The RBF Launches the Inaugural Richard Rockefeller Fellowship with the Lao Niu Brother & Sister Foundation

Alongside China’s rise as an industrial powerhouse comes the growth and development of its philanthropic community. From the country’s wealthiest families to urban middle class residents, Chinese citizens are seeking to continue China’s long tradition of charity and answer the question of how to create the most meaningful change through their generosity.

In order to bring the American and Chinese philanthropic communities closer together, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund is launching a new fellowship program to honor the memory and interests of its former board chair Dr. Richard Rockefeller. The Richard Rockefeller Fellowship supports the development of emerging Chinese professionals who are poised to make a significant commitment to the development of strategic philanthropy in China. Each year, two fellows from China will have the opportunity to study in New York and work out of the RBF’s offices for six months. Along with an individually designed program of study, they can engage in mutual learning and exchange with their colleagues in the U.S. philanthropic sector.

The fellowship program was established as a tribute to Dr. Rockefeller, who was greatly inspired by the growth of Chinese philanthropy and the relationships he formed with some of the country’s philanthropic families. Before his tragic death in 2014, he became a passionate advocate for strategic philanthropy as a bridge to strengthen U.S.-China partnerships and a platform to meet the global challenges of our time. “We are very excited to collaborate with our Chinese colleagues, sharing best practices and learning from each other. As China develops its strategic philanthropy sector, building bridges between our two countries is more important than ever. There is a great deal we can do together.” said Stephen Heintz, the RBF’s president.

The 2016-2017 Fellows bring experience at the nexus of education and philanthropy, and have a passion for ensuring that each successive generation understands the value of giving. Tong Ning is director of China Philanthropy Research Institute’s Center for Teaching Management, which hosts programs ranging from nonprofit management to social entrepreneurship. In 2015, Ms. Tong was selected for the U.S. Department of State’s Professional Fellows Program and was placed at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Jasmine Lau is the cofounder and executive director of Philanthropy in Motion, a social enterprise that runs experiential education programs for young people interested in managing philanthropic funds. Ms. Lau received a bachelors in economics from Yale University and has a master’s degree in international affairs from Peking University.

The RBF, which supports organizations working in China to advance healthy and low-carbon development, is joined by members of the Rockefeller family and a Chinese private family foundation, the Lao Niu Brother & Sister Foundation, in endowing the fellowship program. The Brother & Sister Foundation was jointly established in 2014 by Mr. Niu Ben and his sister, Ms. Niu Qiong. They launched the foundation after a series of exchanges with members of the Rockefeller family beginning in November 2011 at The Pocantico Center in Tarrytown, New York, where the RBF hosts meetings, conferences and public events. The RBF is also working in partnership with the China Global Philanthropy Institute, Sun Yat-sen University’s School of Philanthropy, and the Institute of International Education to establish and implement this fellowship.


About the Rockefeller Brothers Fund:
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is a private, family foundation helping to advance social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. It was created in 1940 by the sons of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.—John 3rd, Nelson, Winthrop, Laurance, and David—as a vehicle by which they could share advice and research on charitable activities and coordinate their philanthropic efforts to better effect. In March 2004, the Fund decided to concentrate its Asian grantmaking in China, one of the fastest growing and most dynamic regions of the world. This focus builds on the Fund’s history of philanthropy in East and Southeast Asia and continues over a century of Rockefeller family philanthropy in China that includes the founding of the Peking Union Medical College in 1917.

Through its grantmaking, the Fund supports efforts to expand knowledge, clarify values and critical choices, nurture creative expression, and shape public policy. The Fund’s programs are intended to develop leaders, strengthen institutions, engage citizens, build community, and foster partnerships that include government, business, and civil society. Respect for cultural diversity and ecological integrity pervades the Fund’s activities. As an institutional citizen of an interdependent world, the Fund is active globally, nationally, and locally in its home city of New York. Grant programs are organized around three themes: Sustainable Development, Peacebuilding, and Democratic Practice. Two pivotal place programs address these themes in specific contexts: China and the Western Balkans. The Charles E. Culpeper Arts & Culture program, focused on New York, nurtures a vibrant and inclusive arts community in the Fund’s home city.

About the Lao Niu Brother & Sister Foundation:
The Lao Niu Brother & Sister Foundation is a private family foundation engaged in charitable social welfare activities, with offices in Beijing and Hohhot. It was established on March 19, 2015, by Mr. Niu Ben and Ms. Niu Qiong, the son and daughter of Mr. Niu Gensheng, the founder and former chairman and president of Mengniu Dairy Company, Ltd. The Niu family also supports another philanthropic organization, the Lao Niu Foundation, which it established in 2004.

The Foundation takes as its mission “concern for the development of the next generation and effective charity to promote social progress.” It puts this mission into practice through support for child welfare and youth entrepreneurship projects and through applying innovative ideas of charity to guide social progress. The Foundation’s board consists of nine directors and one supervisor. Mr. Niu Ben and Ms. Niu Qiong serve as director-general and vice director-general, respectively; Ms. Chen Xiaopeng is the secretary-general and the supervisor is Ms. Chen Huitian.