Shanghai's 'relay of love' charity going strong
The Shanghai Charity Foundation, the country's first provincial/municipal-level charity foundation in China, announced its "love relay" tale of the past quarter century: 12.2 billion yuan (US$1.8 billion).
Since 1994, it has helped over 12 million people with about 9.3 billion yuan.
The foundation was created to address the people affected by the city’s changing social landscape with the establishment of a market-oriented economy in China.
Foundation President Feng Guoqin said the number of people funded in the charity's first year was just 600.
“In the first few years, we mainly offered monetary relief to local people," he said.
"But now our programs cover relief in education, the environment, employment and other needs from people."
The foundation now has 62 ongoing charity programs. Apart from helping Shanghainese in need, it also supports less-developed provinces such as Yunnan and Qinghai.
Through the foundation, love has been relayed from hand to hand, it says.
Li Fahong, a young doctor with the infectious diseases department at Huashan Hospital who was born in a remote village in southwestern Chongqing city, was one of the first recipients of the foundation’s “Wealove” funds which support medical students from poor families to help overcome the country's shortage of doctors.
"The funding enabled me to focus on my study and eventually my medical degree,” she said.
Li was one of 6,500 medical students who received funds from 2007 to 2018 — 3,000 to 5,000 yuan every year.
From 2008, volunteer groups of students who are recipients of the funds have been established in several universities with about 2,400 registered volunteers so far.
“We’re inspired to relay the love given to us to other people,” she said. “By working as a doctor, I have learned to better understand, embrace and cherish life and living.”
Chen Tiedi, the first president of the foundation, said strict ethical guidelines were implemented from the very beginning.
“At the foundation, we established a board of supervisors and published accounting details to the public every year to ensure transparency and credibility of our work,” she said.
The foundation has twice been listed among the 25 most transparent foundations in China by Forbes China, and is recognized for its transparency among 3,700 foundations in China by the national government.