In China, the third sector started in the 1980s. However, after 30 years of development, it is still not well understood by the general public. After all, many people perceive it as charity-based. Additionally, as the ways to get involved in the sector are not clearly defined and practically challenging, misunderstandings and doubts about the third sector are present in the minds of many.
Swanport(Hong Zhi) is thus a locally developed solution to address such misunderstandings of the third sector in China. As a social enterprise, Swanport aims at cultivating public spirit and making public participation easier. With the support from Alibaba Foundation in early 2013, Swanport has established Swanport café in Beijing which holds regular events, organized participatory media platforms and provided consulting services to achieve these goals. Swanport hopes everyone can bring up his/her public spirit and practice it freely and joyfully in China.
In particular, Swanport café is currently the most distinctive café that is public-interest-oriented. It provides specially made and named drinks, products, and others on display which all transmit some ideas of the public good. In addition, Swanport organizes diverse public-interest-themed events. It has collaborated with hundreds of domestic and international NGOs. Since 2013, it has held more than 600 events related to the theme of environmental protection, education, health, poverty alleviation, disability support, development and so on. In these ways, everyone who has an interest in the public good could deepen his/her understanding of the subject, and get more deeply involved.
In the past 3 years, Swanport has attracted more than 50,000 fans from several main media platforms in China, including douban, weibo and wechat.
At present, Swanport has not only become the key offline meeting place for practitioners in the third sector in Beijing to socialize and learn, but also the entry point for the general public to experience and understand the public good and public engagement.