TPAF is a non-political, non-sectarian, U.S. non-governmental organization with its headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
TPAF was founded in 1998 by Arthur Holcombe to provide microcredit, health education, employable skills training and other assistance to enable Tibetans in China to improve their incomes and general well-being. In 2008 an independent evaluation concluded that TPAF assistance over 10 years improved the livelihoods and health of more than 100,000 people in 98 villages of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The evaluation noted that:
Microfinance loans for income generating purposes to over 2,200 women had significantly increased household incomes
On-the-job skills training resulted in a substantial increase in stable employment and incomes for over 1,900 families
Practical, message oriented villager training contributed to improved health, nutrition and hygiene practices for over 25,000 families
Personalized training and other support enabled over 500 traditional artisans to compete favorably in local tourist and overseas markets, and
TPAF assistance results were generally appreciated by local leaders and community beneficiaries.
In 2009 TPAF began working in Yunnan Province in Southwest China, where new programs were established to achieve UN Millennium Development Goals in Shangri’la County. In 2011 TPAF extended its programs to assist disadvantaged women in Gaza.
TPAF's mission is to improve the capabilities, livelihoods and well-being of disadvantaged poor communities, in particular ethnic minority communities in China.
Support is intended to increase poor household income and food security on an environmentally sustainable basis, and demonstrate innovative strategies to achieve UN Millennium Development Goals.
TPAF currently supports the following programs:
Sustainable Livelihoods Program
The Artisan Initiative
Community Ecotourism Program
Financing for TPAF programs comes from a variety of private foundation, government, and individual sources. Support for past and current programs has been provided by the following donors and many generous individuals:
Donald and Shelley Rubin Foundation
Feldman Family Foundation
Kadoorie Charitable Trust
New Zealand Agency for International Development
Royal Netherlands Government
The Bridge Fund of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
U.S. Agency for International Development
U.S. Department of State, Education & Cultural Affairs Bureau
William Hinman Foundation
TPAF employs thirteen staff and consultants in China and a staff of three at its home office in Cambridge.