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This section offers an overview of the goals of the project, methodology of profile development, data collection and analysis.

The Global Chinese Philanthropy Initiative (GCPI) aims to (1) improve U.S.–China relations by promoting dialogue and collaboration between philanthropists in the two countries, (2) develop philanthropy among the next generation of Chinese and Chinese American leaders in both public and private sectors, and (3) advance Chinese Americans and Chinese as positive, contributing role models in the United States and Greater China. GCPI is beginning with a bilateral research study that examines the contributions of Chinese and Chinese American philanthropists. This study examines the giving patterns of Americans of Chinese descent and of those in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau and illuminates giving trends, motivations, and impact among philanthropists.

The study is one of the first comparative reviews of Chinese and Chinese American philanthropists, outlining similarities and differences among philanthropists and their perspectives and giving contexts. A combined analysis of Chinese and Chinese Americans allows a focused review of related and connected giving to similar causes, such as in higher education, health, and international giving. The combined approach also enables considerations of similar motives based on shared cultural and historical experiences as well as geographic proximity; it also challenges thinking about the impact of ethnic identity and context on philanthropy. Ultimately, what can make GCPI distinct from other studies is GCPI’s ability to enable cooperation based on the affinity and trust among those of a shared heritage and its ability to foster pursuit of social impact based on philanthropists’ similar giving interests. Lastly, the project seeks to substantiate observations of record growth in giving among Chinese and Chinese Americans. Through academic and applied research, the initiative also examines the philanthropic ecosystems in both the United States and Greater China.

The goals of the project are to stimulate and catalyze constructive dialogue among philanthropists, practitioners, academicians, researchers, and policy makers in both countries. Ultimately, the project seeks to create an awareness and environment for increased giving, effective institutions, an enabling sector, and improved lives.

The unique contributions of the project include:

Focus on Chinese and Chinese American giving. The initiative offers trends and contexts among philanthropists of Chinese ancestry based in Greater China and in the United States. Whereas other studies may have only focused on China or the United States, this effort considers both. The study and complementary dissemination and outreach activities will generate deeper understanding and cooperation among cultural and regional networks.

Findings and recommendations for action that inform reports and conferences. Specific attention is given to philanthropists’ motivations and interest areas and how they intend to achieve social impact. Recommendations are grounded in examples of philanthropists in action as well as applied research.

Ongoing dialogue. The initiative employs quantitative and qualitative research methods to provide a deeper basis for ongoing dialogue and conversation over the five years of the project. The approach balances analyses of individual, social, and economic factors contributing to effective philanthropy. Findings are used as a basis for outreach activities such as conferences and study tours as well as a range of publications over multiple years.

Key questions that the review seeks to answer include:

  • Are Chinese and Chinese Americans giving significantly in their respective countries through philanthropy?
  • Who are these philanthropists, and what motivates them?
  • How can this philanthropy be encouraged and strengthened? What barriers and challenges are there?
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