One Foundation

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One Foundation

Founded by world-acclaimed Kung-fu star Jet Li in 2007, the One Foundation (壹基金) is a charitable organization campaigning for its famous belief elaborated in a formula-- "1 person+ 1 dollar/yuan+1 month=1 big family". In amassing public donation to impoverished or disaster areas, the One Foundation is exploring a way for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) to work independently in China’s philanthropic scene.

Framed under a government dominated charitable network resulted from a planned economy some 30 years ago, the One Foundation did not expand its influence smoothly in its nascent stage, even though it was initiated by a public face.

According to Wikipedia, the idea of setting up a charitable foundation came to Li when his younger daughter was rescued by locals in Maldives in the devastated Southeast Asian Tsunami in 2004. With reciprocal gratitude, Li put hands to charity affairs in hope of helping the needy people.

The One Foundation was registered in Shanghai under the partnership of the Red Cross Society of China, from which the NGO get an account for the fund raised from public. The One Foundation, officially known as Red Cross Society of China Jet Li One Foundation Project, had made donations totaling to 291 million yuan by 2010. It made great contributions in quake-and poverty-relief projects as well as volunteers training programs.

However, the problem was, without an independent account, Li lacked credibility in proving the transparency of his foundation and didn’t have too much say in deciding how to use the donations. In his interview with China Central Television Station (CCTV) in 2010 he even said gloomily the One Foundation’s fate was doomed if it could not work independently.

Fortunately, Li’s disappointing prediction did not turn into reality. In January, 2011, the One Foundation ended its three-year cooperation with the Red Cross Society of China and established an independent public-fund raising foundation in Shenzhen. The transformation, as a result of China’s ongoing reform of civil affairs system, marked a new era for domestic NGOs, which plan to run charity affairs independently in the country.

The Shenzhen One Foundation is headed by a council composed of 11 members in addition to Li, most of whom are top Chinese entrepreneurs, including, Tencent CEO Ma Huateng and Alibaba CEO Ma Yun.

Shenzhen became the first testing site for China to launch its reform on civil affairs in July 2009.

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