On May 8, 2017, the Washington State China Relations Council hosted the China Global Philanthropy Institute (CGPI) delegation, which was in the United States to learn about U.S. philanthropy.
The delegation was headed by Niu Gensheng and Wang Zhenyao. Mr. Niu, the founder of Mengniu Dairy Group and member of The Giving Pledge, established the Lao Niu Foundation with assets amounting to $1 billion. A grant from the Lao Niu Foundation helped established CGPI in partnership with Bill Gates and other Chinese philanthropists in 2015. Dr. Wang, Dean of the Beijing Normal University One Foundation Philanthropy Research institute, is CGPI’s first president. CGPI aims to advance philanthropy in China by improving professional standards, strengthening international dialogue and cooperation, and promoting innovation.
A cornerstone of CGPI is the Global Philanthropy Leaders Program, which features a study trip to the United States for wealthy Chinese entrepreneurs who are new to the philanthropy sector. The study trip was the second of its kind, bringing together 40 delegates worth RMB 100 billion in combined wealth.
As Dr. Wang explained, “These delegates are my students and they represent a new generation of wealth and philanthropy in China. Some have decided to do charitable work. They share the same mission of CGPI, to be engaged in cooperative philanthropy work between China and the United States and with other countries. Much of the U.S. experience in philanthropic giving can be brought to bear on China.”
Over a ten-day trip, the delegation visited Boston, New York City, and Seattle. At Harvard University, the delegates participated in a program on leadership effectiveness. Through a two-night stay at the Rockefeller estate in New York, the delegation learned about the Rockefeller family’s contributions and how to pass wealth on for generations.
The purpose of the Seattle portion of the trip was to learn about innovation in philanthropy. In Seattle, the delegation visited Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks, the Gates Foundation, the Seattle Foundation, and the University of Washington.
Mr. Niu elaborated, “The Washington State China Relations Council is engaged in activities to advance cooperation between the U.S. and China, in the realm of trade, culture, and education. And the evergreen state is also a great backdrop for growing U.S.-China philanthropic cooperation.”
“There are differing trends in Asia and among Asians versus Asian-Americans. There has been a real increase in giving among Chinese-Americans, especially in the last two years,” explained the third program speaker, Dr. Victor Kuo – founder of VK Global Advising and the lead researcher for the Global Chinese Philanthropy Initiative, a study of over 50 Chinese and Chinese-American philanthropists. Chinese philanthropists prioritize education, and major gifts have been made to U.S. universities, though there is an increase in giving back to Chinese universities too. “The recently passed Chinese charity law should help,” said Dr. Kuo. The number one source of giving is Hong Kong, and the number one recipient of giving is Princeton University.
The final speaker was Ellie Chao He, Director of Marketing at Aegis Living, a senior living company founded by Dwayne Clark, also founder of the Potato Soup Foundation, an organization that assists Aegis employees in times of need. Ms. Chao He provided a local perspective on Asian eldercare philanthropic efforts.
Garvey Shubert Barer generously hosted the event.