Li Kemei 李克梅 (China)
发起人 Founder
北京德清公益基金会 Deqing Foundation
中国 China

Published date: 7 March 2023

In 2004, Li Kemei and her husband Tang Xiuguo (President of Sany Group) established the Deqing Education Special Fund followed by the Beijing Deqing Foundation in 2016, CAPS spoke to Li Kemei in 2021 to learn more about her story of promoting rural music education. 

2004年,李克梅和丈夫唐修国(三一集团总裁)发起成立了德清教育专项基金;2016年,夫妇两人又发起成立了北京德清公益基金会。20216,  CAPS与李克梅女士进行了一次线上对话,希望了解她推动德清基金会做乡村音乐教育的故事。 

CAPS: Can you share with us the philanthropic work of your organization?

Li Kemei: The Deqing Foundation focuses on rural music education. We chose a specific entry point – vocal training for children. Our goal is to enable every rural child to receive quality music education and illuminate their hearts through their voices.  


Focusing on education, particularly music education, is a long-term investment that may not show immediate results. However, we believe that we are laying the groundwork for future success. As we say in Chinese, “You must prepare the soil before planting seeds.” 


We have been working hard over the years to create an ecosystem for rural education. Non-profit organizations focusing on rural education cannot work in silos. It’s essential to integrate our efforts with the local education ecosystem and to support local education workers, such as education foundations, education bureaus, principals, and teachers, with new ideas, mechanisms, and resources. 


CAPS: Is there any connection between your philanthropy and Sany Group’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts?

Li Kemei: The two are closely linked. As the president of Sany Group, my husband Tang Xiuguo has a mission to fulfill the company’s social responsibilities. A major part of Sany Group’s CSR is conducted through the Sany Foundation which aims to drive innovation on important social issues. As members of the family, we have chosen to focus on music education philanthropy as our intersection point. For example, every summer, we invite at least a hundred village teachers to Changsha for intensive training. This would not be possible without the comprehensive support of Sany Group, which provides catering, accommodation and logistics. 


CAPS: Are there any philanthropic projects that have inspired your work?

Li Kemei: Yes, one project that I find particularly inspiring is the El Sistema project, also known as the Venezuelan National Youth Orchestra System. Venezuela was the largest oil producer and exporter in South America during the ‘50s and ’60s, but there was a significant wealth disparity in the country. Many people were unemployed, leading to social unrest and an increase in juvenile crime rates. In 1975, Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu launched the “Music Society Movement” and established the first youth orchestra in Venezuela. Two years later, this orchestra achieved impressive results in international music competitions held in the UK, which caught the attention of the Venezuelan government. In 1977, the government supported the establishment of the State Foundation for the National System of Youth and Infant Orchestras of Venezuela (FESNOJIV), hoping to influence society through music education. 


This project was successful for two reasons. First, the project has a well-designed structure that makes it actionable and sustainable. The project’s goal is clear, not only to cultivate musicians but also to instill a sense of responsibility, happiness, and passion for music, while becoming a contributing member of society. The project achieves this through a pyramid-shaped talent cultivation system, where children progress through choir, children’s orchestra, youth orchestra, and a professional orchestra. Group-based lectures solve the problem of insufficient teachers and help young people develop strong values. Peer teaching is also encouraged which helps improve the efficiency of rehearsals and creates a pool of future teachers. 


Second, this project can be replicated. The project’s management model is top-down, where foundations can establish community centers and provide funding for their basic operations. Community centers can utilize societal resources and parent groups to raise 20% of the funding needed. They can also maintain close contact with companies, families, and young people in the community. The project’s management model has significantly reduced the juvenile crime rate in the community and improved the living environment. As of 2017, more than 300 community centers have been established, providing systematic music education to 350,000 young people every year, which is 1% of Venezuela’s population. Over 40 countries and regions worldwide have drawn inspiration from this project when creating their own models. 


CAPS: How has this project influenced your work?

Li Kemei: I think that learning from the execution and actual effect of the El Sistema project is very valuable. It has inspired me to think about how our “Happy Chorus 3+1 – the Promotion of Choral Art in Rural Middle & Primary Schools” project can benefit more rural teachers and students. A choir can also help alleviate rural children’s loneliness and boost their confidence and happiness. My country has a strong tradition of choral singing, particularly in singing patriotic songs, which provides a good foundation for the choral community. 

李克梅:这个项目不管在执行还是效果上,都是很值得学习的,这不禁让我想到我们自己的快乐合唱 3+1—乡村中小学合唱艺术推广公益项目,如何让更多乡村师生受益,是我一直在思考的与乐团一样,合唱团也是团体艺术,有助于缓解乡村孩子们的孤独情绪,帮助他们更自信更快乐地成长。且我国一直有红歌合唱的传统,合唱群众基础较好。 

The “Happy Chorus 3+1” project may seem complicated, but it has a simple underlying logic, consisting of three modules: building a teacher training system to help deliver excellent music classes, providing a chorus performance platform to accompany children’s growth, and setting up a research and exchange platform to promote rural aesthetic education development. As of December 31, 2022, the “Happy Chorus 3+1” project has trained 8,410 music teachers, hosted 5 “Happy Chorus 3+1” public benefit concerts, and successfully conducted “Primary and Secondary School Chorus Performances” in 14,970 classes across 763 primary and secondary schools in 19 counties across three provinces, benefiting 863,577 students. 


We started with the project design and management model, aiming to create a stepped choral growth system and music teacher training program that is suitable for China. We also want to develop a platform that showcases the project’s achievements in multiple areas, intending to provide every rural child with quality music education. 

我们从项目设计和项目管理模式着手, 希望能通过打造适合中国国情的梯级合唱团成长体系、阶梯式音乐教师培训体系和多维成果展示平台,让每一个乡村孩子都能接受有质量的音乐教育。 

It is an honor to be interviewed by CAPS, and I hope that this opportunity will enable more people to see how foundations in China are promoting the popularization and development of music education through the chorus charity program. 


The role of philanthropy in China’s war on poverty

Alliance Magazine

Poverty elimination has been a mass mobilization campaign in China. To accomplish this task, the Chinese government encouraged financial institutions to lend more and support local projects, as well as the private sector to contribute through investment funds and charitable foundations. Read the article from CAPS’ Angel Chiang here.

China Issue Guide Series: Poverty Alleviation Philanthropy

In February 2021, President Xi Jinping announced that poverty in China had been eradicated. This report explains how the Chinese government realized this ambition, orchestrating all possible support, encouraging financial institutions to lend more and provide assistance to local projects, and directing private businesses to contribute via industry investment funds and philanthropic foundations.

As the country forges ahead with its goal of realizing common prosperity, China’s poverty governance system will need to be reconstructed in line with its rural revitalization plan and new development goals. Government, society, and the market will need to coordinate efforts to mobilize resources towards alleviating relative poverty, paying special attention to the wellbeing of migrant workers and the elderly. This report also considers how philanthropy can contribute to rural development and facilitate more effective private social investment. This is particularly important as many people are still unsure about what the national strategy of rural revitalization entails.

This report is the final volume in our four-part China Issue Guide series that explores “philanthropy with Chinese characteristics” across key areas. Having covered health, environmental protection, and education, we now turn our attention to individual and corporate giving toward poverty alleviation and rural revitalization. As our issue expert, Yu Jiantuo, Vice Secretary-General of the China Development Research Foundation (CDRF), contributed a chapter examining the current state of poverty in China.

Our data comes from more than 5,600 Chinese foundations’ annual reports mined from publicly available government databases; interviews with 50 principals, management teams of foundations, social service organizations, and scholars; media resources including the Philanthropy Times were also utilized.




本研究的主要数据来自官方公开的数据库,共覆盖 5,600 多个中国基金会年度报告、40,000多个公益项目。同时,我们专访了50位基金会负责人、管理团队、社会服务机构及学者;也参考了大量中国公益行业媒体的报道。

How are Chinese philanthropists contributing to education?

Alliance Magazine

There has always been a deep and abiding history of philanthropic support for education in China. This article by CAPS’ Angel Chiang and Irene Liu looks at the key characteristics of education philanthropy as part of the China Issue Guide series. Read it here.

China Issue Guide Series: Education Philanthropy

China’s education system has developed rapidly over the past four decades, expanding to provide opportunities to a larger number and wider range of people. At the beginning of the founding of New China, the country was home to an estimated 440 million illiterate adults. Today, China’s education sector is the world’s largest, and it has achieved universal nine-year compulsory education.

Yet China’s size and complexity mean that needs persist. Rural institutions have historically lacked infrastructure, learning materials and qualified teachers, which has impacted student outcomes. In the last two decades, China has invested heavily in rural schools using a range of strategies and mechanisms. Despite this, urban-rural inequity remains in terms of accessibility and education quality.

Looking at the flow of philanthropic funds in China, education has long been the most popular funding destination. This is partially due to education’s place in the Chinese value system and tradition, and the perception that it is the most important foundation for upward mobility.

This report, the third in our China Issue Guide series, focuses on education philanthropy. It looks at local and specific efforts to see how Chinese individual and corporate philanthropy address educational needs and obstacles across the nation. Professors Wang Rong and Wei Yi of Peking University’s Institute for Educational Finance Research; Zhang Li, former Director of the Education Development Research, Ministry of Education; and Yu Jiantuo, Deputy Secretary-General of the China Development Research Foundation contributed to a chapter examining the current state of the education in China.

Our data comes from more than 5,600 Chinese foundations’ annual reports mined from publicly available government databases; interviews with 50 principals, management teams of foundations, social service organizations, and scholars; media resources including the Philanthropy Times were also utilized.





本研究的主要数据来自官方公开的数据库,共覆盖 5,600 多个中国基金会年度报告、40,000多个公益项目。同时,我们专访了50位基金会负责人、管理团队、社会服务机构及学者;也参考了大量中国公益行业媒体的报道。

Charles Chen 陈一丹 (China)
创办人 Founder
腾讯 Tencent、腾讯基金会 Tencent Charity Foundation、一丹奖 Yidan Prize、武汉学院 Wuhan College
中国 China

Published date: 13 July 2022

曾两年连续以巨额现金捐赠被列为中国首善的腾讯创始人之一陈一丹,2013 年从腾讯首席行政官卸任后,以公益慈善和教育为志业。2022 5 月,CAPS 联合创始人兼主席陈启宗与陈一丹进行了一次线上对话,希望了解他多年投身公益慈善事业的心得以及他对促进教育事业发展的理解。

Tencent founder Charles CHEN Yidan is recognized as one of China’s most charitable men. Since stepping down from his role as Tencent’s Chief Administrative Officer in 2013, he has been pursuing his goal of supporting education through a variety of philanthropic initiatives. In May 2022, CAPS Co-Founder and Chairman Ronnie C. Chan had a conversation with Charles to learn about his philanthropy and his understanding of how to promote education development. 

陈启宗:我是亚洲公益事业研究中心(CAPS)的主席,非常欢迎陈一丹先生今天和我们交流。本次交流目的是用于 CAPS 正在开展的一项聚焦中国大陆地区的研究报告《中国社会公益慈善指南》。今天非常荣幸请到腾讯主要创始人之一陈一丹博士接受访谈。我们知道,一丹几年前退休后,基本上所有时间都放在慈善事业上。我想先问一丹,你们这一代人很有意思,很多都是出生时并不富裕,但却又成了世界最成功的企业家、创始人之一。关于财富,你怎么看?用来干什么?

Ronnie C. Chan: I am the Chairman of CAPS, and I am very pleased to welcome Mr. Charles CHEN Yidan to speak with us today. The purpose of today’s interview is for an ongoing CAPS study focused on mainland China, the China Issue Guide series. Today we are honored to interview Mr. Chen Yidan, one of the core founders of Tencent. We know that Mr. Chen retired a few years ago and now spends all of his time on philanthropy. I’d like to start by asking, it’s interesting that many of your generation were not born wealthy, yet have become some of the most successful entrepreneurs and founders in the world. What do you think of the wealth you have generated?

陈一丹:谢谢 Ronnie。应该说我们是随着改革开放成长起来的一代,不管是城市还是农村长大,基本上都是小康之家。所以温饱问题或是从家里获得的安全感和成长性都是比较好的。而这个过程中,虽然国家原来经济发展较薄弱,但在我们成长过程中,一直是蒸蒸日上的趋势。从我们小学、初中到大学,再走向工作,很幸运是在一个改革开放的时代,经济的不断增长和各种机遇涌现,再加上我们从事的互联网行业更是和世界接轨,促使我们不断在学习、在成长,也就造就了我们这一代人。


Charles CHEN Yidan: Thank you, Ronnie. We are the generation that grew up during the period of Reform and Opening-up, so whether we grew up in the city or in the countryside, we were basically well provided. We had sufficient food and clothing as well as a sense of security, it was all going well for us. Several decades ago, although the country’s economic development was relatively weak, we saw development and prosperity improve day by day. We were lucky that we were situated in this era of reform, all the way from school to work. The roaring economy, the many opportunities, and the fact that we were in the internet business connected us with the rest of the world. All these allowed us to keep learning and growing. This is how our generation was minted.

As for my perspective on money, it provides an opportunity to do something for society. People’s positive actions beget a cycle of positivity in the society. I grew up in Shenzhen [Special Economic Zone] and witnessed how the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals donated to disaster relief in the flooded areas of  China at a young age. Everyone, entrepreneurs and citizens, would donate and help. This legacy is very important. In the Chinese cultural tradition, good deeds will be rewarded. Or from the Buddhist point of view, whether it’s a gift of material things, a gift of the dharma (truth), or even a gift of fearlessness, those are all rooted in human nature.


Ronnie C. Chan: So why philanthropy? What have been the biggest learnings you have had personally from it?


在腾讯最初成立时,2007 年我参与发起互联网企业第一家慈善基金,一晃也十几年了。在这个实践探索中,我有三个点可以分享:第一,社会痛点是公益慈善的起点。你如果去观察公益行业,其实痛点不少,我的想法是把问题看成是有待解决的需求,问题即需求。这其实跟中医一样,痛则不通,通则不痛。



Charles CHEN Yidan: The concept of charity is rooted in traditional Chinese culture. I think the seed of charity is planted in everyone’s heart. We just do what we can. For me, doing charity is a very natural thing. Luckily these years I could focus on doing charity full-time.

More than a decade ago, I participated in launching the first charity fund for Chinese internet companies in 2007. From this experience, I have three points to share: First, social pain points are the starting point of philanthropy. The social sector has many pain points, my idea is to see problems as needs to be solved. Similar to Chinese medicine practitioners when they say, Tong Ze Bu Tong, Tong Ze Bu Tong.[1]

Secondly, the development of philanthropy can utilize the development of technology and social giving platforms. After so many years of hard work, everyone can now participate in giving. The next step is to strengthen transparency and multi-stakeholder participation to foster a robust philanthropic ecology—this is what we are doing continuously and is also the consensus of the sector.

Third, doing philanthropy is actually about addressing the root of the problem. We need to understand the root cause in order to fundamentally solve the issue. Through philanthropy, I gradually realized that whether you are improving conditions around the problem, promoting the development of technology, or cultivating the goodness of people, it ultimately comes back to people. And education is all about people.

陈启宗:在聊你个人公益事业前,我想聊一下腾讯。你们发起基金会是 2007 年,当时腾讯成立不到 10 年,也不是规模最大的时候,你们几位主要创始人当时是经过怎样的考虑决定成立基金会的?

Ronnie C. Chan: Before we talk more about your philanthropy, I’d like to talk about Tencent. You launched Tencent Foundation 2007 when Tencent was less than 10 years old, why did Tencent choose to launch this philanthropic arm at that time?

陈一丹:我们 2004 年上市之后,有全面地去看这家企业的发展,而公益慈善是其中的一个方面。到了 2006 、2007 年,内地对于私人参与公益慈善的环境逐渐向好,加上我们也在思考如何创造机会回馈社会和用户,同时作为上市企业履行社会责任,于是我们几个很快就达成共识,董事会也都非常赞同,觉得这是一个走长远的企业应该去做的。


随着腾讯公益平台的发展,我们看到公众捐款开始达到 一亿、十亿、几十亿。但其实我看重的并不是捐款数额,而是这个数字背后的人群。让网友成为公益的主角,是非常重要的。因为单个人的影响力是非常有限的,如果能让更多人捐款,带动的不仅仅是捐赠额的提升,还有对公益项目的关注、监督。我看重的是这个层级的参与度和影响力以及人人参与的公益生态。

Charles CHEN Yidan: After Tencent went public in 2004, we did a comprehensive review of the development of the company. Philanthropy was one of the aspects. At the time (in 2006 and 2007), we questioned how we could create opportunities to give back to the community, as well as to fulfill our social responsibility as a listed company. Together with the Board of Directors we agreed that [establishment of Tencent Foundation] was something a long-term enterprise should do.

At first, our vision was simply to allocate a portion of the company’s profits to the foundation annually to form a long-term mechanism. During the process, we learned a lot. One was how to establish a foundation in China and become the first corporate foundation in the internet sector. Second was to learn about establishing charitable organizations at home and abroad. I must say, at the time, the leading consideration was to ensure we could align and utilize Tencent’s strengths. Therefore, as an internet company, naturally we established a public-facing Tencent charity platform.

We saw the growth of public donations reach RMB100 million, RMB 1 billion, and then dozens of billion, as Tencent’s charity platform matured. I truly value the number of people involved in social giving, more than the donation amount itself. Empowering internet users to become the protagonists of philanthropy is crucial. The influence of a single person is extremely limited, but collectively we can increase the donation amount as well as raising awareness of social issues and governance of philanthropic projects. What I value is how everyone at all levels can participate in philanthropy and the sheer influence of this level of participation.


Ronnie C. Chan: Excellent. No wonder you, deservingly, are known as the ‘Father of Internet Philanthropy’. It’s very respectable that you were able to inject such a philosophy into Tencent before you retired. Before you set up your personal foundation, you were involved in many philanthropic undertakings, for example, you founded Wuhan College. Why focus on education? What problems do you hope to solve for the society?

陈一丹:关注教育有理性的原因,也有感性的原因。感性的原因和自己从小生长环境有关,我们都是得益于教育而成长起来的。教育对我们的影响实在是太大了。我的祖母是一个文盲,但她独立把我父亲抚养成了村里的第一个大学生。大家经常说教育会带来命运的改变或是物质生活的改变,这是实实在在存在的。但是家庭教育对于一个人对幸福、对价值观的影响,是无限的。我的祖母 98 岁去世的,但每次想起她,我总觉得很有力量。



Charles CHEN Yidan: [For me] there are both rational and emotional reasons to care about education. Emotionally, it has to do with the environment we grew up in: we all benefitted from education. My grandmother was illiterate. She was able to independently raise my father to be our village’s first college student. As one says, education can change one’s destiny or bring a change in the standard of living. The impact of family education on a person’s happiness and values is infinite. My grandmother died at the age of 98, but every time I think of her, I always feel empowered by her unconditional love.

On a rational level, education is a very complex system, involving parents, students, policy makers, and more. The complexity of this important yet slow-moving system requires one to invest more effort and time into it. Therefore, I am always looking for ways to support educational projects. Some things are done by coincidence, while some are actively thought and explored by me. Wuhan College was more like the former. Philanthropic giving for higher education ignited my interest and reminded me of China’s forefathers and their commitments to university education. After I retired, I continued to invest a lot of energy in this project, including the process of [helping Wuhan College] move from being an independent college to a private university. After the experience with Wuhan College, I was very willing to support the founding of West Lake University as well.

The other kind [of philanthropy] is the one I take the initiative to do so, such as the Yidan Prize. My intention is to encourage the advocacy of human understanding and contribution, and that begins with education. To advance the cause of global education, it must be based on outcomes that are sharable and replicable. To recognize the outstanding educational contributions of individuals, we set up a globally representative Advisory Committee to discuss the criteria that adhere to four main pillars: future-oriented, innovative, transformative, and sustainable.


Ronnie C. Chan: If you could go back to the beginning and do it all over again, what would you do differently? Or do you think the last eight years have mostly gone well? And where do you plan to go next?



Charles CHEN Yidan: I am grateful for everything , so I don’t really look back or want to change it. Because the decisions made at that time were based on the level of ability, resources, and aspirations. They were done with good intent so I don’t have any desire to change anything.

Moving forward, I think we still have to continue to put our energy and resources into the construction of the mechanism to maximize its impact and sustainability. My ethos is, as long as [we are] consistent and persistent in promoting causes we care about then we grow [as a society], it is not always about the specific outcomes.


Ronnie C. Chan: I have known Charles for so many years, he has an excellent mentality, and a wise view of himself, his family, his society, his country, and humanity. He is not only very successful in business, but also in philanthropy, especially in the field of education, and we at CAPS look forward to your continued success. Once again, thank you, for speaking with us and sharing your journey in philanthropy with us, which I believe will have a very positive effect on people who come after you.


[1] This is an expression derived from a concept in traditional Chinese medicine, “Pain comes and goes with obstruction” (literal translation), describing the relationship between pain points and healing through the flow of Qi and blood. This might be thought of as, “pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”

Asia’s social sector sees a funding decline

SME Horizon

COVID-19 has exacerbated income inequalities and social disparities across Asia, serving as a force multiplier for trends already in place. Assessing performance across four sub-indexes – Regulations, Tax and Fiscal Policy, Ecosystem, and Procurement – CAPS’ biennial flagship study, the Doing Good Index 2022, examines the social investment landscape in Asia. Read here.

In Conversation With Ruth Shapiro, Founder and Chief Executive of Centre for Asia Philanthropy and Society


According to the Doing Good Index 2022, which analyses the social investment landscape in Asia, Covid-19 has exacerbated social disparities and income inequalities and across the region. We talk to Dr. Ruth Shapiro, the Co-Founder and Chief Executive of the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS), which conducts the study biennially, about the pandemic’s impact on people in Asia, her work and improving Hong Kong’s social sector. Read here.

Funding for Asian NGOs falls amid tighter regulations

Philanthropy Age

Almost half of Asia’s social delivery organisations have reported a decline in funding in the last 12 months, some as much as 50 percent, according to new research. The Hong Kong-based Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS) surveyed more than 2,000 entities and some 120 experts across 17 Asian economies, including India, Pakistan, China, and Singapore. Read here.

The Doing Good Index Reveals Asia’s Social Sector Sees a Funding Decline Despite Having the Highest Pandemic-Induced Poverty Globally

Yahoo Finance

Covid-19 has exacerbated income inequalities and social disparities across Asia, serving as a force multiplier for trends already in place. A new social impact study released today by the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS) shows how to maximize philanthropic and policy responses to cope with these post-Covid challenges. Read here.