Chinese Associations in the United States

The Library of Congress has extensive holdings of materials from Overseas Chinese benevolent associations. These were created to help immigrants adjust to life in the United States and to support their families back home.

The China Association acted as an intermediary with the British government regarding commercial grievances in China. Its work included correspondence with the Foreign Office and the British Chamber of Commerce in Hankow, Tientsin, and Shanghai.


Many immigrants joined associations of family names, locations or professions to help themselves adjust to their new homes. These groups often served as a social outlet for people with similar interests.

The China Association was a leading organisation in London and, by 1892, had over one hundred members. Its membership included representatives of the large China Houses (John Swire & Sons; Jardine, Matheson & Co; Paton & Baldwins) as well as members of Parliament and retired colonial and military officers returned from service in the Far East.

CSA is about unity in diversity. It is about giving Chinese students and scholars a place to connect, exchange ideas and develop professionally. It’s also about fostering the appreciation of Chinese culture alongside awareness and understanding. The key to a successful CSA is its leadership. Whether small- to ensure close interactions between society members, or large- for bringing everyone together for national and cultural celebrations, they lead the way with the vision of a stronger, more cohesive community.


The main goals of Chinese associations are to spread the culture, provide a platform for students and scholars to communicate with each other, and help them excel academically. It also organizes various cultural, social and athletic events. Examples include the One Week CP, New Student Pick-up, Badminton Contest and Lectures on Job Hunting.

Many of these associations serve as a channel for Chinese to express concerns and opinions to the government. This is particularly true in the United States, where a number of prominent NGOs have been founded by former or current members of Chinese Associations.

Some of these groups are also active in philanthropy, which can be a source of tension between the party-state and these nongovernmental organizations. Problems have included fraudulent use of fundraising platforms, misuse of charitable funds (e.g., Guo Meimei case), confusion and mismanagement in charitably-funded emergency assistance, and other issues. These problems have led to significant debate over the balance between allowing advocacy and controlling associational activities.


A non-profit community-based social service agency serving the Asian communities in the Sunset Park, Borough Park and Bay Ridge sections of Brooklyn. It promotes the general welfare of the Chinese and Asian American people in conjunction with other community organizations.

Loretta Lam is a well-known expert in ethnic marketing, branding and fundraising in the Chinese and Asian community. She is a founder of the Chinese advisory board for ORBIS Canada and helped grow their Chinese donor base by 50%.

She has also served on the advisory board for various local political campaigns, including supporting Lindy Li and Sherry Chen in MA. She and her husband are generous donors to Chinese cultural organizations and other nonprofits. Their contributions have made a significant impact in the communities they serve. They are also committed to public welfare issues, such as promoting Asian history in US school textbooks and fighting against hate crimes. Their passion is to promote fairness, justice and peace in the multi-ethnic world.


The ACA awards were established to recognize local Chinese teachers who work hard to promote the teaching and learning of the Chinese language and culture, and encourage students who are passionate about learning Chinese language and serving the community. The award committees will review each submission thoroughly and select the winners.

The Jiede (all-attain) Empirical Research Grant, funded by an anonymous member of CLTA, supports empirical research in pedagogy and applied linguistics that contribute to the understanding of teaching and learning Chinese as a foreign language. The recipient is expected to present her/his findings at the CLTA annual meeting.

The President’s Service Award is awarded to individuals who have contributed significant services to the Chinese Association of Greater Toledo over an extended period of time. Both nominees and nominators must be current members of the association at the time of nomination, and self-nominations are welcome. The award winner is presented with a plaque and a check of $1,000.

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