The Jiangsu Tao Shing Pee Education Foundation (Foundation) is a non-religious, non-political private foundation, created in Nanjing in 2006 by Mr. Shing Pee Tao, a native of Nanjing and a Singaporean entrepreneur. The benefactors are Mr. Shing Pee Tao and his wife, Madam Liu Kwan Li. It is a 5A non-profit organization ratified by the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Civil Affairs whose main focus is to offer scholarship while fostering the potential of talented students.
The Foundation believes that education and entrepreneurship are twin drivers for socio-economic development in rural China. The Foundation is not a mere charity but one that focuses on helping rural youth to complete their tertiary education. They are then encouraged to return to their home communities to bridge the rural and urban gap and serve rural reconstruction.
The Foundation funded the first group of 100 students in 2007, and now works with 22 local colleges and universities in Jiangsu Province to carry out the Peeli Scholarship Program. The scholarship is known as the Peeli Scholarship, and the recipients are known as “Tao Students.” The Foundation sponsors 4,500 Tao students with a scholarship of RMB 5,000 per person per year, through 4 years of college.
Tao students have formed an association, “Peeli Fellowship,” under the auspices of the Foundation. They can execute project activities for self-development and offer each other mutual support. Partnering with project universities, these initiatives aim to: 1) provide Tao students with a platform to learn more about society; 2) strengthen exchanges and friendship among the Tao students; and 3) create an environment to enhance problem-solving experiences to nurture them to become capable young men and women with integrity.
With assistance and support from government and local colleges and universities, the Foundation pioneered “the development-oriented assistance model.” Tao students are empowered with financial support and mentoring; their focus is the 4C’s: cognitive ability, creative learning, communication and cooperation, and creativity.
The Foundation believes that education is an effective means to alleviate poverty while innovation and entrepreneurship promote social development. Helping Tao students complete their tertiary education is the first step to encourage them to give back. The Foundation mobilizes resources of partner universities as well as other social resources. This includes the Tao scholars who completed their MBAs at Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business with financial assistance from Tao Shing Pee Scholarships. They offer invaluable mentorship to Tao students engaged in entrepreneurship.
In this unique mentorship program, outstanding Tao Students are matched with Tao Scholars and other experienced entrepreneurs. The scholars impart knowledge, offer practical advice, guidance on career development, and assist in business planning to encourage the Tao students’ entrepreneurial and innovative potential. After promising business plans are chosen, the Foundation offers financial assistance to qualified Tao Students for their rural startups. The Peeli Scholarship Program and the Entrepreneurship Program are implements towards the realization of the Foundation’s mission to uplift the lives of the young men and women from rural areas.
In 2015, the Foundation formed an alliance with Singapore Management University (hereafter SMU) to offer SMU-Peeli Rural Entrepreneurship Course to train and improve skill sets in entrepreneurship to selected Tao students. In return, SMU’s entrepreneurial students are invited to China to visit Chinese startups, incubators and launchpads. The ultimate goal is to jointly set up small- and medium-size enterprises.
The Foundation is aware that with innovation, there are challenges, and therefore it eagerly solicits ideas, inspiration and suggestions from Tao Scholars and other interested friends to help improve its work to close the rural and urban gap and make a lasting contribution to socio-economic development in rural China.