Our Mission

The Tibet Fund’s mission is to preserve the distinct cultural and national identity of the Tibetan people. Since 1981, under the patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Tibet Fund has been the primary funding organization for health care, education, refugee rehabilitation, religious and cultural preservation,elder care and community and economic development programs serving more than 140,000 Tibetan refugees living in India, Nepal and Bhutan.

Our aim is to promote self-reliance and help sustain the cohesiveness of the exile community. In Tibet, our support is directed to orphanages, eye care and other health programs and educational projects that aid impoverished and marginalized Tibetans. Please visit the About Us page for more information on our history and financial information.

Celebrating 30 Years of Service

See More


The Tibet Fund was founded in 1981 at a time when the international community had seemingly forgotten the people of Tibet, though they remained under Chinese occupation. In the early years of exile, the refugees’ survival depended on the generosity of the governments of India, Nepal and Bhutan, the UN High Commission for Refugees, foreign donor agencies, and the hard work, faith and tenacity of the refugees themselves.

In the 1970s, humanitarian assistance began to decline.  It was within this context that a small group ofU.S. citizens and Tibetan immigrants living in the United States established The Tibet Fund. When His Holiness the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the plight of the Tibetan people gained worldwide attention. This generated increased support for The Tibet Fund, most significantly from the U.S. State Department’s congressionally mandated Humanitarian Assistance Grant for Tibetans.

This grant funds health care and education programs and supports reception centers in Kathmandu, Delhiand Dharamsala for the approximately 3,000 new refugees who come from Tibet each year.  In 1988, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs began supporting the Tibetan Scholarship Program, which brings Tibetan refugees to the United States for graduate-level studies. 

In 1994, The Tibet Fund initiated a program to address the unmet medical, educational and economic needs of Tibetans in Tibet. In 1998, the U.S. State Department’s Office of Citizen Exchanges began funding the Ngawang Choephel Fellowship program, which enables The Tibet Fund to bring scholars and professionals from Tibet for educational and cultural exchange, and to develop educational programs in Tibet. The Tibet Fund supports eye-care programs and several orphanages in Tibet and has established a Higher Education Scholarship Program for college-bound Tibetans. 

Over the past 28 years, The Tibet Fund has worked closely with the Central Tibetan Administration to address the health, educational, cultural, economic and community development needs of the refugee community. While the Fund has steadily increased its program support to more than $5.5 million annually, the arrival of thousands of refugees each year is placing a severe strain on the existing settlement system. The Tibet Fund will continue to focus its efforts on strengthening the exile community, for it is here that Tibetan culture and national identity are being sustained.


Dear Friends and Supporters,

The story of The Tibet Fund is the story of the Tibetan people’s perseverance and resourcefulness through decades of upheaval and exile. It is the story of survival and the preservation of culture and national identity. It is also a story that many of our generous donors have helped to create…

Read More!


The two-headed bird is a traditional motif in Tibetan thankas (religious paintings), symbolizing the Great Scholar Translators of Tibet’s early history. These scholar/translators, adept in two languages, laid the foundation for Tibetan Buddhism by translating religious texts from Sanskrit and other languages into Tibetan. We have chosen this motif as a symbol for The Tibet Fund’s mission of preserving Tibet’s unique culture and religion. The color green is the auspicious birth color of His Holiness the Dalai Lama who is our Honorary Patron and who has guided our efforts. The design was created by Mr. Losang Gyatso.


Your generous general operating gifts allow us to put 100% of donations to work for the Tibetan people as well as allowing The Tibet Fund to grow as the needs of the Tibetan people. General funds are used for program development and allow The Tibet Fund and our vital programs to remain sustainable in the long-term.