America donated $291 billion to charitable causes over 2010. This was divided among 308.7 million people, for a rough average of one thousand dollars donated per person. China’s population, a staggering 1.3 billion, produced a mere $16.4 billion, for an average of thirteen dollars per person. It’s not that China doesn’t know how to generate income; China is one of the fastest growing nations in the world. So where lies the problem?
Despite the fact that some might be quick to judge, the problem is not a lack of a charitable nature. The rocketing economic paradigm of China means some radical changes in culture, some experts say. The simple answer is that China wants to participate in philanthropic endeavors, it just doesn’t know how. This factor is leading politicians and community leaders from China to come to America to learn how the country’s policies and practices need to change in order to accommodate the growing economy.
While putting a few dollars in the collection plate at church or signing up for the United Way deductions from one’s check may come as second nature to Americans, the truth is that America created its system of philanthropic giving, and we take it for granted. Our culture is one that encourages giving back to the community. While China’s economy has sped ahead of its time, the budding nation needs a helping hand in learning how to get that money in to needy hands. It is really encouraging to see China so active in garnering the skills it needs to give back to its own population.