A characteristic of many Chinese donors today is that they want to see 100% of their money go to the beneficiary or at best to specific projects. Foundations, public and private alike, are required to cap their administrative costs at 10%, and few donors are interested in giving to the general operations of a nonprofit. The thinking is that no one wants to see their hard-earned philanthropy money spent on needless bureaucracy, or worse yet to enrich some corrupt nonprofit manager.
We are so moved, though, by the example of Joseph Gregorio. After hearing the news of the death of a little girl, Wang Yue in Foshan, Guangdong Province, who had wandered into the street and was run over by a van then ignored by many passersby, he composed a choral piece "to honor Yue's memory and to serve as a call to mindfulness and compassion."
After O vos omnes (attached) premiered at Penn State earlier this year, Joseph tried to find a suitable Guangdong Province charity to receive his donation of the proceeds. When his Internet search yielded unsatisfactory results, he was introduced by a friend to SVG. Of course, we waived our fee when we heard that the initial amount was $53.
We identified 5 organizations that fit well with what was on his heart. Here were his criteria for the nonprofit recipient:
- Works toward strengthening Good Samaritan laws or that helps foster awareness of the value of compassion toward those who need help
- Works toward heightening awareness of child safety
- Helps pay children's emergency medical expenses.
He selected a nonprofit that cares for disadvantaged children in the Guangdong Province, and paid SVG $100, to show his appreciation and support of our work.
Joseph's contribution to SVG helps us continue to serve donors and have the time and resources to promote effective philanthropy. Effective philanthropy is so much more than minimizing administrative overhead, though that can be part of it. For most donors, it should also be about encouraging and partnering with the right social organizations that are making an impact in places where it is needed the most.
Contributed by Karen Liu