Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital and a global political center, is recognized for its prominent role on the world stage. Tzu Chi’s successful presence in such a high profile locale is of special significance. The years of dedicated services by our volunteers have culminated in the official inauguration of the Greater Washington, D.C. Regional Office in January 2004.
Tzu Chi’s origin in Washington D. C. can be traced back to 1990. Commissioner Cheng Lee-See-Hsien (affectionately referred to as “Mother Cheng” by Tzu Chi volunteers), who had followed Master Cheng Yen for over thirty years in Hualien before immigrating to the Washington D. C. area, noticed the loneliness experienced by and the limited resources of the local elderly Chinese. She introduced Tzu Chi to the underserved and vowed to “sow and grow the seed of Tzu Chi in D.C.” She began by soliciting donations at the Washington, D.C. Buddhist Association and hosting home-based parties. Within just a year, the number of D.C. Tzu Chi members exceeded 160. During that time Mrs. Cheng met Mrs. Huang (Mother Huang,) who greatly assisted her in expanding Tzu Chi.
In 1991, a severe flood ravaged eastern China and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Mrs. Cheng gathered the members and responded to the Master's call for disaster relief by organizing D.C. Tzu Chi’s first fundraiser. It was a huge success that brought in over $14,000 in much needed donations and marked a memorable page in Washington D.C. Tzu Chi’s charitable history.
In July of 1994, senior commissioner Song Duzhi and her husband offered their residence in Potomac, Maryland for Tzu Chi’s use and thus established the first Washington D.C. service center. In November 2002, after years of rapid growth, D. C. Tzu Chi was moved to a nearby office building in Rockville, Maryland for much needed space and soon opened its doors to the general public. Read more...