be argued that nobody has spent more time effectively building a center of knowledge on the topic of philanthropy, where people turn for answers and illumination.”

Tempel played an integral role in establishing the school and its precursor, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, and served as the Center’s executive director from 1997 through 2008, developing it into a leading national resource

Committed to strengthening the philanthropic sector, Tempel was the first elected president of the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council, a national association of academic centers and programs that focus on the study of nonprofit organizations, voluntarism and philanthropy. He is a past chair of the national Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Ethics Committee and a member of Independent Sector’s Expert Advisory Panel that created national guidelines for nonprofit governance and ethical behavior. He is president emeritus of the Indiana University Foundation.

About Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy: The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The School offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy—voluntary action for the public good—through its academic, research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute.