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China gets first Catholic foundation

The new Hebei Jinde Charities Foundation to use status upgrade to improve services

A Jinde Charities relief worker (in red jacket) helps Tibetan-ethnic children in Yushu after an earthquake in April 2010 (UCAN File Photo) 
A Jinde Charities relief worker (in red jacket) helps Tibetan-ethnic children in Yushu after an earthquake in April 2010 (UCAN File Photo)
  • ucanews.com reporter, Shijiazhuang
  • China
  • August 9, 2011
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Church-run Jinde Charities, based in Shijiazhuang, has formally become a foundation after 14 years of service in Chinese society.

The charity and social arm of the provincial Church in Hebei, northern China was granted foundation status in May, but started operating under its new name, “Hebei Jinde Charities Foundation,” last week, along with a new donation account and official stamp.

Maria Hu Limin, fund-raising director, said the biggest difference now is that “we have become a legally tax-exempted foundation and we can issue receipts to donors that are standardized and printed by the state’s financial department.”

The organization was formerly called “Beifang Jinde” when it was founded in Hebei in 1997. It got government approval the following year.

In 2006, it was renamed the “Hebei Jinde Charities Service Center” or “Jinde Charities” for short and registered by the Hebei provincial government as a non-profit organization.

“Jinde Charities has sought foundation status since 2004 and has endeavored to be more professional, more accountable and more transparent,” said Father John Baptist Zhang Shijiang, its founder.

The priest from Xingtai diocese said they have strengthened organizational capacity building, improved management and financial practices, given in depth training to their staff and provided frequent updates on their website.

Since the behavior and operations of some foundations are under scrutiny these days, “we will place stricter requirements on our team from now on so that it will become a trustable platform of love,” said Father John Ren Dahai, secretary general of the foundation.

Jinde Charities is involved in a number of fields including humanitarian emergency aid, social development, education and training, scholarships, HIV/AIDS prevention and caring for the elderly.

Father Ren also hoped to strengthen cooperation with partners in and outside China to provide more help for the poor.

Maria Hu said the next step is to upgrade the new foundation’s status further so that it can conduct public fund-raising. Currently, it receives donations from both domestic and overseas donors, especially many Catholics and some non-Catholics from all over China, as well as from some partner organizations.

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