Indonesian Philanthropy Association (FI) has formed partnerships with several philanthropic associations and institutions in China for the development of a real-time database and transparency index for philanthropic institutions. The two instruments are considered as modern tools in strengthening the transparency and accountability of philanthropy in various countries, including in China. Therefore, Indonesian Philanthropy Association together with BAZNAS (National Amil Zakat Agency) with support from the Ford Foundation visited China on August 13-16, 2019 and examined the development of the real-time database and Foundation Transparency Index (FTI) at the China Foundation Center (CFC). The Foundation Transparency Index has been recognized and is a reference for Chinese philanthropic institutions and global philanthropy as one of the innovative solutions and new standards in encouraging and increasing the transparency of philanthropic institutions.
Hamid Abidin, Executive Director of FI, explained that FTI is a database system of philanthropic institutions that were built to provide real-time, online-based information services to the public about philanthropic institutions in China and their financial statements and programs. CFC as the manager of FTI collects this information from the foundation’s report submitted on the organization’s website and the report submitted to the government. From this information, FTI then ranks based on indicators that have been determined to determine the position and rank of the foundation. FTI has 40 transparency indicators that are grouped into 4 categories: basic organizational information, program/project information, financial information, and donor information. The position and ranking of foundations in FTI are dynamic depending on how complete the data they are conveying to the public.
In addition to learning about developing a database and FTI at CFC, FI also visited several associations and philanthropic institutions in China to share information and establish partnerships. Some of the institutions visited were CCA (China Charity Alliance), China Global Philanthropy Institute, Beijing Tanoto Foundation, and Ford Foundation of China. Through this visit, FI shared and received a lot of information and inspiration that was hoped to be a reference in developing philanthropy in Indonesia. “Indonesia and China have many similarities in terms of philanthropic policy and culture so that there are many ideas and initiatives that can be adapted, of course through adjustments to the culture and context of Indonesian philanthropy,” Hamid said.
China is known as one of the countries whose philanthropic activities have developed very rapidly in the last ten years. In this bamboo curtain country which is known to be very closed, the philanthropic sector only grew in 2008 triggered by a devastating earthquake in the Wenchuan region. The national disaster was considered as the momentum of the rise of Chinese philanthropy that has driven thousands of initiatives to raise and distribute donations by various foundations, a phenomenon that has not existed before. The development of Chinese Philanthropy reached its peak in 2016 along with the issuance of China Charity Law as a regulation that encourages and facilitates the development of philanthropy in China. Since the regulation was released, the growth of philanthropic institutions has increased fantastically with an average growth of 64.9% per year. Until 2018 in China there were already more than 800,000 social organizations and 7,333 of them were charitable/philanthropic foundations. The total assets of philanthropic organizations in China are estimated at RMB 60.4 billion with the acquisition of RMB 33.7 billion per year and the distribution of grants reaching RMB 25.6 billion per year. Now some Chinese philanthropic institutions have metamorphosed into a global philanthropic foundation that not only provides grant support and social services for Chinese citizens but people in other parts of the world.
“The development of philanthropy which is quite fantastic in China can be an inspiration, model and benchmarking in developing philanthropy in Indonesia through the development of conducive regulations and innovative transparency instruments,” Hamid said.