An inclusive transformation

Since opening an office in China in 1988, the Ford Foundation has worked with our Chinese grantees and partners to support many aspects of economic and social development.  Over the past three decades, millions of people have escaped poverty, and China has transformed from a primarily rural nation to a primarily urban one.

This transformation has created new challenges, including that of reducing disparities between people born in cities and those born in rural areas. Farmers whose land is lost to urbanization need compensation and support. Those who leave the land to work in cities need access to the formal labor market, safe working conditions, and social benefits. And their children need educations that will equip them to find jobs in a fast-changing economy.


Support for equitable, sustainable urbanization

The Chinese government’s call for a new, people-focused approach to urbanization provides an opportunity to address these challenges. Urbanization can be a force for equality: if rural residents are able to unlock the value in their land and homes, if rural migrants to cities are given equal access to education and social welfare with their urban-born neighbors, if rural youth who grow up in cities are embraced as future urban citizens—and if migrants’ contributions to economic development are recognized and rewarded, and migrant men and women have a voice in shaping policies that affect their own livelihoods.

China and the world

We support US-China and China-global exchanges that enhance mutual understanding and promote shared goals. We also support research and programs related to China’s expanding role in building responsible global investment, philanthropy, and governance systems.

We work closely with local thought leaders, partners, and policy makers to determine how the foundation’s resources can best be used to support equitable economic and social development. Our grant making follows the following themes, with strategies tailored to China’s unique challenges and needs.


Thematic Areas in this Region
  • We seek to help people who are affected by urbanization share more equally in its benefits. Our partners explore reforms that would allow farmers to accumulate wealth in their land, that would align rural and urban social benefits, and that would prepare rural youth for urban futures. They also explore ways for the government to engage with people to solve social and economic problems—especially those related to the urbanization process.

  • Our partners work to connect youth who are affected by urbanization and migration with the opportunities they need to fulfill their potential, particularly through education and job training. We invest in developing youth leadership skills, especially among girls, to help ensure that future generations play a central role in shaping and strengthening their communities. 

  • Across all our work, we seek to ensure that women and girls benefit from urbanization, have access to learning and leadership opportunities, and can participate in solving problems in their communities. We support organizations led by women and girls that work to raise public awareness of discrimination and make future laws and policies equitable. 

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Grant makers in China

Senior Program Officer
Beijing, China
Program Officer
Beijing, China
Beijing, China
Program Officer
Beijing, China
Program Officer
Beijing, China

Equals Change Blog

Susan, Jolly, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

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