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Drive Pro Bono Forward17/06/2020

Brief Summary of GPBN-iWillVUA Webinar

Drive Pro Bono Forward

– Relection on Pro Bono Actions in COVID-19 Pandemic

The new round of increasing cases of COVID-19-affected reminds us to stay alert to the uncertainties of COVID-19, and requires professionals to be ready to take action, either on our job duty or on pro bono calls.   

Foreseeing siginficant needs and consequences in economic recession and livelihoods concerns,  Global Pro Bono Network (GPBN) and iWill Volunteer United Actions (iWillVUA) convened a  webinar titled  “Drive Pro Bono Forward —-Reflection on Pro Bono Actions in COVID-19 Pandemic” to share, in a timely fashion, their respective pro bono experience in four countries: China, France, India and USA, on 28 May 2020. 

The Webinar, as the first immediate action among those committed by GPBN in GPBN Statement of Fighting Against COVID-19 on 4 May, was designed to identify ways of driving pro bono forward globally and in local circumstances, in the context of COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Ms. Annie Yan Peng,  a member of Global Council of GPBN, Founding President of Beijing Pro Bono Foundation (PBF), and a long-term pro bono adviser to PBF & HZR,  chaired the Webinar by introducing GPBN  and iWillVUA.   She emphasized that the focus of GPBN was to connect, mobilize and equipt its members- pro bono intermediaries- to strengthen their capacity.  She also explained background and the logic of the webinar design. 

She then invited the four speakers to share how they make the virtural pro bono services along with their pro bono models relate to different stakehodlers. 

The first speaker was Mme Robin Zhai Yan, the President of PBF and Founder of Beijing Huizeren Volunteering Development Center (HZR).  She shared that PBF and HZR, members of GPBN, successfully engaged diversified strategic parters to take united actions on pro bono basis under the umbralla of iWill brand.   All virtual pro bono services in fighting against COVID-19 were consistently led,  monitored, and supported by iWillUVA throught three levels and three professional services on the frount line.   The members cover foundations of pro bono initiated and formed, together with their strategic partners cover foundations, professional associations, Non-profit organization and the established experts.  During the three months (20200123-20200430, iWillVUA mobilized 2367 volunteers to serve 50 non-profit organization covering 24756 people.   The total number of hours provided reached 117,400 hours which was equivalent to 117,400.00 Chinese Yuan.   

The second speaker was Mme. Lindsay Firestone Gruber, President and CEO of Taproot Foundation, USA.  She shared how to design and implement virtual pro bono.  She particually pointed out how to define what is or is NOT virtural pro bono, in her speech “Supporting Social Secdtor through Virtual Pro Bono Programming”.   She also generously shared the strategies of communicating pro bono and engagaing different parterners by understanding Sweet Spots of positioning pro bono.  Her speech provided updated inspiring experience from Taproot Foundation,  the founding partners of GPBN.

The third speaker was Mr. Shalabh Sahai, Co-Founder and Director of iVolunteer, India.  He shared, in his speech “Catalizing Pro Bono”, how to drive pro bono movement when a society not yet familiar with pro bono.   He made concrete introdcution to their flagship programs with coporate parters and iVolunteer Awards. 

The fourth speaker was Mme. Segolene Bunel, Director of International Affairs of Pro Bono Lab (PBL), France.  She made a well-structured response to the webinar designing questions and followed by concrete PBL innovations in building partnership and experiment Pro Bono Factory.   She also pointed out that advocacy for pro bono shall have a good sense of critical times such as now during COVID-19.   She concluded that Pro Bono was more than ever needed for our society with public health crisis before each of us.

After the four speeches, interactions took place through Zoom Conference chat function and in the Q&A session at the end.  The 2-hours webinar was proceeded in both Chinese and English with simultaneous translation.

Mme. Robin Zhai Yan, concluded on behalf of iWillVUA, that this webinar was only the first move of pro bono practice sharing among GPBN members.  She thanked the other three speakers from USA, France and India for their generous contribution to support pro bono movement in China.   And she also, as the standard procedure for PBF and HZR, have the iWill certificate ready for all pro bono provider associated with the Webinar. 


Thanks for the staff of PBF and HZR for managing this webinar event including engaging pro bono.

Thanks for all the service provided on pro bono basis who were zoom technical set-up, poster design,  webinar speakers and the chair person,  language supporters for material written translations and simultaneous translation.

Webinar Record

The Webinar was designed for a targeted participants on “ invitation only “ – mainly  experts involved in iWillVUA and all GPBN members.   Since the webinar was so well-received and inspiring,  the organizers decided to make it benefit more.  Here the link provides a public access to  the original recording without any editing.  Unfortunately, the recording was only in Chinese with very little English, due to limited experiences of iWillVUA in organize bilingual event.   However the PPTs can be downloaded from 

(Author:  iWillVUA)