Please Donate to the Karen R. Polenske Scholarship Fund!

Dear Friend:

We are writing to ask for your donation to the Karen R. Polenske Scholarship Fund. This fund honors Karen R. Polenske, Professor Emeritus at MIT, an eminent regional economist, a leading scholar of China’s sustainable development, and a remarkable advisor to MIT’s regional planning students.  For more than four decades, Karen has devoted her time and energy to teaching and research related to urban and regional development.  Since the early 1990s her work has emphasized regional and sustainable development issues in China.  She is a great teacher, mentor, and friend for a great number of students and scholars.  Her extraordinary dedication as an educator and scholar has enabled so many people to succeed academically and professionally.  We hope you will join us to honor this remarkable woman by contributing to a scholarship fund to assist students who wish to follow your successful career path.

The Karen R. Polenske Scholarship Fund was proposed by a group of Karen’s former colleagues and students in October 2005 at the annual conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP).  The group founded the International Association for China Planning (IACP) and developed the plan for the Karen R. Polenske Scholarship Fund.  Karen has been a member and strong supporter of IACP since its establishment and still serves on its Advisory Committee. The initial fundraising to establish the Polenske Fund started in September 2006. Karen graciously endorsed the establishment of this scholarship fund.  For her, as always, creating opportunities for students to advance in their studies is of ultimate importance.  Past donors to the Polenske Fund include Zhizhong Yang, Junyu Chen / Meizhi Yan, Xiangming Li / Qi Yang, and Jiawen Yang. Please visit the IACP website ( to learn more about this professional association as well as the Polenske awards.

Managed by the IACP under the leadership of two volunteers, Qing Shen and Meizhi Yan, the Polenske Fund provides the financial resource for the annual Karen R. Polenske Best Paper Awards that recognizes innovative research on China’s urban and regional development issues by students.  Each year, students in urban planning and related fields are encouraged to submit a conference paper to compete for the award.  A committee organized by the IACP reviews the submissions and chooses the award winner(s). Currently the IACP presents one Polenske Award at the IACP annual conference in China and one Polenske Award at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) annual conference.

Since the formal launch of the Karen R. Polenske Best Paper Award in 2009, there have been 15 recipients, from graduate programs of planning, architecture, geography, and sociology at universities in the U.S., Canada, and Hong Kong. Many of the Polenske Award recipients have since achieved career successes in academia, public service, and the private sector. Some of them have become faculty members of leading universities in the U.S., Singapore, China, and Korea, whereas others have excelled in other areas, including the founder and CEO of an environmental start-up, now part of a Forbes top 10 “Change The World” company; the co-founder of a social enterprise and Commissioner of the Vancouver City Planning Commission; the Chief Representative of the American Planning Association’s China Program; and a Data Scientist at Clarivate Analytics.

However, at the rate of spending $2,000 a year, the Polenske Fund will run out in just seven years. We believe that sustaining the Karen R. Polenske Best Paper Award is an effective way to encourage the next generation of innovative scholars on China’s urban and regional development problems, and the most appropriate way to honor Professor Polenske. Therefore, a fundraising committee consisting of Karen’s former students and colleagues and current IACP leaders has formed to launch another round of fundraising with the aim of making the Karen R. Polenske Best Paper Award a perpetual source of inspiration and recognition for outstanding scholarship.

We ask for your help to achieve this goal by making a gift toward the Polenske Fund.  Large or small, your contribution will make a difference. Please send your donation by mailing a check to Professor Junfeng Jiao, the Treasurer of IACP, along with an email to so we can confirm the receipt of your charitable donation (tax-deductible in the U.S.).  The check should be made payable to International Association for China Planning, with a note indicating that the gift is for the Karen R. Polenske Scholarship Fund. Junfeng Jiao’s address is: Dr. Junfeng Jiao, School of Architecture, Sutton Hall 3.120, The University of Texas at Austin, 310 Inner Campus Drive, Austin, TX 78712, USA.

Your donations will be gratefully acknowledged on the IACP website and in IACP newsletters.  If you have any questions regarding either the Karen R. Polenske Scholarship Fund or the fundraising process, please feel free to contact any committee member listed below.  Thank you very much for your support!

Sincerely yours,

The Karen R. Polenske Scholarship Fundraising Committee:

Dan Abramson (MArch/MCP@MIT, 1992, former IACP Board Member,;
Junfeng Jiao (Co-Chair, IACP Treasurer,;
Xiangming Li (PhD@MIT, 1999,;
Peilei Fan (PhD@MIT, 2003,;
Qing Shen (Co-Chair, faculty member@MIT, 1993-2000, former IACP Board Chair,;
Yan Song (former IACP Board Chair,;
Lingqian Hu (IACP Board Chair,;
Siqi Zheng (IACP Board Member, MIT DUSP Faculty,;
Meizhi Yan (Co-Chair, MBA@MIT, 1998,;
Jiawen Yang (PhD@MIT, 2005, former IACP Board Member,;
Zhizhong Yang (MCP/MSRED@MIT, 1994,;
Yan Zhang (PhD@MIT, 2004, former IACP Board Member,