In 1963, John D. Rockefeller 3rd established the Asian Cultural Program of the JDR 3rd Fund to support cultural exchange in Asia and the United States through grants to individuals and organizations working in the visual and performing arts. With Porter A. McCray as Founding Director, the Asian Cultural Program developed its signature grantmaking style, emphasizing individually tailored programs based on the needs of each grant recipient.

John D. Rockefeller 3rd articulated the continuing impact of the organization’s approach towards international exchange: “Traditionally, Americans have viewed international relations primarily in political and economic terms with comparatively little attention given to the cultural dimension…The result is that our world outlook has tended to be bound by our own culture instead of being broadened by a sensitivity to other cultures.”

From his own experience of traveling and working throughout Asia, John D. Rockefeller 3rd believed that “enhanced knowledge of other cultures was a worthwhile end in its own right…and as a means to a further end—through knowledge and respect for other cultures we come to respect and appreciate the peoples themselves.”

In 1980, the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) was established as a 501(c)3 nonprofit to continue the work of the Asian Cultural Program. ACC established offices in Tokyo (1983), Hong Kong (1986), Taipei (1995), and Manila (2000), as well as partner foundations, to carry out our founder’s belief that “the fostering of cultural relations can be a form of insurance for the future of this dangerous, but exciting world.”