Roots - Tzu Chi USA History

The first chapter of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, U.S.A., short as Tzu Chi USA, was established in Alhambra, California in 1989.  It all began when Stephen Huang, a wealthy American businessman seeking personal guidance, visited Dharma Master Cheng Yen in Taiwan, and the meeting changed his life. Here was a gentle nun who had created a powerful organization, and who was able to realize one seemingly impossible dream after another, solely for the benefit of others. He was so filled with awe and admiration, that he became a disciple and vowed to bring the spirit and mission of Tzu Chi to America. Tzu Chi USA is the first chapter of Tzu Chi Foundation overseas.

Tzu Chi USA began by mobilizing volunteers, then hosting ‘tea parties’ where they could share their thoughts, experiences, and joy of volunteering. The events drew supporters and quickly inspired the creation of additional chapters. Today, Tzu Chi USA has more than 60 offices and facilities, with volunteers and donors working tirelessly to make a difference in their communities.


This is just the beginning of our journey, serving others unconditionally and sowing seeds of love and kindness in the Americas.


In 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast, and Tzu Chi distributed 10 million dollars in immediate relief aid to the victims. Tzu Chi USA was recognized as National VOAD Member of the Year in 2013, and received the Champions of Change Award from the White House.

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