Signature Partners

100K Strong Signature Partners work with the Foundation to advance its core mission of promoting the US-China strategic relationship through study abroad and language learning.



AASCU is a Washington, DC-based higher education association of nearly 420 public colleges, universities and systems. AASCU administers Chinese Embassy scholarships to undergraduate students attending member schools.

AFS Intercultural Programs

AFS Intercultural Programs, a volunteer-led educational exchange organization based in New York City, offers programs in China for U.S. high school students and teachers. Programs include summer camps, educator exchanges, community service projects, semester and short-term exchanges in Shaanxi, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Sichuan, Henan, Anhui, Dalian, Tianjin and Beijing.

Alliance for Global Education

The Alliance for Global Education works to expand study abroad destinations in Asia to an ever-growing and more diverse U.S. undergraduate population. The Alliance provides interdisciplinary study abroad programs in Beijing and Shanghai. Since 2007, the Alliance has enrolled over 2,700 undergraduate students from 300 U.S. colleges and universities at their China and India program centers.

Americans Promoting Study Abroad (APSA)

APSA provides summer study opportunities in China for American public high school students. The program focuses on language acquisition, cultural and community engagement, and career and leadership development. APSA currently selects students from underserved communities in 13 U.S. cities. APSA students represent a demographic of young Americans who traditionally are not exposed to study abroad opportunities or careers abroad.


American Councils

American Councils is an international non-profit that leads academic exchanges and data-focused research projects to prepare individuals and institutions to engage globally. American Councils offers study abroad programs in China through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y), the Critical Language Scholarship and the China Overseas Flagship Program.

American University (AU)

AU is a private university in Washington, DC. Its Beijing and Chengdu study abroad programs provide an opportunity for U.S. students to earn college credit, learn a foreign language and participate in international internships.



CIEE is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that offers programs in 40 countries that include study abroad, teach abroad, high school study, and gap year programs. Every year, CIEE awards more than $3 million in scholarships and grants to students of diverse academic, ethnic and economic backgrounds.
Over the past 15 years, more than 5,000 American students have participated in CIEE programs in China, which include not only intensive Mandarin immersion tracks, but also Environmental and Chinese business tracks.

The Confucius Institute in Chicago (CIC)

CIC is a partnership between the City of Chicago (Chicago Public Schools or CPS), the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) and Shanghai East China Normal University (ECNU). It is the first Confucius Institute in the US that is housed in a K-12 environment and primarily focuses on K-12 Chinese language and cultural education.

China Institute

China Institute advances a deeper understanding of China through programs in education, culture, business and art. As one of the first high school summer immersion programs run by an American institution, China Institute’s Summer Study in China has for years helped students improve their Mandarin. China Institute hosts two different month-long programs during the summer: an intensive language program in Beijing and a traveling language immersion program.

Delaware Department of Education

The Delaware Department of Education seeks to incorporate world languages into the K-12 curriculum. In 2012, Governor Jack Markell launched the “World Language Expansion Initiative” that offers students the opportunity to attend a dual-language immersion elementary school with 50% of instruction in English and 50% in Mandarin.


The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)

HACU was established in 1986 with a founding membership of eighteen institutions. Today, HACU represents more than 400 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America and Spain. HACU seeks to work with its member institutions to increase the number of Hispanic students learning Mandarin and studying abroad in China.

Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

Founded in 1943, SAIS is a highly selective graduate institution that consistently ranks as one of the top schools of international relations in the world. It also provides opportunities for students to study in China at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC) and at Tsinghua University. HNC, founded in 1986, is a unique bicultural, bilingual collaboration between SAIS and Nanjing University.


One World Now! (OWN!)

For over 12 years, OWN! has been a pioneer in providing Chinese language training and study abroad opportunities to China and the Middle East for underserved high school youth in the Seattle Public Schools. OWN! provides a yearlong language, leadership and study abroad program, along with a three-week Mandarin summer-immersion in the U.S. To date, this innovative and integrated language and study abroad program has impacted the lives of over 3,000 youth, most of whom are low-income students of color.


School Year Abroad (SYA)

SYA is the only high school study abroad program that allows students to live with a Chinese host family for an entire academic year while earning U.S. high school graduation credits. SYA students study and live in Beijing for an academic year, taking nearly all classes in Mandarin. SYA’s curriculum, taught mostly by native Chinese faculty, prepares students to develop second language mastery, and deepen cultural awareness and global understanding.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF)

TMCF provides scholarships, programmatic and capacity-building support to the 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States. TMCF seeks to work with member schools to increase the number of HBCU students learning Mandarin and studying abroad in China.


UCLA Confucius Institute

The UCLA CI develops programs that provide opportunities for the study of Chinese language and culture across their region and in China. The mission of the UCLA CI is to promote the teaching and learning of Chinese language, history, and culture throughout Southern California. Since 2008, it has enabled over 300 university and high school students (primarily from underserved communities) to participate in short- and long-term study abroad programs in China.


University of Iowa

With over 30,000 students, the University of Iowa is one of the nation’s top public research universities, a member of the Big Ten conference since 1899, and an Association of American Universities member since 1909. University of Iowa offers 15 study abroad programs in China, to include Beijing, Nanjing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. They have long standing partnerships with Tianjin University of Technology, East China Normal University, Beijing Normal University and many more.

Utah State Office of Education

The Utah State Office of Education seeks to provide all students with the opportunity to become linguistically proficient and culturally competent by mainstreaming Dual Language Immersion (DLI) programs for students of diverse abilities across all socioeconomic, ethnic, rural, urban, large and small school communities throughout the Utah. There are now 38 DLI elementary schools across the state with over 8000 students studying Mandarin.


Xavier University of Louisiana

Xavier University of Louisiana is a Historically Black and Catholic University founded in 1925. Xavier established the first Confucius Institute in Louisiana and among the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The university partners with local K-12 schools to expand Mandarin language learning statewide, with a goal of having at least 10,000 students learning Mandarin in Louisiana by 2018.


Yale-China Association

Yale-China Association, one of the oldest non-profit organizations working to forge grassroots relationships between the U.S. and China, brings future Chinese leaders to New Haven, Cincinnati and Louisville to serve two-year appointments as Yale-China Teaching Fellows. These U.S.-based Yale-China Teaching Fellows provide unique learning opportunities for young people in local public schools to engage directly with native Chinese speakers. This opportunity is designed to allow students to hone language skills and serve as cultural ambassadors.

Signature Partnership Criteria

The 100,000 Strong Foundation annually designates a handful of organizations as Signature Partners. These organizations not only share the goal of increasing the number and diversifying the pool of Americans learning Mandarin and studying abroad in China; they also serve as models for other organizations and communities around the country.

In selecting partners, we place particular emphasis on the diversity of students studying abroad. The Foundation defines diversity as including groups underrepresented in study abroad, including but not limited to students of color, low-income students, first-generation-American students, community college students, disabled students, and students from K-12 public school systems, particularly those in underserved communities.

The Foundation’s Board of Directors selects partners based on the following criteria:

  1. Demonstrated commitment to increasing Mandarin language learning and/or study abroad to China.
  2. Multi-year experience working on a national basis, providing opportunities to diverse communities across the United States.
  3. Proven track record (at least 5 years) of providing high quality Mandarin language and/or study abroad opportunities to American students.
  4. Existing, multi-year partnerships with Chinese counterpart/host organizations.
  5. Demonstrated success in recruiting from schools that serve underrepresented communities.
  6. Commitment to continuing to diversify the student body from which they recruit, including a strategic plan outlining future diversification efforts.