China Minsheng Banking Corp Ltd received a special "yearly prize of contribution" for charitable donations made in 2005, at a ceremony held on Tuesday in Beijing by the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation at the Great Hall of the People.
The privately owned bank made a total donation of 31 million yuan (US$3.8 million) last year to the foundation.
It is the biggest donation that the foundation has ever received from a private enterprise in China.
"Social responsibility is an important indication of a healthy and mature enterprise," Dong Wenbiao, president of the bank, said.
Peng Linji, a Hong Kong businessman, donated the most as an individual donor last year. He contributed 20.8 million yuan (US$2.51 million) to the New Great Wall Project, which sponsors impoverished college students.
Wang Xingzui, deputy executive director of the foundation, said the foundation received donations of 180 million yuan (US$22 million) last year, compared to 116 million yuan (US$14 million) in 2004.
Wang said the foundation is currently running five projects to help the disadvantaged. They are the Microfinance project, the New Great Wall project, the Disaster Relief project, the Maternal and Infant Health project, and Project Angel.
The Microfinance project provides small loans to poor farmers over three years for agricultural production, such as planting and livestock rearing.
The New Great Wall project gives an impoverished college student a yearly endowment of 2,000 yuan (US$247) to cover their living expenses. Since 2002, a total of 45 million yuan (US$5.55 million) has been allocated to fund about 20,000 college students across China.
(China Daily January 11, 2006)