HSBC helps empower residents
On a Thursday evening in early August, 17 panel members and some 40 residents gathered in a meeting room at the community services building in Jingming Jiayuan, a residential community with more than 20,000 residents.
Many wore their Sunday best, sitting straight, and listen attentively to two presentations delivered by Sun Qun, a young mother who proposed building a library in the community.
Sun is applying for a small fund of around 5,000 yuan ($750), which will enable children to read a wide collection of books in a library in the community. Her neighbor Liu Jin is applying for a small fund of 2,200 yuan which will enable residents to grow organic vegetables as a gift to senior citizens who live alone in the community.
The panel members were going to make decisions over whether this initiative is going to pass. They raised questions such as “whether volunteers should bring their own kids to the reading room”, and “whether a budget of 760 yuan should be spent on spray bottles for growing vegetables, or should the money be used to purchase more seed and use other tools to replace spray bottles”.
After 30 minutes of presentation, a Q&A session and debates, the two proposals passed the panel discussion, and the funds applied for were granted. This was just one of the 17 panel meeting that the residential community has held in the past two years, as a part of HSBC’s CSR program which helps community building in China.
Since 2012, HSBC has invested some 18 million yuan to support community residents’ proposals such as vegetable growing, and a reading room scheme in 56 communities in 10 cities across China, which has benefited 1.25 million residents.
The initiative, launched in late 2013 with a combined investment of 18 million yuan, has funded 373 programs across 56 communities in 10 cities across China, including Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing and Suzhou, supporting everything from environmental protection to migrant workers integration and other causes that address pressing community needs.
In partnership with the HSBC initiative, local governments have invested a combined 11.06 million yuan to inject into a pool of similar projects. Xu Guirong,
The HSBC fund is being managed by the Shanghaibased nonprofit incubator NPI Group, which is targeting its efforts at volunteer groups that are dedicated to serving local communities, all of which are required to bid for funding.
Residents said what they have gained most from this program is the feeling that they truly can resolve problems and make a better life if they would like to learn the methods.
Xu Guirong, a 62-year-old resident inNanjing, said in the past residents would complain about an issue or even protest to community managers, until the program enabled everyone to realize that it is everybody’s responsibility to make the community better.
“During the process when the HSBC community building program rolls out, we have learned how to write proposals, how to debate details, and how to negotiate with people whose interests may have conflicts.”
“It is eye-opening, a quite new model that makes use of visible funds, discussion and transparent decision-making. And retirees like me now understand Robert’s Rules of Order. In the past people fought and quarreled over issues. Now we discuss, debate, negotiate and resolve problems,” she said.
Zhang Huifeng, head of corporate sustainability, HSBC China, said that the idea behind this program is to enable residents in communities to have the capability to figure out problems, finding solutions, and be provided with a sustainable system that makes their life better.
“It would be much easier if we just donate some money, but money is just external help that may not last long. We believe the endogenous power of residents in communities will be much more sustainable.” said Zhang.
It is eye-opening, a quite new model that makes use of visible funds, discussion and transparent decisionmaking.” a 62-year-old resident in Nanjing