What do the secretary-generals have to say in reply to “Frontline Voices ”?

中文 English

Since September, CDB has published 19  articles in the online Chinese column Frontline Voices (See here for the Chinese Column and here for the English Column). It has also released a hardcopy report including all the 23 articles and a survey based on questionnaires collected from 124 project officers from 102 private foundations during the China Private Foundation Forum’s annual meeting (see CDB news here and here).  The frontline foundation project officers have thus had their voices heard. So what is the response from the management of Chinese private foundations? CDB interviewed 11 secretary-generals during the intervals in the annual meeting regarding their views on the articles and the report. The following is the feedback we received from 8 secretary-generals.

Secretary-generals appearing in this article:
Chen Jian, Secretary-general,Beijing Vantone Foundation
Huang Yi, Executive Secretary-general, China Merchants Charitable Foundation
Huo Qingchuan, Assistant to the Secretary-general, Zhejiang Dunhe Foundation
Peng Yanni, Secretary-general, Narada Foundation
Wu Junjun, Director, Fujian Zhenro Foundation
Yang Chunyan, Secretary-general, Jiangsu Charming Education Foundation
Zhu Yi , Executive Secretary-general, Yangjing Community Foundation
Zou Weiquan, Vice Secretary-general, Rural Women Development Foundation Guangdong

Which articles have the secretary-generals read?(Most secretary-generals pay more attention to the articles by the project officers from their own foundations, or those who they know personally)

Peng Yanni: I was obviously most interested in my own colleagues’ articles, such as Feng Yuan‘s (see here) and Xiaoxue’s …

Chen Jian: I’ve read through the whole column, because it includes articles by project officers from our foundation.(Some secretary-generals focus on the articles that express strong feelings and opinions)

Huang Yi: the articles which impressed me the most are Leng Feng’s (see here) and Jingjing’s. They are both new comers to the sector, and their articles illustrate their true feelings.

Huo Qingchuan: the articles by anonymous authors who chose to leave their foundations left me quite shocked.(What will Qingchuan do after being shocked by the articles? We don’t know, but we imagine that Yang Chunyan’s measures, which we detail below, will strike fear in those who think that working at a foundation is just a way to while away their time.

Yang Chunyan: I was of course most impressed by Qiuhua’s article (See here). I got to know Qiuhua not long ago, but she left a deep impression on me. She is young and very active, which is exactly what the sector is lacking. She thinks proactively and promotes community development rigorously. Such people are rare, especial since external support is lacking. This sort of quality is exactly what we are looking for in our foundation. That is why I fired four people this year. (Chunyan actually did fire four people this year!)

(Some secretary-generals prefer articles that identify problems and give solutions)
Zou Weiquan: I was actually impressed by all the articles. But the most outstanding one is a recently published article –‘My Path through the Charity Sector’ by Zheng Haoping, from the Guangdong Baichuan Charity Foundation. The article is very realistic and down to earth. Many young people in the NGO sector may have gone through similar emotional waves. Yet his article is very positive, and he looks at the sector and his job in an open way. He looks at those who are the beneficiaries of his services, and from this he draws the strength to conduct his work. He has compassion and empathy, which are essential for NGO practitioners. I think many in the NGO sector can learn from him.

Wu Junjun: I’ve read all the articles and the report, three times! I paid special attention to the articles written by people Iknow, including Xiaoxue, Yuanze, and also Zhou Qiuhua, who comes from our foundation. But I looked closely at the other articles too. I found that many newcomers felt the same way towards issues such as grant-making and governance as I did when I first joined a foundation. So there isn’t a single author that stood out ,but I am very aware of the problems described in the articles, especially since they still exist.

Zhu Yi: All the articles are good. Most of the people who wrote them began their NGO work as undergraduate students. They are able to observe and discover social needs, and are positive and diligent in conducting their work.

What are the secretary-generals going to do?

Peng Yanni: We have already conducted some “sharing of life stories”activities within our organization. After reading the frontline voices articles, the purpose of doing this has become clearer. I have also sent the articles to our council, and all the members think they are excellent. We will conduct more sharing of this type in our team, because we are all striving for the same cause.(The articles by the two project officers from the Narada Foundation are both the result of internal “sharing of life stories”activities. Yanni will ensure that the sharing continues.)

Huo Qingchuan: if the NGO sector is not attractive for job seekers or cannot retain the project officers, then there must be a problem within the NGO sector. We should reflect on our own operations in the Dunhe Foundation to see whether there are problems like those mentioned in the articles. Do the employees feel uncomfortable with our management style, organizational culture, and values? If so, we must change and provide a comfortable working environment so as to inspire their creativity and enthusiasm.(Even though he felt stung by some of the articles, Qingchuan didn’t react rashly. He conducted some self-reflection instead.)

Yang Chunyan: Young people born in the nineties can also achieve a lot! I may try to recruit more young people for our foundation. Perhaps this was also inspired by the Frontline Voices project.(Employing young people- a very direct measure that Chunyan, who fired four people within a year, wants to take.)

Chen Jian: Our foundation always stresses training for project officers. Even without a sufficient budget, this year I still managed to get two project officers to the Xieli Camp and other exchange/training programs. I personally emphasize the HR strategy of the organization and the capacity building of employees. This way they can remain in this sector and have a clear career plan. Our foundation will thus keep up its cultivation strategy for employees.(Chen Jian, secretary-general of the Vantone Foundation, states that he will seek funds for training even with a tight budget)
Wu Junjun: Young people in foundations often have the same questions: how to conduct a project or grant-making? Who can solve their problems concerning career development? I am trying to think of a way to bring these people together and let them discuss such questions. For instance, are their suggestions considered in the course of designing and implementing a project, or are they just following instructions from the management? This is what I have been working on. Does everyone have a voice in the foundation? How can I engage them deeper? Therefore, more platforms are required to enhance participation.(So does Junjun mean that the Zhenro Foundation will not only launch Hepingtai, a project to support platform NGOs, but also support the establishment of a platform for frontline foundation project officers?)

Zhuyi: Selecting and cultivating undergraduate students for the NGO sector is essential for a foundation’s long term human resources strategy. At the same time, I suggest that foundations, businesses and grassroot NGOs can join efforts in this cause. For instance, undergraduate students could intern in turn in all the three types of organizations to understand the working environment and the type of work. On the other hand this may not be very feasible since the organizations may not want others to see their difficulties too closely.(Zhuyi, from a community foundation, gives a very practical suggestions here. The idea of rotating internships was mentioned in several discussions after the China Private Foundation Forum annual meeting. Will this be considered by more foundations?)

从9月底至今,“来自基金会的TA”栏目已经推出18篇文章,在刚刚结束的第七届非公募基金会发展论坛年会上,中国发展简报又发布了集合全部23篇文章 和基于对102家非公募基金会的124名项目官员进行问卷调研的报告。来自一线的声音已经发出,来自管理层的反馈如何?中国发展简报在年会间隙快速访问了 11位非公募基金会秘书长,追问她们如何看待一线项目官员的文章和报告,本期将首先推出其中8位秘书长对项目官员文章的反馈。



陈  键  北京万通公益基金会秘书长

黄  奕  招商局慈善基金会执行秘书长

霍庆川  浙江敦和慈善基金会秘书长助理

彭艳妮  南都公益基金会秘书长

吴军军  福建正荣公益基金会理事长

杨春燕  江苏昌明教育基金会秘书长

诸  昳  上海洋泾社区公益基金会执行秘书长

邹伟全  广东省绿芽乡村妇女发展基金会副秘书长










杨春燕:印 象最深刻的当然是秋华(的文章)啦……因为虽然和秋华认识的时间不是很长,可是我对她的印象很深。90后,特别活跃,因为圈内很缺乏这个……首先非常积极 主动地思考,而且很认真地推动社区……在没有很多支持的情况下,这样的人很少。我们基金会就很看重员工在这方面的素养,这也是为什么今年我们开了4个人的原因。(杨秘书长今年开了4个人!)


邹伟全:其 实每篇文章都印象深刻,但印象最深的是最近发布的一篇文章(笑),来自百川慈善基金会郑浩平写的《公益之路》,很真实很实在。其实很多加入公益行业的人可 能都会有类似的心态波动,但他在其中体现出了一种正能量,也就是愿意很OPEN、很开放性地去看这个行业,看他的服务对象,从中吸取能量,然后再回来做自 己的事情。愿意去接纳、感受,这样一种心态是做公益的人必须要有的,很多人应该向他学习





彭艳妮:我 们团队内部之前就有做过“生命分享”,而看过他们的文章之后对一线项目官员了解的更加深入,也明白了我们为什么在一起做“这些事”。同时,我也将文章发给 了我们的理事,大家都一致认为非常好。今后,我们打算在团队内部要多做一些这样的分享,因为我们在一起是为了一份共同的事业。


霍庆川:如 果公益行业本身不能够吸引人才,或者人才来了不能够留住TA的话,一定是行业出了问题。读了他们文章所讲述的内容,应该进行自我对照和反思,看看基金会包 括我们敦和自己是否有这样的问题,员工是不是工作的不舒服?是不是我们内部的管理、文化、价值观让员工不舒服了?如果有的话,我们一定要改变,让员工们舒 服的工作,这样才能发挥他们的创造力和积极性。




陈键:我 们基金会对项目官员的培训一直都比较重视,今年在没有预算支持的情况下,我还是协调支持了基金会的两位项目官员参加协力营以及其他的交流培训活动。我个人 也是非常重视基金会人员梯队的培养以及员工能力的成长,这样才能使他们有兴趣长期留在这个行业,并且有一个相对清晰的职业发展规划,所以我们基金会也会一 如既往地坚持团队培养的方针。


吴军军:基 金会的年轻人有很多共同的问题:怎么做好一个项目?怎么做好资助?成长中的困惑有谁能帮助解决……我在想怎么才能更好地把这些人聚集在一起,让他们可以讨 论这些共同面对的问题,比如做一个资助项目,从立项到实施,是不是充分考虑了他们的意见?而不是定好了就让他们执行……这也是我一直在做的,每一个人在机 构中的话语权怎么样?怎么才能让他们参与的越来越深?所以要提供更多的平台让他们参与进来。


诸昳:从 大学生里挖掘和培养公益人才是基金会的长期人才战略储备必须要考虑的,同时建议基金会能携手企业和草根机构一起培养人才。比如大学生轮流去企业、草根 NGO和基金会实习一段较长的时间,在工作中体会不同机构的工作环境和特点。但实际操作起来可能很难,家家都有难念的经,不一定愿意被别人看到。


Translated by Li Yuanhui

Reviewed by Fu Tao

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