China Institute in America

aka China Institute   |   New York, NY   |


China Institute advances a deeper understanding of China through programs in education, culture, art, and business. China Institute is the go-to resource on China—from ancient art to today's business landscape and its rapidly shifting culture. Our programs, school, and gallery exhibitions bring to life the depth, complexity and dynamism of China. Founded in 1926 by Chinese reformers Hu Shi and Kuo Pingwen and American educators John Dewey and Paul Monroe, China Institute is the oldest bicultural, non-profit organization in America to focus exclusively on China. Chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York in 1944 as a school of continuing education, our language and cultural school is the oldest educational center of its kind in the United States.

Ruling year info



Mr. James B. Heimowitz

Main address

40 Rector Street, Second Floor

New York, NY 10006 USA

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NTEE code info

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

International Cultural Exchange (Q21)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

When China Institute was founded in 1926, very little was known about China in the United States. The primary goal of the nascent organization was to deepen cross-cultural understanding through the sponsorship of educational and cultural programs. In the 21st century, China’s profound importance on the world stage is well known, yet for many Americans, an authentic understanding of that country remains elusive. Today, the Institute’s unrivaled slate of programs and services brings to life China’s depth, complexity, and dynamism, providing what we call a "360-degree" perspective: a comprehensive and integrated window on China’s art, culture, history, and business environment.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

School of Chinese Studies

China Institute founded its School of Chinese Studies (SCS) in 1933. In 1944, it was chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York as a school of continuing education. Today, SCS advances a deeper understanding of China for students of all ages through authentic cross-cultural communication and diverse learning opportunities, including classes on Mandarin Chinese; Chinese history, music, and literature; studio art courses; and Tai Chi. It also provides standards-based cultural workshops to classrooms across the New York metropolitan area, with an emphasis on serving Title I schools. The NYC Department of Education entrusts China Institute to provide our community’s public school teachers professional training and continuing education credits that strengthen their professional skills and Chinese cultural literacy.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Established in 1966, China Institute Gallery is renowned for its intimate and world-class exhibitions. As described by The New York Times’ Holland Cotter: “Season after season, (the Gallery) brings extraordinary treasures to New York, many directly from China, loans that even big-budget museums might have trouble nailing. With this material it creates exhibitions that advance scholarship (some of the catalogs are instant classics) but also give unalloyed pleasure…” Superlative examples of Chinese bronzes, calligraphy, ceramics, decorative art, folk art, painting, photography, textiles, and contemporary art in various media are featured that cover 5,000 years of Chinese history: from the Neolithic period to present day. The Gallery also serves New York City schoolchildren with its flagship field trip program Discover China through Art (DCTA), which combines docent-led exhibition tours with standards-based arts workshops.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

China Institute’s Center for Business provides a crucial forum for U.S.-China business interaction and a resource for insights on the business landscape in both countries. It’s the go-to place for timely, insightful thought leadership programming and convening around U.S.-China business and economics.

Population(s) Served

China Institute’s public programs bridge cultural divides and spark personal discoveries by all who wish to learn more about China. Lectures, panel discussions, and other showcases spotlight leaders and visionaries in the fields of art, business, culture, and history. Screenings of classic Chinese cinema are augmented by talks featuring film scholars, filmmakers, and actors. Large-scale family-friendly festivals feature hands-on workshops, crafts, performances, story-telling, and other activities that enable children and their caregivers to experience and learn about Chinese culture together.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total dollars received in contributions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

For nearly a century, China Institute has served as the United States’ leading platform for authentic and genuine knowledge and insight regarding China. It deepens understanding of China’s past, present, and future through a broad range of initiatives. These include educational services for students of all ages and backgrounds; innovative exhibitions of Chinese art masterpieces that delight general audiences and advance art history scholarship; humanities-based public programs that illuminate China’s culture and history; family-friendly festivals; professional development opportunities for K-12 schoolteachers; and unique forums for dialogue in the business community.

In 2015, China Institute underwent a transformational change by moving from a cramped townhouse on the Upper East Side to an expanded, state-of-the-art headquarters in Lower Manhattan. Occupying the ground and second floors of 100 Washington Street, this space is undergoing a phased renovation that significantly expands both our service capacity and the scope of the Institute’s programming and services. The move was made in conjunction with the following strategic goals:

• To expand the Institute’s role as the United States’ premier educational and Informational resource on China
• To maximize the quality, range, and reach of its programming
• To serve as a cultural anchor for Lower Manhattan, both as a key tourist destination and as a provider of cultural services for our city’s most dynamic residential neighborhood

As of this writing, the Institute’s upper level (more than 21,000 square feet) has been completely built out, and includes an auditorium suitable for presenting lectures, scholarly conferences, film screenings, and performances; China Institute Gallery, which places on view Chinese art masterpieces of the highest quality; seven classrooms outfitted with state-of-the-art teaching technology that can repurposed to host public events; and administrative spaces.

Please refer to the description below of the Institute’s organizational progress for information regarding facility renovations currently underway and how these will further support the fulfillment of our mission and programs.

Established in 1926, China Institute was the first bicultural organization devoted exclusively to deepening understanding of China in the United States through scholarly and cultural exchange. It has unrivalled experience in transmitting a deep and nuanced understanding of Chinese history and culture to American audiences. The Institute’s Lower Manhattan headquarters is the largest space in New York metropolitan area solely dedicated to that purpose.

Key to the organization’s success is its staff and programmatic leadership. For example, China Institute Gallery Director Willow Weilan Hai, in the words of The New York Times’ Carol Kino, “put [the Gallery] on the map by mounting small, strategically focused exhibitions that illuminate different aspects of Chinese art and life.” Since 1995, Hai has curated and produced more than 60 exhibitions. For the last 11 years, Director of Education Shenzhan Liao has managed and implemented all activities at our School of Chinese Studies. Her accomplishments include the development of award-winning curriculum guides and innovative professional development programs that provide best practices for K-12 educators to teach China in the classroom.

China Institute also strengthens its institutional capacity though collaborations with notable cultural, educational, and government institutions. For example, New York State has accredited our School as a provider of certificate-issuing professional development programs for K-12 educators. In partnership with East China Normal University—one of China’s leading institutions of higher learning—new educational and cultural initiatives are being inaugurated at our facility’s East China Normal University Center at China Institute. In 2019, the Institute and The US-China Music Institute at Bard College Conservatory of Music co-launched the MUSIC at China Institute initiative. Prominent artist/educators lead music classes and appear in performance. Our Gallery teams with major museums—especially those located in China—to bring to New York Chinese art masterpieces that never have been seen before in our area.

The thoughtfully curated programming organized by our Public Programs Division and China Institute Center for Business features the participation of some of the most important thought leaders and creators from China and from the Chinese diaspora. These include actors, architects, authors, entrepreneurs, fashion designers, filmmakers, historians, musicians, scholars, and visual artists who provide unique perspectives on all things China.

China Institute has long been New York City’s premier educational and informational resource on China. Each of its programmatic pillars is built upon decades of experience and thought leadership in its areas of activity:

Established in 1933, our School of Chinese Studies helps students of all ages and from all walks of life to gain fluency in Chinese; become proficient in studio arts (i.e, calligraphy, brush painting) and Tai Chi; explore the touchstones of classic Chinese literature; and more. Generations of educators have utilized its resources to attain best practices for teaching the Chinese language and Chinese history and culture in the classroom. It has provided in-classroom, standards-based cultural workshops to thousands of underserved youths attending the region’s public schools. The evocative and authentic representations of Chinese culture they present counter negative stereotypes regarding Asian peoples that perpetuate bigotry and hate.

Over the last half-century, China Institute Gallery has presented 116 thematic exhibitions. Each has spotlighted specific facets of China’s rich artistic traditions, utilizing masterpieces from private collections and major cultural institutions from across the globe. These are curated by renowned international scholars; their expertise also informs the Gallery’s publications and symposia. For nearly three decades, school groups have explored aspects of Chinese culture and created artworks in traditional Chinese media through its “Discover China through Art” field-trip program.

The roots of the Institute’s cultural public programming go back to 1930, when the Institute sponsored the first performances in the United States by the renowned Chinese opera singer Mei Lanfang. Today, the slate of programs produced by our Public Programs Division includes appearances by leading minds in the worlds of cultural scholarship, literature, and the visual and performing arts.

With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the Institute expanded its outreach by migrating its education, cultural, and business programming to online. In so doing, our organization gained new constituents from across the globe and attracted record-breaking audiences. Now, our organization follows a hybrid model—offering both in-person and online programs/services—thereby making a greater impact on U.S.-China understanding and interaction than ever.

Improvements to the Institute’s physical plant are continuing. Our 6,500-square foot ground-floor unit is undergoing a white-box renovation that will support an expanded roster of public offerings. By 2023, the Institute will have established a prominent street-level entrance, and a new staircase will link our two floors of public services. Build-out of new permanent programming infrastructure is also underway, including a demonstration and teaching kitchen that will support a wide range of culinary programs.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Our School of Chinese Studies offers tuition-based classes for students of all ages; free and low-cost cultural workshops to NYC classrooms; and professional development programs for educators. China Institute Gallery's exhibitions and associated public programming attract broad audiences, from art devotees to those just discovering the arts of China; its education programs serve K-12 students and their teachers. Our Public Programs division primarily serves general audiences who wish to learn more about China; its family programs enable children and their parents/caregivers to explore aspects of Chinese culture together. The China Institute Center for Business serves the international business community by providing timely insights on the business environment in both the U.S. and China.

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time


China Institute in America

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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China Institute in America

Board of directors
as of 01/20/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Chien Chung Pei

Partner, Pei Partnership Architects

Term: 2004 -

Board co-chair

Ms. Yue-Sai Kan

Emmy-winning Television Host and Producer, Entrepreneur, Bestselling Author and Humanitarian

Term: 2018 -

Anla Cheng

Partner, Sino-Century China Private Equity Partners, LLC; Founder & CEO, SupChina Inc.

James J. Chin

Senior Vice President & Chief Capital Markets Officer, MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Inc.

Kathy Bloomgarden

Chief Executive Officer, Ruder Finn, Inc.

Julie Nixon Eisenhower

Author, Editor, Volunteer

Edward S. Hyman

Chairman, ISI Group, Inc.

Yue-Sai Kan

Emmy-winning Television Host and Producer, Entrepreneur, Bestselling Author and Humanitarian

Vincent T. Mo

Chairman & CEO, Fang Holdings, LTD

Robert Nederlander, Jr.

President & CEO, Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment

David J. O'Brien

Partner, Chief of Staff to the Americas and US Chairman, Brand, Marketing and Communications, Ernst & Young

Sophia Sheng


Miranda Wong Tang


Julie Grimes Waldorf


Vivian Long

Program Director, Long Family Foundation

Peter B. Walker


Coco Han


Ruth Jin, Esq.

Founder and Partner, Jin & Koppell PLLC

Kai-Yan Lee

Managing Director, Vanke US

Julie Monaco

Global Head, Citi’s Public Sector Group, Corporate and Investment Banking

Pin Ni

President, Wanxiang America Corporation

Chien Chung Pei

Partner, Pei Partnership Architects

Hank Wuh, MD, MPH

Surgeon, Creator, Investor

Shau Zhang

Partner and the Americas Leader of China Overseas Investment

Catherine X. Pan-Giordano

Partner and Corporate Group Head, Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/12/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/12/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.