About Trace Foundation

Our Mission

Trace Foundation supports the continuity, development, and vitality of Tibetan communities. We work with people to better their lives and reinforce the uniqueness of Tibetan culture, language, and places.

Our History

Trace Foundation was born in 1993 out of the experiences of Andrea E. Soros on the Tibetan Plateau as a tourist and English teacher. We began as a small organization, awarding grants to individuals, institutions and organizations undertaking projects which furthered the mission of the Foundation: to support the continuity of Tibetan culture and language, and develop the ability of Tibetan communities within China to meet their own needs. In our first decade of operation Trace awarded over three hundred grants in a variety of sectors and regional locations for a total investment of nearly $14 million (USD).

Trace Foundation’s first direct intervention in Tibetan areas occurred in the winter of 1995, in response to a call for international aid after a massive winter storm carrying heavy snowfall and extreme temperatures devastated parts of western Sichuan Province. In the following years, we established our presence across the region, working to deepen understanding of contemporary life on the plateau, promote Tibetan culture, and empower Tibetan communities from Tsang to Amdo.

Today, Trace Foundation continues to support projects across the Tibetan Plateau. Focusing on the unique needs of these diverse communities, we're expanding access to education, raising the standard of living, and ensuring the continuation of Tibetan culture.

Our Principles

We respect and support local culture.

Culture is the cornerstone of all our work. From our projects, to our external grants, to our events in New York City, Trace Foundation seeks to raise awareness of Tibetan culture and ensure its future viability.

We increase the capacity of individuals, institutions, and communities.

Education and vocational training are key to the long-term social and economic development of the Tibetan plateau. By helping even one individual gain the necessary skills to meet their own needs Trace Foundation improves the economic outlook for, and self-confidence of entire communities.

We ensure meaningful local participation and contribution.

Local communities are the heart of our work. Empowering those communities to set the agenda for their own development ensures that our interventions meet real needs and will continue to benefit the community for years to come.

We involve women and men equally.

Trace Foundation believes that participation of both men and women in the development process is vital to long-term social and economic development.

We conserve ecological balance.

Throughout the world the immense pressures on the environment are being felt, but perhaps nowhere as strongly as the Tibetan plateau where glacial melt, deforestation, and degradation of grassland are all evident. Trace Foundation undertakes projects and supports initiatives that rely on local resources, and use them sustainably.