Charitable giving by Chinese and Chinese-American philanthropists has grown dramatically in recent years, driven by a huge increase in the number of private foundations from individuals and families in both countries, according to a new report from the Global Chinese Philanthropy Initiative.
Large gifts by Chinese-Americans increased nearly fivefold, to $492 million, from 2008 to 2014, as the number of foundations they established in the U.S. rose to nearly 1,300, a 418% increase from 2000 to 2014. This compared with 195% for all American foundations during that period.
In Greater China (the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), philanthropic giving increased from $10.1 billion in 2010 to $16.7 billion in 2014.
The number of registered charitable foundations totaled 5,545, a 430% increase from 2006 to 2016, the report said, citing China Foundation Center data.
“Major contributions by Chinese and Chinese-American philanthropists are having a dramatic and positive effect — widening access to higher education, advancing innovations in health research and science and supporting the arts and culture,” Stewart Kwoh, head of the Global Chinese Philanthropy Initiative’s executive committee, said in a statement.
The study examines the giving patterns of Americans of Chinese descent and of those in Greater China. It identifies giving trends, motivations and the effect of those gifts of 35 Chinese and 29 Chinese-American philanthropists who gave an average of at least $1 million in three individual years between 2008 and 2014.
According to the study, major gifts from Chinese-American philanthropists accounted for 1.17% of all major philanthropic giving in the U.S. between 2008 and 2014, proportional to their representation of the U.S. population, 1.23%.
Two major gifts contributed to the surge in 2014: Gerald and Ronnie Chan’s Morningside Foundation pledged $350 million to Harvard University’s School of Public Health, and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan donated $120 million to San Francisco area public schools.
Sixty-six percent of gifts of $1 million or more from Chinese-Americans went to higher education, the study found. Other causes trailed: overseas 15%, health 9.3%, education 4.2% and human services 1.1%.