18. The Chuan Lyu Foundation 川流基金會

川流基金會 The Chuan Lyu Foundation

The Chuan Lyu Foundation is a private philanthropy dedicated to preserving the culture and history of the Taiwanese people. Founded in 1986 and based in Palo Alto, California, the Foundation sponsors programs worldwide.

The Foundation presents the richness and diversity of the Taiwanese culture through seminars, lectureships, fellowships, scholarships, film projects, film festivals and a wide array of cultural events. Its goal is to nurture the Taiwanese culture after nearly 100 years of suppression.

Today, the Foundation continues to be a catalyst for Taiwanese expression by supporting existing programs and new projects which brings Taiwanese culture to people’s consciousness.


The mission of Chua Lyu Foundation is to educate, preserve and foster Taiwanese culture worldwide. Our goals are to:

  • Promote Taiwanese cultural activities,
  • Foster people’s interest and awareness in Taiwan,
  • Develop Taiwanese Study Programs in academic institutions,
  • Facilitate exchange of scholars between Taiwan and the rest of the world; and
  • Contribute to the conservation of natural resources and the environment in Taiwan.

For more than twenty years, the foundation has sponsored programs which have enhanced dialogue, promoted understanding, encouraged creative expression, and rejuvenated the Taiwanese identity.

If you would like to learn more about Chuan Lyu Foundation, please contact us at river-flow@msn.com.


The Chuan Lyu Foundation was found in 1986 by Dr. Hwalin Lee. The name of the foundation was chosen to honor the founder’s grandfather and father, Lee Chuan Lyu and Lee Yu Yueh, respectively. The word “Chuan Lyu” means “river” and “flow” in Taiwanese. When combined, the words “river flowing” are generally associated with the phrase “flowing rivers never cease.” Soon after Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895, and then transferred to the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomingtang) after World War II, the governing bodies slowly extinguished Taiwanese culture in favor of Japanese or Chinese culture. For nearly one hundred years, no subjects about Taiwan, whether history, geography, culture, or language, were taught in schools. As a result, three generations of Taiwanese assimilated a different culture and language. Chuan Lyu’s goal is to bring the Taiwanese culture back to people’s consciousness and to honor those who fought against oppression during that time. As such, one of the Foundation’s earliest sponsorship went to Ms. Hsiu-Lien Annette Lu during her writing of “Retrials of the Court Martial of The Formosa Case” and in making her documentary “The Unknown Taiwan.” Jailed six years for her political believes, today, she is the vice president of Taiwan. Since its founding, the Foundation has supported many programs, both locally and abroad. In the academic arena, its ongoing involvements have included the Chuan Lyu Lectureship, the Chuan Lyu Fellowship and the Senior Visiting Scholarship at the University of Cambridge.
When asked at Cambridge why he became a philanthropist, Dr. Lee answered, “I was not from a wealthy family, but I went to study science at National Taiwan University. After military service, I studied in the United States at the University of California-San Francisco for my PhD degree. I then went into biomedical research.

I feel it is very important to contribute to society. I decide to give back on an on-going basis and so be able to contribute earlier rather than wait until I retired. I started when I could, not when I was very wealthy. I believe if you want to contribute, go ahead. Don’t wait, or you may never do it.”

Many individuals, organizations and events have already benefited from Dr. Lee’s contributions. The following is a list of events and organizations which have received support:

  • Taiwanese American Citizens’ League
  • Tsu-Nah Foundation
  • Taiwan Communique
  • National Taiwan University
  • National Taiwan University College of Medicine
  • Columbia University in New York City, New York
  • Lawrence Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California
  • Spoonbill Action Voluntary Echo (SAVE) Project of the University of California, Berkeley, California
  • Northern California Taiwanese Cultural Festivals (1993, 1994, and 1995)
  • Professor Tyzen Hsiao, a lifetime achievement award in Music
  • Mr. Boonky Ho, painting exhibition
  • Ms. Chiung-Chih Liao and the Liao Chiung-Chih Taiwanese Opera Foundation for Culture and Education.
  • Taiwan Film Festival at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • Taiwan Film Festival at Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • Taiwan Film Festival at University of California, Berkeley, California
  • Taiwan Film Festival at University of Washington, Seattle, Washington