The Rockefeller Brothers Fund established its China-focused grantmaking program in 2005 with an emphasis on southern 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 more than a century of Rockefeller family philanthropy in China, which includes the founding of the Peking Union Medical College in 1917.
At the core of the RBF’s work in China is a fundamental belief in the wisdom, creativity, and resourcefulness of the Chinese people. With innovative government policy, a vibrant marketplace, and growing public participation, China has the potential to lead the world in sustainable approaches to development.
China has registered extraordinary progress since it launched an era of reform and opening 40 years ago, which includes, among many achievements, the elevation of hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty and the growth of China’s economy into the second largest in the world. This rapid development, however, has been accompanied by profound challenges, including severe environmental degradation with adverse human health and economic impacts and significant threats associated with climate change.
More recently, government and citizen concerns over the health impacts of environmental pollution have become a powerful driver for change in China, prompting a shift in expectations about the relationship between development and the environment. In 2017 China embarked on a new era of development, one that strives for an “ecological civilization” and harmony between people and nature. Furthermore, China has emerged as a determined leader in global environmental and climate governance. Still largely untapped is its vast potential to shape environmental policies as well as climate action in the Asian region and beyond through its investment patterns, sharing of lessons learned, and support for sustainable finance for development.
These developments point to a transformative moment in China’s environmental and climate policymaking and governance. As the Chinese government and people take significant steps to address environmental pollution, climate change, and their impact on public health in an increasingly integrated way, both domestically and internationally, the Fund will assist these efforts by engaging with and fostering collaborations among the government, business, civil society, and academia. The Fund will encourage solutions that take into account social, economic, and cultural considerations and will emphasize capacity building at all levels.
Goal: Advance Healthy and Low-Carbon Development
- Supporting evidence-based policies that mitigate environmental pollution, climate change, and risks to human health.
- Strengthening environmental governance by promoting accountability, transparency, access to information, and legal protection.
- Engaging the private sector and catalyzing market forces to advance sustainable practices.
- Encouraging the development of indigenous philanthropy in support of a healthy and low-carbon future.