Philanthropy in the fight against Covid-19
This year, the role of philanthropy in the fight against Covid-19 in China highlighted the sector’s focus on social challenges. As the crisis evolved, so did the work of the sector. At the early stage, the response concentrated on procurement and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as organizing and managing volunteers in communities. These two types of primary work by organizations such as the One Foundation provided frontline support in a timely manner, particularly in the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan and Hubei Province. These groups typically had gained expertise from previous post-disaster mitigation experience. As more philanthropic organizations such as the Zhuoming Disaster Information Center and the China National Committee for Disaster Reduction (CNCDR) joined the battle against the coronavirus, they played a significant role in collecting, analyzing and sharing reliable information to facilitate transparent, efficient and effective collaboration beyond the philanthropic sector.
After the pandemic was contained in China, philanthropists shifted their focus to long-term recovery. Efforts were put into tackling the economic crisis caused by Covid-19 by supporting individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as the smaller NGOs. Online tools were used for continuous fundraising to sustain on-the-ground projects. Some organizations undertook advocacy and public education on health issues and data privacy. All these have contributed to enabling an environment for a quick recovery in social and economic terms.
In addition, Chinese philanthropists and foundations have tapped into international aid programs by making numerous overseas donations of PPE, sharing Covid-19-related information and toolkits with international peers, and exploring opportunities for cross-border collaboration.
Beyond the recovery
Uncertainty about the post-Covid-19 economy is likely to result in a decrease in donations and expenditures unequally distributed across focus areas and regions. Opportunities remain not just in traditional development work but in cutting-edge areas such as financial and digital transformation.