BSR advances social investment in China with new CiYuan initiative

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BSR will launch its CiYuan (China Philanthropy Incubator) initiative today in Beijing, bringing together influential Chinese and international representatives of the business, nonprofit, foundation, and government communities to advance both the quantity and quality of social investment in China.

The full-day CiYuan launch event includes a CiYuan Board meeting, a workshop series on social investment in China with high-level Chinese and U.S. speakers, and an official opening ceremony to unveil the CiYuan website (ciyuan.bsr.org). The meeting is the first time that members from CiYuan’s International Advisory Board - chaired by Peter Geithner, advisor to the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University, and Xu Yongguang, vice chairman and secretary general of the Narada Foundation - will come together to discuss the initiative and chart a course for the first year of activities.

'I am delighted to see the level of enthusiasm and contribution from the CiYuan Board members,' said Pei Bin, BSR's Director, China Partnership Development. 'By working with this powerful team of influential leaders from China and the United States, we are able to build synergies between organizations working in the field and advance the development of philanthropy in China.'

Initially, the project will focus on bolstering the capacity of civil society in China by enhancing the prevalence of corporate-NGO partnerships. With nearly 10 years of experience working in China, BSR has a proven record of connecting companies and NGOs here to build effective and impactful partnerships. Such mutually beneficial partnerships create a strong civil society - a key component of the social investment needed to complement China's meteoric economic rise.

'Strategic philanthropy in the United States is widely regarded as a driver of bottom-line growth,' said Chad Bolick, BSR's Director, Partnership Development. 'We believe a similar evolution with Chinese characteristics is underway in this country.'

In addition to working with leading companies and NGOs to optimize the value of partnerships, CiYuan is fostering collaboration and creating platforms for learning within China informed by international best practices. For example, BSR is working with the Cisco Foundation to provide opportunities for private and corporate foundation leaders in China to learn from the Cisco Foundation's experience. Using Cisco's TelePresence Solution to connect project participants from Beijing and Shenzhen with Cisco Foundation experts at the company's headquarters in San Jose, California, BSR has facilitated three roundtable discussions on foundation strategy and operations. The roundtables have covered topics as diverse as finding and assessing suitable grantees, building relationships with grantees, and strategic philanthropy.

CiYuan is also supporting ongoing efforts to promote NGO transparency in China. To support the China Charity and Donation Information Center's development of voluntary information disclosure standards for charitable organizations - a leading effort toward greater transparency of the nonprofit sector in China - BSR is leveraging its global network to do international benchmarking, introduce best practices, and develop tools and training for local NGOs to use the standards.

About CiYuan

BSR's three-year CiYuan (China Philanthropy Incubator) initiative builds innovative cross-sector partnerships to enhance the value of social investment in China. With guidance from international and Chinese leaders in the field, CiYuan improves the capacity of local foundations and NGOs to serve as durable and effective partners with business. Ultimately, CiYuan will integrate philanthropy with core business strategy, foster collaboration, and inspire innovation. Visit ciyuan.bsr.org for more information.

About BSR

A leader in corporate responsibility since 1992, BSR works with its global network of more than 250 member companies to develop sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. With offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, BSR uses its expertise in the environment, human rights, economic development, and governance and accountability to guide global companies toward creating a just and sustainable world. Visit www.bsr.org for more information.

BSR has a team of more than 30 staff working in Asia from offices in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong.

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