Friday, May 2, 2014

Jenny Bowen: 1st Life – Filmmaker, 2nd Life – Homemaker, Chinese Orphans

Why was Jenny the only American selected by popular vote to carry the Olympic Torch during the Beijing Summer Olympics?

Jenny Bowen’s actual title is Founder and CEO of Half The Sky, a foundation she created to ensure that every orphaned child in China “has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future”.  She has radically changed the way China cares for its orphans.  The idea started after Jenny and her husband adopted their first daughter in 1997 and saw how within a year Maya, who was initially withdrawn and developmentally delayed, began to blossom.   Jenny couldn’t get the images of thousands of babies languishing in underequipped and understaffed institutions across the country out of her mind, so she did something about it.  She worked with child development professionals back home to 
develop a “nurture care” philosophy. Armed with that and her tenacity, Jenny approached the China Ministry of Civil Affairs and presented her pilot program.  Fourteen years later, Half The Sky has affected 70,000 children across 53 orphanages.  She has earned the respect of the Chinese government that partnered with her in the forming of their new national child welfare program.  Jenny’s inspiration for naming her foundation came from a Chinese adage, "Women hold up half the sky”.  Jenny Bowen is doing more than her part.

Jenny now lives between California and China.  She was one of a handful of expats to carry the Torch for the 2000 Beijing Olympics.  Bearers were selected based on their "love of Chinese culture and history".  Jenny did it for her love of the children.  Jenny has received the American Chamber of Commerce’s Women of Influence Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2007 and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2008.  She was an Encore Purpose Prize winner in 2011.  But the work continues.  You can help the cause by donating.  And you can listen to Jenny tell her own story....


  1. How inspiring, Jenny's story is! My son is half Chinese,and I too love the Chinese culture.
    I'm so happy to discover this blog,Maryl.

  2. Jenny is one of my heroes! Thanks for sharing her story.

  3. Jenny is one of my heroes! Thanks for sharing her story.

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