Chinese Americans showing more generosity in philanthropy

June 20, 2008

Encouraging to see this kind of a news about Chinese American philanthropy in this Los Angeles Times article, “Chinese immigrants increase philanthropy in their new homeland: The rising force of ethnic Chinese giving is most apparent in major gifts, but lesser bequests are also funding projects on many levels.” Giving by Chinese Americans is getting particular notice by philanthropy researchers and fundraisers:

… The rising force of ethnic Chinese philanthropy is most apparent in major gifts… they are making more noticeable marks though gifts of $1 million or less. They are funding academic programs… medical institutions… promoting cultural projects…

… Many donors are being brought into mainstream nonprofit leadership positions. … Although there are no national statistics on the magnitude of ethnic Chinese philanthropy, fundraisers agree it appears to be on the rise.

… Community leaders say that philanthropy has a long tradition in China — philosopher Confucius extolled it as a sign of “nobleness and superiority of character” — but is expressed differently than in the West. Although Americans may be accustomed to sending money to institutions to help solve social problems, the Chinese have typically focused their benevolence more personally on families, villages and clans…

This noticeable increase in giving is helping to debunk negative stereotypes about Chinese (and, in turn, Asian Americans):

… the new flurry of philanthropy challenges negative stereotypes of Chinese as frugal and even stingy people who are slow to support mainstream charitable causes. Those stereotypes, in fact, are one reason community groups are actively promoting philanthropy.

Read the full article for the complete story.

What can be done within the Christian community to cultivate even more philanthropy, especially in light of the statistic that Asian Americans have the highest median household income of any ethnic racial grouping?

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