Case | HBS Case Collection | March 2014 (Revised October 2015)

Teach For China and the Chinese Nonprofit Sector

by William C. Kirby and Erica M. Zendell


Teach For China was founded in 2008 with the mission of expanding educational opportunity across China. By 2013, Andrea Pasinetti's lofty dream had taken flight: over 300 graduates from top American and Chinese universities were participating in its 2-year teaching fellowships in more than 87 rural Chinese schools. The organization had grown from a founding team of three in a shoebox office to an 80-person operation headquartered in Beijing with teams in six other locations across China. Teach For China adapted the model pioneered by Teach For America to meet the needs of the educationally under-resourced of rural China. Led by an American, could Teach For China reshape its international identity and become an enduring Chinese institution? Could Teach For China manage regulatory risks and challenge public and government skepticism of the still-nascent and highly volatile nonprofit sector? Would Teach For China be able to sustainably scale its model to truly end educational inequality in China?

Keywords: nonprofit; China; education; Business and Government Relations; business and poverty; business and society; social enterprise; entrepreneurship; emerging market entrepreneurship; emerging market; NGO; Education; Entrepreneurship; Social Enterprise; Emerging Markets; Non-Governmental Organizations; Nonprofit Organizations; Education Industry; China;


Kirby, William C., and Erica M. Zendell. "Teach For China and the Chinese Nonprofit Sector." Harvard Business School Case 314-052, March 2014. (Revised October 2015.)