Giving Tree - About Us

Each year, Giving Tree aims to create over 10,000 “Future Giving Trees”, children in need who have been inspired by the generosity shown to them in the form of a gift bag full of winter clothes and school supplies. In the years to come, we envision these gift bags spreading the message of giving to many more thousands of people, as recipients remember the message of Giving Tree by these small tokens of kindness. The hope is that these children will one day pay it forward and give to others. Giving Tree has distributed over 100,000 gift bags to children in need in Shanghai and neighboring provinces since 2003.

Each bag is assigned to a specific child with their preferences and details in mind. In late November/early December, bag sponsors give the bags directly to the children they support in a distribution ceremony. 


By keeping children’s preferences in mind with individualized bags, and giving donors an opportunity to hand deliver gifts to the children who will benefit from them, Giving Tree has established itself as a unique community engagement organization and reliable CSR option for Shanghai or Suzhou-based companies. 



Giving Tree is run by the Community Center Shanghai charity staff and volunteers throughout the year.


Giving Tree bags

Each year Giving Tree specifies contents designed for winter warmth and school success. All items must be new and age appropriate. If items are group purchased, they must be personalized so they do not look identical, taking into consideration gift and color preferences.


For reference, the 2017 Giving Tree bags required the following items:




Thermos (empty)


School supplies kit (4 pens, 4 pencils, ruler, eraser, sharpener, scissors, correction tape, and colored pencils in a pencil case)


Toy or small gift


Story or educational book in Chinese




Approximate Cost (RMB)




Finding students

We locate children in need using contacts at previous recipient schools, non-profit partners, and other organizations connected to the migrant community. Each year we support new students, allowing for an every-increasing wider impact. Every migrant school is visited and interviewed to ascertain individual needs. A ranking system is used to help us identify the neediest schools.


At the beginning of the school year, we collect data on students (name, age, height, gender, favorite color, and toy preference) so bags can be personalized to suit the recipients.


Supporting donors

In addition to one-on-one support, Giving Tree provides extensive resource materials including our annual report on migrant school needs, promotional materials, flyers outlining how to fill bags, the empty Giving Tree bags to fill, recipient details for bag personalization, detailed maps for finding the schools and individual classrooms, and more. We attend each distribution to ensure everything goes smoothly. Working together, Giving Tree and donors can inspire children to one day “pay it forward” themselves. 


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