Donations to Chinese Philanthropists
Project Decision (June 2020): During the fight against COVID-19 in the United State and China, the alumni initiated a project to help students from low-income families with online school, more information can be found on Phoenix New Media and on Daofeng&Angela Foundation website “Donations to COVID-19 Fight-Partner with The Life Preservation Initiative”. In addition, the alumni also help the planning and execution of the COVID-19 fight project initiated by The Life Preservation Initiative. Based on the survey report and the great work completed by the alumni, Daofeng&Angela Foundation plans to replace the current project with another five-year project – Georgetown University’s Non-profit Leadership Enhancement Research Program. In the new project, a total of 100 student will be sponsored by Daofeng&Angela Foundation from 2020-2025. Daofeng and Angela Foundation believes that the 25 alumni and the prospective students will help Chinese philanthropic development and connect with the world.
Update in June 2020:
In order to improve the program design and management, the Daofeng&Angela Foundation conducted a questionnaire survey from all alumni anonymously. To assess the effectiveness of the project and provide necessary adjustments for the remaining sessions, this report surveyed the basic situation, institutional situation, period of the project subsidy in the United States after the project was funded, and impacts brought to China after the study. The details of the survey can be found in the attachment below.
As a nonprofit leader in China, Mr. He has promoted philanthropy across the nation. In order to continue improving the culture of the Chinese philanthropy community, the Daofeng & Angela Foundation worked with the China Global Philanthropy Institute to initiate the first national Intensive English Program (IEP) for philanthropic pioneers in China. A total of 50 philanthropists will be selected nationwide over five years, and they will study English extensively for 16 weeks at Georgetown University. Qualified philanthropists would have at least three years of philanthropy experience and will continue working in philanthropy for three years or more after finishing up the English program. Two philanthropists attended the program in 2017, and ten attended the program in 2018. Through this English program, the Daofeng & Angela Foundation intends to provide a platform for Chinese philanthropists to connect with the world and offer help at a global level. Furthermore, the Daofeng & Angela Foundation hopes that Chinese philanthropy progresses to the next stage of its development.
Mr. and Mrs. He with students
During the period while the students were studying English at Georgetown University, Mr. and Mrs. He kept checking in with them to make sure they had adequate supports. Their English skills have greatly improved by end of the 16 weeks’ study. An appropriate way to showcase the improvement would be essays written by the students. The essays below from the students and associated contents are independent of the Daofeng & Angela Foundation, with the exceptions of necessary typo corrections for readability purpose.
Former chief editor of Xinhuannet Charitable Department
I am very grateful to the Daofeng & Angela Foundation for supporting me. Last month, I finished all of my classes and got the final grade. My final was A-. I knew I was not the best, but I did my best.
I learned English when I was in middle school. But I learned English just because it’s required by my school. I did not like English at all, I hated it. As a result, my English is not very good. I made average grades, but it is difficult for me to listen and speak partially because I didn’t use English in my daily life. English was just a boring subject for me. This situation continued in my college. When I graduated, finally, I was able to stop learning English. It was a relief for me. But once I was working, I found that English was very important for my work, my life, and my future. So I wanted to improve my English skills. As you know, I came to the U.S. At the beginning, when I arrived in the U.S. I couldn’t speak a whole sentence. I forgot many simple word, such as Monday, Tuesday… I was so worried. My classmate Dongfeng comforted me, saying that such worry was useless, calm down and focused on the study. I followed that good advice. In the second month, I felt better. I learned English at the Georgetown University for 4 months. My English has improved a lot. Now I could communicate with my teachers and classmates in English, although I was not as fluent as I would like to be.
My interest in English began when I read some English poems and novels. For instance, the Razor’s Edge. I have read the Chinese translation of this book. Now, I can read the novel in English. The two versions are so different. I received the charm of the language. It was surprise. I bought the novel from Amazon, I didn’t know why they gave me a very old book. I researched it with Google, and found out that this book was the first edition of the novel, and was published in 1944. I can use it as an heirloom. As my language skills improved, my interest in the language grew. I understand different cultures better, and reflect on the Chinese culture I learned.
I thought I knew about humanism for long time, but in fact I didn’t really understand it. One day, the school sent me an email, telling me that there was a robbery incident near the school. I was so amazed. If the same thing would have happened in China, the school would try its best to hide it. After all, stability is above everything else. The school in China always said that it was very safe. But the Georgetown University told me the reality, and reminded me to pay more attention to safety. And then, they gave me more emails to tell me that a schoolfellow was dead, and invited me to attend his funeral if I wanted. The student died in the Ethiopian air crash, the school missed him and shared his story with everyone. Another email told me what happened to the school recently, and whether the campus would be closed tomorrow due to heavy snow. Everything led me to feel that I was a member of the Georgetown community. I think this is the best reality of humanism.
I made friends with school fellows from different countries. Such as Qizhi and Malek. Qizhi comes from Japan, he is industrious and friendly. At the beginning, I was so shy and it was difficult to open my mouth. I was always afraid my pronunciation was wrong and others would laugh at me. But I felt very comfortable when I talked with Qizhi first time. Since then, I have enough courage to talked in English. Malek comes from Saudi Arabia. He is the first member of his family who can recite entire Quran. He spent 11 years learning to recite it from 6 to 17.Amazing! He changed my view of the Arab world. I made an appointment with many Arab classmates to travel in the future. I want explore and study Arabia culture.
I also learned a lot of from my home-stay. I live with a senior couple. My landlord Nick is a writer, and the land lady, Diana is a retired reporter of The New York Times. They are smart and wise, and always have independent opinions. Every morning, we have breakfast together, they provided delicious food and newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times. Sometimes we talked about one of the articles. They give me a lot of inspiration. I regret that my English was not good enough, otherwise I could have learnt more from them.
There was a funny story. At the beginning of staying. Diana went to visit her granddaughter, Nick and I were left alone. One day, we went to dinner together. I told him that I was an editor in China. My pronunciation was so terrible, he heard that I was an addict, and his face was full of surprise. How embarrassed I was! When the mistake was clear, we both laughed.
I learn a lot of from my classmates. Zhangfan is very industrious. He exemplifies that that a man who is smarterthan you works harder than you. Liuying is so energetic. She always appears with joy and laughter. She is good at taking pictures and Photoshop. When I look at her pictures, I have an illusion that I am thinner, I am more handsome. Xuemei is so motivated, she works the hardest. She balanced between work and study, but also arranged our courses. Shalei is an outstanding cook. He spent many hours comforting our hearts and stomachs. Dongfeng, Yang hua, and all other friends had a great time together.
Founder and chairman of Wispring Education Development Foundation.
Six Chinese charity professionals, including myself, studied in the EFL program of Georgetown University since January 4, 2019. We are the third batch of students sponsored by the Daofeng & Angela Foundation. I have been a professional investor since I graduated from the Tsinghua University, but I now devote most of my energy and time to charity work in the rural education. Before college, I had been living in the poor mountainous areas in the Western China. With deep understanding and affections for rural education, I established a scholarship at my high school in 2001 and founded the WEDF in 2008. The WEDF is a non-profit private organization in China whose mission is to promote the rural education and enable the children in poverty-stricken areas to have access to better education. WEDF aims to empower rural education and helps the recipients grow into activists in rural education. At present, 18 full-time employees and more than 1,000 volunteers have been accompanying teachers and students in 10 poor counties for a long time. WEDF holds many honors, such as National 5A Foundation, the best charity program, full marks in FTI assessment for 6 consecutive years, andthe first charitable organizations to be approved under the new charity law, which spent more than $2 million on charity in 2018.
I have been studying here for more than one month, and I feel very fulfilled. In addition to studying language, we have many opportunities to listen to Mr. He and his experienced while he promotes an open discussion, which broadens my perspective. Our classmates often talked with each other, and we also discussed many problems with the teachers of the Georgetown University. This is a new start, and I believe this experience will be of great help to my charity work in rural education.
My name is Sha Lei. I have been working in the philanthropy field for 12 years with a special focus on the emergency response in China and Southeast Asia.
I like to share some thoughts about the Intensive English Program. Firstly, I would talk about the curriculum design. The topics are very up-to-date. Themes like labor force, education, and sustainability etc. are widely discussed. Apart from classroom studies, interactive programs like keynote speaker forum and interviews with public members give students many opportunities to practice speaking skills. Besides, our teachers encourage us to learn outside the classroom and arrange our learning schedule accordingly through for example homework, so that we can keep up our studying pace.
I have learnt quite a lot from the program. I have completed at least 6 listening exercises every week and can now write an essay with at least 600 words. I am glad that I kept up with it. I am also taught how to continue with my self-learning even after I return to China. Besides, the course made me understand that examinations are not intended to challenge our lives. Rather, it is effective in letting students grasp newly acquired knowledge. All of us can also improve ourselves together through working hard to be successful in examination.
I want to thank my classmate Yan Zhitao for suggesting me to have meals with my host family. I was assigned with a middle-class American family, who is always more than willing to talk with me. Their hospitalities not only greatly improved my listening and speaking, but also made me understand more about U.S. culture and what they think. I am grateful to be able to stay with them, who have colored my life in this country. For example, it was not known to me until I talked with my host that, the term
“homeland” for them is a Nazi-used term. Hitler united the Germans by upholding the principle that the interest of the people in their own “homeland” was the highest. It was therefore reappeared in the newly established department “The Department of Homeland Security” after the 911 event, which reflected the fear to the ISIS. My host said U.S. is different with Europe, China and Japan etc., whose people have been living in their own countries for thousand years. However, there was a significant portion of immigrants in the last three generations of American, and they have “chosen to be American” rather than consider themselves as “originated from America”. These people have almost unanimously agreed with certain value and hence forming the nowadays U.S. value, which differs from a common U.S. land.
My host took me to the supermarket regularly on Saturday in order to make plans for the meals of the upcoming week. Their discipline impresses me, and I have decided to continue following their ways of living after I go back home. Of course, I will also continue my English learning, including keeping at least 3 listening practices weekly and reading news from CNN.
Finally, I want to thank my classmate Zhang Yajing for helping me to prepare the application materials, thank Zhang Fan for encouraging me to enjoy life in America, and thank Mr. and Mrs. He for guiding me in the new world. Thank you so much.
I still remember the first day of school. My exam results were very bad. I was shocked when I got the placement results: Basic Class. Where did I study English when I was in college? I couldn’t accept this result. Every time I met a classmate I complained about it. I found Ms. Kama and told her I needed to switch to another class, this level is too basic for me and so on. Kama said to me, Yanghua, be patient with yourself for two weeks, if you really think this level is not suitable for you, we will re-evaluate which class right for you. After two weeks, I met Kama at the first social hour and she asked me, Yanghua how did you feel about the class? I told her I didn’t want to change the class,this level fits for me. Maybe I needed more time to adapt to the study process and adjust my mindset. I have not used English for 18 years since I graduated from college, I forgot everything. I know this is not my fault, it is a matter of time. But now this is a very good chance I should start from zero. Usually to improve language you need to practice, to communicate, to use then you can remember it. I got nervous every time I took the test and this nervousness distracted me. Unfortunately, my test scores were very bad. I lost my confidence. I was so sad. My high expectations
brought me so much stress, which made it harder to focus on the test and performed well. I asked myself what should I do. About over one month, I started to enjoy studying here. I felt my English was better than before and was improving a little bit every day. I found a good method to learn English, which not only opened up my world but also improved my language skills.The friends I stayed with always help me improve my English. SometimesI didn’t understand what happened in the class, when I went back home they would help me to make up the part I didn’tunderstand. However, living with two noisy children didn’t help me get much sleep. Another important part of my life here was doing a study group with my friends, I wanted to share this with everyone. My hosts are a Bahai family. They took me to attend many activities from Bahai faith. I made many new friends. At least twice a week I participated in a study group. This is avery good chance to practice my English and understand different cultures. I visited six local families and they invited me to dinner. They are from many parts of DC and they are lawyers, professor, doctor, town planner, filmmaker and others. The conversations with them was opened my mind. I learned about the life of the soul and the spirit. They are very nice and friendly to me. I didn’t have any religions before this. I didn’t feel anything when I started learning at the beginning, I just wanted to practice my English and make some new local friends. But since then I have been learning more and started to enjoy it. The Bahai Faith had a big impact on my heart and has inspired me in many ways, including the existence of God, having a pure and kind heart and showing loving-kindness to others.
After I go back to China, I think I will be able to continue studying English. First I have made some friends in DC. I will keep in touch with them. Second I found American partners to connect with for my future work. Finally, I will have a study group with my American friends in China to improve my English.I am very grateful to Daofeng & Angela Foundation for this opportunity. It expanded my horizons. I really hope one day I can return and study here. The semester is over, but for me, it is only the beginning.
It's really like a dream. Going back to class and being a student is a great luxury for a middle age woman like me. I did not expect that it really happened after my seven-years philanthropy work.
Is this not a farewell. Say goodbye to the comfortable life in the past, come to a strange place, there’s one thing to do—Be myself; Say goodbye to the past hard run and let’s slow down, look around and feel the little beautiful life; Say goodbye to the past noise and impetuous, obsession and confusion, let myself calm down, began to think again.
It was a new challenge. I hadn't sat in the classroom quietlyfor many years. I enjoyed reading, talking and discussing with my classmates from all over the world. Our discussions covered a wide range of topics, such as environmental, protection, travel, dream, employment, and various cultures. These interactions
make us feel we are all a family. The teachers at the Georgetown university are professional, friendly and humorous (except when it comes to homework). Sometimes I wake up in my dream with a smile, I think maybe I am really back to my school days...
There are moments that should be remembered. For example: doing homework in a hurry at a very quiet night; reading an English novel in the sunshine afternoon; carrying a heavy bag to the bus station in the morning; sharing our lunches and take a nap during lunch break; Shiyu often reminds me to do my homework, Xuemei does a lot of things for us, Zhangfan often shares a sweet orange with me, Shasha is very humorous and often tells us jokes, Dongfeng is our idol, and Yanghua, she is a nice girl, I hope that she would have found a cool boyfriend here.
If there's one thing I'll never forget, it's the beautiful professor LeMense. She wrote me many long emails. She almost used all the beautiful words that I could not believe to praise me and encourage me. I couldn’t believe that a teacher was so nice to me. I asked her why. She answered me with a smile: just want you go to from better to best! Thank you Professor LeMense. Of course I know I'm not the best one, but I know I can try my best and be my best. I am not a diligent person, but I am a persistent person. If I decide on this direction, I will keep studying for half an hour, one hour and two hours every day in the future. Learning English will be my daily life, and I will not give up. This is a way for me to thank Mr. and Mrs. He, it is also a promise for me.
A Japanese student Hiro asked me: what is your plan for learning English in the future? I said: my plan is “don't give up”! Even for five minutes every day, a year later, five years later, ten years later, what will it be? He smiled: I see! Come on, Victoria! Yes, whenever and wherever, if you want to do, you can do! Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get next from the movie “Forrest Gump”. English is a chocolate, the future is also a chocolate, you are too. If you don't work hard, design, think, act and make decisions, how will you know what taste of the English, future, and yourself?
This is not only a language upgrade, but also a leap of the heart. I began to care about human beings, the sky and the earth, the history and the future. This was the biggest change for me. During this time, I flew to Las Vegas alone and went to the Grand Canyon and Death Valley by myself. My girlfriend and I spent a morning volunteering for children in Boston at Harvard University's annual benefit event. During this time, I went to every museum to see the changes of the world, went to the cafe to taste the different cultures, went cross street to see the free smile on people's faces...I realized that the beauty that is ignored by hasty steps, the truth that should be faced, and the faith that deserves to be respected, these are the most precious things in our life.
Finally, I am deeply grateful to Daofeng & Angela Foundation for letting me find new highlights in the most difficult period of my life.Thank you for giving me a chance.Let me become more calm, stronger, more open-minded, let me think and face the future.Today is not the end of training for me, but a milestone in my lifetime, and it’s a new beginning.
I would like to say Thank You to my classmates. Thank you for the happiness and joy you gave me. I will miss you in the years to come. Many years later, when I remember those four months in Washington, I will be in smile.
Xuemei Sun, chief editor of the public welfare sector of Phoenix New Media and the initiator of Girls Protection Fund, a non-profit organization aiming to prevent child sexual abuse in China.
Thank Daofeng & Angela Foundation for giving me the opportunity to study at the Georgetown University in Washington D.C. from January 7th to May 7th in 2019. It is a wonderful experience for me, and it’s a pity that I didn’t have more time to learn English there. When I arrived D.C., everything was new for me. I was curious about everything. So I just opened my eyes widely, trying to see and experience more. Time flies, four months have gone by. I would like to introduce my experience in D.C. from four aspects: the curriculum, my achievements for English studying, an unforgettable story, and my English learning plan after back to China.
I studied in the High Intermediate class during the first half of the semester, since I didn’t get a good score in the entrance examination. After the Spring Break, I re-applied and was admitted to the Professional English Study class as I wished. There are some differences between the two classes, such as the content, the methods and the arrangements. The High Intermediate class focuses more on academic English, which is
suitable for students who want to apply the American universities. But I wanted to practice more in English listening and speaking, as well as more activities related to local organizations. I felt very lucky to change my class. We studied on leaderships and NGOs, and visited the government of Maryland. There were a lot of discussions and several presentations in our class, which improved my English a lot. I also like the activities organized by the faculty of Georgetown, such as cherry blossoms, picnic, and monument trip.
There’s no doubt that I achieved several goals this semester, including speaking, writing, knowing more about NGOs and knowing more about American culture. I remember that when I arrived the US on January 1st of 2019, I felt shy to open my mouth to speak in English. Feng (my classmate) said that my face was red when I spoke English that day. But at the end of the semester, I have given several presentations, the longest was about fifty minutes. I remember that when we had dinner with Mr. & Mrs. He, I said one of my goals was to give presentation at Yale University or Harvard University, and thanks for Fan Zhang to help me achieve it. I hope I can use English in more situations in future, such as conferences, lectures and international communication.
My English writing has been improved too. After practicing and training, I have learned that there are some structure models for English writing. And I am no longer resistant to read English materials as I used to be, even though I prefer to read Chinese articles instead of English. The biggest achievement is that I found two NGOs, which are similar to my NGO - Girls’ Protection. Before I came here, I wondered if I could contact American NGOs, which focus on child sexual abuse. So I was excited to find Darkness to Light, then contact the Safe Shores to finish my paper. Besides the paper, I have learned a lot on the prevention of child sexual abuse in the U.S. I think it’s important to compare and learn from the other countries’ NGOs in the same filed. I always paid more attention to the issue of child sexual abuse, so most of my presentations are about this issue. I think both Girls’ Protection and I will benefit from this studying, so thanks to Daofeng & Angela Foundation again.
I have to say something about my host family. It is a kind family with three daughters, but the male landlord is not the three girls’ father. I was shocked that Americans can get very well with each other after their divorces. The female landlord is a strong woman, who handles the family relationship very well. Sometimes we had dinner together with her ex-husband and boyfriend. She told me that not everyone can do like this, but most American couples could do like this, because they think the relationship between ex-husband and ex-wife should be good, which is better for children and themselves. I even went to church with them, and joined their activities especially playing basketball with the youngest girl.
The trip to Yale University, Harvard University and Pennsylvania University impresses me the most. During the Easter Break, Fan Zhang, Shiyu Guo and I travelled to three cities, including New Haven, Boston and Philadelphia. The arrangement by Yale - China was so good that we visited three student’sorganizations and gave an English presentation, with more than forty scholar and student participants. We attended a forum at the Harvard University, in which we just spoke Chinese, but we found out that there are so many youthsconcerning Chinese social problems. At the University of Pennsylvania, we sighed the beautiful campus. After visiting several universities, I do feel that the United States pays great attentions to education, and every university is pursuing differently. I have learned a lot from Fan Zhang during the trip too. The rain was so heavy when we drove from Boston to Philadelphia. As a journalist, I asked Fan a lot of questions, including his growth experience, his family history and his ideas of charity. He is really our role model, coming from a remote town and achieving his dream through his own efforts. His experience encourages me to study and work harder. I interviewed Feng about his experience too. Then I am more deeply aware that no one can succeed without hard work. When admiring the success of others, it is even more important to see the efforts and pressures behind them.
After four months of getting close to each other, I see the advantages of many companions, which I don’t have. We often had lunch together, using the same pair of chopsticks and spoons, which will become be a good memory for the next few decades.
This is the ending of the semester, but just the beginning of the English learning for the rest of my life. The four mouths ignite my idea of taking a Ph.D., perhaps the major will be psychology, education or social work. Even though maybe I can’t study aboard until my daughters goes to college, I will not back down. Because I want to learn more, which would help me to improve myself and my organization. I believe that keeping study is very important after back to China, since child sexual abuse is a worldwide problem, and I have to communicate with foreigners. At the same time, it is impossible for me to only operate Girls’ Protection in my life, although I will give priority to Girls’ Protection. For this reason, I will spend at least one hour to study English everyday, and keep in touch with foreign friends in English in future. As a dream driven person, I believe I will be back.