China-US Philanthropy Initiative Archive


This information about former East-West Center philanthropy exchange programs is provided for archival reference only. In mid-2017, the East-West Philanthropy Forum became a separate nonprofit entity independent of EWC. Between 2014 and early 2017, major projects under the initiative included the East-West Philanthropists Summit and the China-US Strategic Philanthropy Partnership.


The Importance of China-US Collaboration in Philanthropy

As the two largest economies in the world, the United States and China have the capacity to create important international philanthropic and public/private partnerships. Issues such as education, environment, climate change, healthcare, aging populations and sustainable cities demand that we share innovative strategies and build stronger partnerships and broader networks. By working collaboratively, philanthropists in the US and China can maximize their impact on the underlying causes of these and other urgent social problems in their own countries and beyond.

In the midst of historically unprecedented transition, China is working hard to enhance its social services. This calls for the growth of non-profit organizations. By December 2014, there were 4,137 foundations in China, compared to fewer than 400 just fifteen years ago. This explosive growth underscores the enormous potential of Chinese philanthropy. However, many leaders recognize that despite China’s long history of charity, modern philanthropy is in an early stage of development. Future success depends on the government establishing supportive regulatory and tax policies, while philanthropists focus on setting clear visions and strategies, cultivating qualified staff, and maintaining solid relations with government, business and non-profit partners.

Philanthropy in the US is not without its own, often similar, issues. There is a new urgency to the way American foundations and philanthropists are responding to the challenges of global interdependence. Most believe their success depends on their ability to increase collaboration, leadership and accountability, both domestically and internationally.

East-West Philanthropists Summit

The East-West Philanthropists Summit provides a valuable opportunity to inspire leading philanthropists from both China and the US to enhance collaboration on critical issues of common concern. It is jointly organized by the East-West Center (EWC) and the China Philanthropy Research Institute (CPRI). China now has many citizens of enormous wealth, some of whom are already deeply committed to philanthropy and eager to learn from the US experience as they work to build both their private foundations and the legal and regulatory infrastructure needed to encourage philanthropy in China.

2014 Summit

The first East-West Philanthropists Summit was successfully launched in January, 2014 at the East-West Center, with 70 representatives of the philanthropic sector in China and the US gathering to share their vision on critical issues such as environment, education, health and social innovation. Several of the participants – including Hank Paulson, Niu Gensheng, Cao Dewang, Michael Milken and Ray Dalio – used the occasion to initiate new collaborative projects in areas such as education and environment, so there have already been several worthy outcomes.


2015 Summit

The second East-West Philanthropist’s Summit took place at the East-West Center in January, 2015 with a focus on China & US foundation leaders. More than 50 participants attended the Summit, representing 12 foundations from the US and 12 from China.

Jane & Marc Nathanson Foundation (sponsor)
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Blue Planet Foundation
Calvert Foundation
Ceeds of Peace
Dalio Foundation
Ford Foundation
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation 
Unbound Philanthropy
Heren Philanthropic Foundation (sponsor)
Beijing Dalio Public Welfare Foundation
Beijing Qiaonv Foundation
Huamin Charity Foundation
JMDH Charity Foundation
Lao Niu Brother & Sister Philanthropy Foundation
Lao Niu Foundation
Ningxia Yan Bao Charity Foundation
One Foundation
ROFFAR Charitable Foundation
Tianyuan Charity Foundation
Zhejiang Huafu Charitable Foundation


China-US Strategic Philanthropy Partnership (CUSP) 

The China-US Strategic Philanthropy (CUSP) Partnership began in 2010 with a concept paper and study tour to interview philanthropy experts in the Bay Area, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. In the US, the study tour delegation was surprised to find that there was very little understanding about China’s growing interest in philanthropy and its rapid development. In China, the delegation was greeted with broad enthusiasm from philanthropists, government officials and non-profit leaders, all of whom encouraged the US to help China strengthen their philanthropic infrastructure.

In response, CUSP was created as an inclusive partnership of more than 45 organizations working to promote communication, exchange and collaboration between the China and US philanthropic sectors in order to ensure the best use of resources and maximize the benefits to society as a whole. The US CUSP Secretariat is based at the East-West Center in Honolulu and the China CUSP Secretariat is based at the China Philanthropy Research Institute in Beijing. Click the links below for more information.

  • Brief History of CUSP (2010-2014)   ENGLISH| CHINESE
  • CUSP Workshop I – Summary Notes (Aug. 2011)   ENGLISH | CHINESE
  • China-US Media & Philanthropy Leaders Workshop – Summary Notes (Oct. 2011)   ENGLISH
  • CUSP Workshop II – Summary Notes (Aug. 2012)   ENGLISH | CHINESE
  • CUSP Workshop III – Summary Notes (Nov. 2013ENGLISH
  • CUSP Workshop IV – Summary Notes (Aug. 2014)   ENGLISH | CHINESE
  • Newsletter: CUSP Updates  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12


China Protected Areas Leadership Alliance Project (CPALAP)

CPALAP was a multi-year initiative launched in 2008 under a partnership between the China State Forestry Administration, the East-West Center and The Nature Conservancy China Program. CPALAP focused on informing leaders and training trainers through formal and informal activities that facilitate shared learning. The primary objective was to strengthen capacity for effective management of China’s protected areas by exposing nature reserve managers and appropriate government officials throughout China to successful and innovative conservation management strategies, practices, tools and techniques being utilized in protected areas across the United States.

The project also generated a training manual, A Chinese Perspective on U.S. Protected Areas, edited by Guangzhi Yu. This manual is now a required part of the curriculum in all China State Forestry Administration protected area management training programs, serves as a reference for China’s 12th  Five Year Plan for the Nature Reserves, and is part of the curriculum in several of China’s colleges and universities.