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Daofeng Foundation Scholarship Student Casts Light on Fundraising Sector in China

Students from the English Language Center continue to make their mark on the global stage through meaningful endeavors both in their home countries and at Georgetown. Erin Ye, who studies in the Intensive English Program (IEP), is an exemplar: she has dedicated her career to growing and developing the fundraising sector in China, and hopes to improve access to knowledge and establish guidelines for industry participants. Ye studies at the ELC through sponsorship of the Daofeng & Angela Foundation, an organization that funds research, academic exchange, and professional and humanitarian programs, as well as serves as co-founder of the China Association of Fundraising Professionals (CAFP) Program.

Ye’s work with CAFP began in 2017 and continues to this day. The program is focused on three primary areas: collecting information through research and identifying and translating resources; disseminating research and information to fundraisers by innovating knowledge delivery; and developing a statement of ethical principles for industry participants to follow. 

In addition to leading CAFP, Ye’s positive impact extends to other humanitarian efforts: she works as a project manager for the COVID-19 Life Preservation Initiative coordinating different volunteer teams who are helping to deliver N95 masks to hospitals in the United States, including the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. The project is being spearheaded by the Daofeng and Angela Foundation, and Ye was invited by Daofeng He, the foundation’s president, to join. 

Despite her passion for fundraising and volunteerism, Ye actually got her start in a different industry — publishing. “My first job was as an editor of Reader’s Digest,” she says. “They like stories of everyday heroes and NGOs, so I had the chance to interview many kinds of NGOs. I got an invitation from a new foundation in Shanghai [The Shanghai United Foundation] and they asked if I had interest in joining them and doing some communications work for them, so I quit my job at Reader’s Digest and joined them.” 

Ye worked for Shanghai United Foundation, which supports grassroots fundraising for NGOs, for two and a half years, sparking her long-term interest in nonprofits and fundraising. She then worked in consulting for the NGO industry in China before going on to co-found CAFP. Today, Ye’s work with CAFP involves organizing the annual China Fundraising Professionals Forum, drafting the Chinese Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising, and conducting fundraising research — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

When Ye saw a recruitment advertisement for the ELC, she decided to apply. Now several months into her stay in DC, Ye is glad she chose to come. It is her first time in a homestay, and her host family members are involved in nonprofits in their own local communities, volunteering with a food bank delivery service, a compost program, and a literacy program.

“Staying in a homestay provides me with a new view on how American people get involved in their community charities,” Ye says.

As for her coursework at the ELC, Ye is excited to use her English skills to further her information collection and research work with CAFP.

“Fundraising is an emerging market in China,” she says. “We use a lot of American materials and cases. This knowledge [of English] can help us analyze those materials and case studies better. We can pick up some experience.” 

Ye has worked closely with ELC faculty in order to translate and localize CAFP written materials.

“Teachers here are very friendly and warm-hearted, like Professor [Nancy] Overman,” Ye says. “She helped me to review the English editions of our reports. She’s very kind … we don’t know what the best expression in English is of those formal papers, so she helped us to review the Chinese Statement of Ethical Fundraising Principles.” 

As for the future, Ye is interested in pursuing an executive master’s degree in philanthropic studies at Indiana University, as well as continuing to advance CAFP’s mission and promote its message.

“My major goal is to find more resources to support local fundraising research in China,” she concludes. “I need to connect with more scholars here and I will try to find if there are any opportunities to do more cooperation with them.”

Author Meena Raman (’20) is a graduating senior in Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business.