Social Innovation & Philanthropy

New international project launched to bring digital era skills to public servants

New international project launched to bring digital era skills to public servants

July 31, 2020

Cambridge – MA, Teaching Public Service in the Digital Age (@TPSDigitalAge) is a new, international community of professors, teachers and practitioners who are worried about the modern skills shortfall inside of too many governments. Launched with the assistance of HKS Lecturer in Public Policy and...

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Fernando Monge, Jorrit de Jong, and Warren Dent; May 2020 

In the fall of 2016, the state government of the United Arab Emirates decided to take a new approach to spur floundering projects toward faster results.

Frustrated with slow progress on key issues like public health and traffic safety, the state launched a new program to accelerate change and enhance performance across government agencies. The innovative program, called Government Accelerators, ran 100-day challenges—intense periods of action where “acceleration” teams of frontline staff worked across agency boundaries to tackle pressing problems. This case illustrates how three teams were chosen to participate in the program, and how, in the 100-day timeframe, they worked toward clear and ambitious goals that would impact citizens’ lives.

The case aims to raise discussion about different types of public sector innovation, to explain the approach and methodology of the Government Accelerators, and to analyze the conditions under which a similar tool might work in other cities.

Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

City University of New York Wins Harvard’s Innovations in American Government Award

City University of New York Wins Harvard’s Innovations in American Government Award

April 21, 2020

Cambridge, MA – Today, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government announced the City University of New York’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) as the winner of its 2020 Innovations in American Government Award. For over thirty years, the Innovations Award has recognized public-sector programs that make American government, at all levels, more efficient, creative, and effective...

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China's Most Generous: Examining Trends in Contemporary Chinese Philanthropy

Edward Cunningham and Yunxin Li, March 2020 

This annual report highlights leading results from the most recent data analysis of the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center’s China Philanthropy Project, capturing over one-quarter of estimated national giving in China. We focus on elite giving by building an annual database of the top 100 individual donors, top 100 donors from corporations and other organizations, and also top university recipients of philanthropic giving.

In 2018, such Chinese giving:

  • was dominated by large organizations (most commonly corporations) rather than individuals,  
  • supported in large part central government policy priorities in the area of poverty alleviation,
  • revealed an intriguing new philanthropy-driven educational model in the country, and
  • remained fairly local in scope.

Read the report in Chinese 

Anthony Saich & Paula D. Johnson, May 2017

Values and Vision: Perspectives on Philanthropy in 21st Century China is an exploratory study of philanthropic giving among China’s very wealthy citizens. Recognizing the increasing number of successful entrepreneurs engaged in philanthropic activity in China, the study explores the economic and policy contexts in which this philanthropy is evolving; the philanthropic motivations, aspirations and priorities of some of the country’s most engaged philanthropists; and the challenges and opportunities for increasing philanthropic engagement and impact in China.

Chinese (traditional) translation available here

Chinese (simplified) translation available here 

China Philanthropy

The rise of private wealth is one of the most important developments in modern China, with implications for the country’s social, economic, and political arenas. How individuals choose to deploy such resources will shape the relationships between the individual and the state, between the state and business, and between the state and the social sector. In partnership with one of China’s leading research institutes focused on philanthropy, China Global Philanthropy Institute (CGPI), the Ash Center launched a Global Leaders in Philanthropy Program. The China Philanthropy Project will pursue...

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The Ash Center promotes innovation and advances excellence.

The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education, and public discussion. We invite you to explore the various themes and programs below which comprise the Center's research focus. 


Conferences sponsored by the Ash Center’s China Programs are important tools for diffusing knowledge about China’s growing role in the world and the challenges related to this most pivotal relationship of the 21st century.  Below we invite you to explore previous China Programs conferences and learn about upcoming China-related conferences supported by the Ash Center. 


The Ash Center's China Programs produce high quality research examining China's growing role in the world.  China Programs' work is disseminated through academic journals and the popular press, academic conferences and workshops, and executive education programs.


Since 2002, Anthony Saich, director of the Ash Center, has conducted detailed surveys of Chinese satisfaction with different levels of government.  ...

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