Purpose & Mission


Support for various foundations, including The Foremost Foundation, was started nearly three decades ago by Dr. James Si-Cheng Chao and Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao.  Their work continues today through the efforts of the Family.  The key focus of the Foundation is to help young people access higher education thus greater opportunities to build better lives for themselves and their families and become better leaders in a rapidly changing international global community.  A second focus area of the foundations is to promote U. S. -Asia cultural exchanges.  A third focus area is to support healthcare initiatives to ensure greater coordination, better communication to ensure the best quality of care to the vulnerable in our society.


An Introduction to Dr. James S. C. Chao & Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao and Family 

Angela Chao Graduation from HBS and Family

Entrepreneur Dr. James S.C. Chao (赵锡成 博士) and his wife, the late Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao (赵朱木兰 女士), are the driving forces behind the Chao family’s philanthropic projects supporting education, U.S.-China cultural exchanges, and quality healthcare.  Dr. and Mrs. Chao are Americans who immigrated to the United States from Asia decades ago.  Dr. Chao arrived first followed three years later by Mrs. Chao and their then three children.  Establishing himself in New York City, Dr. Chao built a highly successful international shipping company and together with his wife, Ruth, raised a family of six accomplished daughters. All six of Dr. and Mrs. Chao’s daughters received undergraduate and graduate degrees from prestigious American universities including four who attended the MBA Program at Harvard Business School (HBS): Elaine Chao: Mt. Holyoke College. HBS; Jeanette Chao: Smith College. MBA, College of William and Mary; May Chao: Wellesley College. HBS; Christine Chao: Colgate University. JD, Columbia Law School; Grace Chao: Wellesley College. HBS. Ph.D in Anthropology, Columbia University; Angela Chao: Harvard College. HBS.

James and Ruth Chao placed a high priority on education and encouraged their daughters to pursue academic excellence at America’s most distinguished institutions of higher learning. James and Ruth Chao’s commitment to education is reflected in their own lives as well.  Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao came from an enlightened Chinese family who believed in education for women.  She was among the very few women of her generation to gain an education which helped her later in life to face the challenges of leaving her homeland and starting a new life in America.  Dr. James S. C. Chao grew up in a farming village, where successive wars destroyed everything and made obtaining an education even more difficult.  Nevertheless, his determination, engaging personality and leadership qualities earned him scholarships that enabled him to obtain an education.