In 1954, a group of forward-thinking citizens who shared a strong interest in Asia, distinguished personal achievements, and dedicated public service established The Asia Foundation— a private, non-governmental organization devoted to promoting democracy, rule of law, and market-based development in post-war Asia.

Among the original founding officers of the board, there were several presidents/chairmen of large companies including T.S. Peterson, CEO of Standard Oil of California (now Chevron), Brayton Wilbur, president of Wilbur-Ellis Co., and J.D. Zellerbach, chairman of the Crown Zellerbach Corporation; four university presidents including Grayson Kirk from Columbia, J.E. Wallace Sterling of Stanford, and Raymond Allen from UCLA; prominent attorneys including Turner McBaine and A. Crawford Greene; Pulitzer Prize-winning writer James Michener; Paul Hoffman, the first administrator of the Marshall Plan in Europe; and several major figures in foreign affairs.

Reflecting on the remarkable vision the founders set out so many decades ago, our fundamental values and mission ring as true and are as critical as ever.

More about our history