Dear Friends,

Did you know that approximately 43 percent of American undergraduates are enrolled in community colleges, but community college students represent less than 3 percent of those who study abroad?

In January 2011 at Howard University, First Lady Michelle Obama gave a speech about the 100,000 Strong Initiative in which she called for “a new community college mini-mester program, providing shorter-term, more affordable study abroad opportunities.” Last week in Beijing, we announced a plan to make the First Lady’s call a reality, starting with a pilot program in 2014 in San Mateo, California.

With the support of California Governor Jerry Brown and a $250,000 gift from the Florence Fang Family Foundation, this new program will allow dozens of San Mateo students to study in China. Programs like these give our young people the opportunity to learn and understand more about our most important bilateral relationship; it will prepare them for the workforce; it will help make them the leaders of tomorrow.

This new community college program is a such an exciting achievement for the 100,000 Strong Foundation, and I’d like to highlight some of the media buzz about it:

First, I want to share this great op-ed, Building California’s economy by deepening understanding of China, by 100,000 Strong Foundation Board Members Chris Cooper and Florence Fang, that was published this week in the San Francisco Examiner. The piece highlights the important economic relationship between China and California, and how the new community college initiative will help deepen those ties. I hope you take a moment to read it.

Additionally, here is some news coverage out of California about the new community college program we announced last week:

The San Mateo Daily Journal: San Mateo County Community College District tapped for international program

The San Francisco Examiner: San Mateo college district students to participate in China program

Office of the Governor of California: Governor Brown Joins Ambassador Locke At U.S. Embassy Reception, Announces $1.5 Billion China-California Investment Deal

As always, I thank you for your support!

Carola McGiffert
President & CEO