Joining the 1990 Institute fold in 2013, America-China Exchange (ACE) was a long-running annual cross-cultural exchange program that brought together American teachers and students to China to teach English to Chinese teachers and students, while learning Chinese language and culture. The program included day trips to nearby places of interest, visits with local families, and participation in cultural activities.
This exchange program was conducted for a number of years at the Qiaoqi Experimental Primary School in Jiangsu Province. The school was the original school of founder Alice Woo’s father, Vincent V.C. Woo, a a textile entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Every other year, a group of students from Qiaoqi visited the U.S. and stayed with American host families.
The Institute also provided several teacher fellowships for this program. The ACE program concluded in 2015 and we would like to thank Alice Woo and Michelle Stauffer for all their leadership and hard work in making this an impactful program for its participangs.
Children’s Art and Environment Projects
Children’s Art and Environment Projects (CAEP) was established in the late 1990s in partnership with the China National Children’s Center (CNCC) in Beijing, based on a vision by board member Billy Lee and others.
A competition on children’s art on the environment was held in 2000 to connect children in the U.S. and China, and to raise awareness of each other’s environmental issues. One million Chinese children participated, and their art was shared in museums and schools across the U.S. From 2007-2014, the Institute had sponsored an annual International Mural Painting Festival in Beijing with participation by Chinese and international students.
We have also conducted Jazz Workshops in Beijing with American musicians and Chinese music students.
The Institute provided two “Magic Moments” fellowships each year in 2007-2013 for U.S. teachers to take students to China on cross-cultural exchange programs. CAEP has now diversified in to helping support our new education programs, Teachers Workshop, founded in 2013, which then became CHINA NOW | For Teachers in 2015, and our digital media learning initiative, Youth Voices on China.
The Institute has helped finance over 14,000 micro loans totaling over RMB 44 million (US$7 million) to impoverished families through the Pucheng County Women’s Sustainable Development Association (PCWSDA) in Shaanxi Province. Since 2007, the Institute has donated approximately $500,000, and has also provided governance, management advice, and oversight.
Today PCWSDA has a loan portfolio of over 2,100 borrowers with an average loan amount of $450. The program has maintained a 100% repayment rate since inception. It is financially, managerially, and operationally sustainable, and has won accolades from the Chinese Microfinance Association, the Grameen Foundation, and Citicorp.
The PCWSDA microfinance program is one of the largest nonprofit microfinance institutions in China. PCWSDA also presented at the Grameen Foundation conference on “Micro Credit Performance Management and Client Protection Training.”
Spring Bud Girls’ Education
Since 2001, the Institute has provided funding to educate 1,000 impoverished girls in rural Shaanxi Province from 4th grade through middle school, high school or college.
All 1,000 girls graduated from middle school (9th grade in China). 275 girls graduated from high school, while 200 completed vocational schools. 170 girls attended college, majoring in disciplines such as medicine, law, computer science, engineering, mathematics, education, and foreign languages. A few have completed graduate programs and have gone back to their villages to share their knowledge, including heading back to teach or help run village schools, providing medical services and computer/technology expertise and more.
Since the program has concluded, the Institute and long-time program donors have also helped raise additional funds to support Spring Bud alumni initiatives, including providing a remote school with kitchen facilities and heating/HVAC system, to music & arts related equipment and teaching supplies.
We want to thank 1990 Institute board director Roz Koo for her vision and tireless leadership.