As our nation grapples with multiple crises, we are proud to award $62,000 to 15 giving circles anchored in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities all across the country. Not only do these giving circles provide basic financial support to local AAPI non-profits, they are outlets for education and civic engagement who are working even harder during this pandemic to address needs in AAPI communities unmet by mainstream service providers and traditional philanthropy. This second round of grants brings the total of AAPIP’s Giving Circle COVID-19 Response Fund to $110,000!
“It has been more than nine months since the nation first went into various configurations of lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19,” notes AAPIP President and CEO, Patricia Eng, “but the pandemic rages on. The compounded toll from centuries of anti-Black racism has greatly exacerbated the heartbreaking loss of life, the depressing economic toll, and the alarming rise in racist and xenophobic attacks directed at Chinese and Asian Americans brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, alongside the murders of George Floyd, Breona Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black people – many at the hands of police sworn to protect them. It has been overwhelming. Yet the work of these giving circles leaves me inspired and optimistic about the future.”
A huge thank you to The Wallace Foundation, Genentech, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the United Philanthropy Forum’s Momentum Fund for supporting our Giving Circle COVID-19 Response Fund efforts!
Please explore the grantees below:
API Giving Project (Bay Area, CA) Grant Amount: $5,000
The API Giving Project (AGP) is a brand new 2020 circle strengthening Asian American and Pacific Islander communities (AAPI) in the Bay Area through local investments in community-led programs. Launched in Q1 this year, they have 11 API professionals devoted to pooling resources and education on issues impacting API communities. In honor of AAPI Heritage Month (May 2020), they distributed their first grant of $3,400 to Banteay Srei, and is currently raising funds to continue towards future grants. With the rise of the pandemic, and rise in AAPI hate incidents and disproportionate economic impacts among people of color, members recognized a need to dialogue issue-specific conversations such as xenophobia and hate crimes. Specifically, the AGP has been building racial solidarity between AAPIs and other Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities, increasing civic engagement among new and emerging AAPI philanthropists, and convening AAPIs across multiple sectors including corporate, tech, and non-profit organizations. They hope to outreach for additional prospective members to join the AGP while simultaneously catalyzing COVID-19 relief and racial justice efforts.
APIs Rise was formed in 2012 to build and strengthen the next generation of API leadership for the Sacramento Region. A volunteer-run giving circle, members pool their donations and time to provide grants to projects serving the API communities in the Sacramento region. In addition to the grants they have already made during this pandemic, APIs Rise will expand their partnership with the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies to address anti-Asian hate related to COVID-19. The Center leads the collective Asian American community response network to COVID-19 in the Sacramento Valley through the Asian Pacific Islander Sacramento and Central Valley Resource Network. This network includes local organizations such as Hmong Innovating Politics (civic engagement), My Sister’s House (anti-domestic violence), Philippine National Day Association (youth programs), and Empowering Marginalized Asian Communities (social justice organization in Stockton, CA). They also lead the production of research and policy briefs aggregated from county, state and federal sources which includes tracking and reporting racist and xenophobic incidents.
Asian Giving Circle (AGC) was founded in 2002 as one of the first giving circles in the United States dedicated to supporting organizations led by and for Asians and Pacific Islanders. Since 2014, AGC has awarded $30,000 to $50,000 total per year to organizations. AGC and grantee organizations have remained committed to building justice and liberation with AAPI communities through organizing, civic engagement, and creating pathways to wellness and healing. They are committed to building deeper relationships with BIPOC and AAPI leaders who are engaged in cross-racial solidarity work, assessing and revising grantmaking tools, creating an overall grounding framework for API identities, and engaging in healing practices to dismantle anti-Blackness in API communities. Organizations they have historically supported operate on budgets less than $150,000, have a small staff, and utilize alternative models for operating. They hope to implement more healing-centered practices during the pandemic to heal from ways APIs have been harmed by white supremacy as an effort to address anti-Blackness specifically in API communities.
Asian Mosaic Fund (AMF) was established in 2010 made up of multi-generational supporters committed to advancing the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Greater Philadelphia. In 2020, with 15 core members in addition to 75 donors, AMF raised $47,000 to distribute to 14 organizations through their COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund to provide emergency needs such as culturally-sensitive food, care-packages, and social services. They support operational funding for nonprofits working with vulnerable communities like immigrants, women, and LGBTQ. While their pooled regional response fund entirely excluded AAPI organizations from its first round of funding, AMF aims to relieve on-the-ground nonprofits responding to the demands and effects of the pandemic who also work to reaffirm their commitment to cross-racial solidarity, particularly with Black communities.
Asian Women Giving Circle is the first and largest giving circle of Asian American women who are passionate about amplifying the transformative power of arts and culture to advance an equitable and just society. The mission of AWGC has supported the work of over 100 women artists and community groups to directly address social justice issues. They pool resources to fund projects led by Asian American women artists and community groups to respond to dimensions of systemic racism, empower art to engage AAPIs in anti-racism work, and highlight and promote women’s central role as leaders, creators, developers and managers of these projects. In 2020, they distributed $67,500 to 11 individual and community group projects who progress political and social change in this era of transformation. They hope to expand funding to support six new, existing, and in-progress artistic endeavors that specifically address anti-Black racism within the AAPI community and work that highlights Black, Asian, BIPOC and Muslim Americans standing with and for each other.
Beyond Two Cents LGBTQ AAPI Giving Circle (New York, NY) Grant amount $6,000
Beyond Two Cents began actively organizing in 2017 following the end of the Queer Justice Fund. With nine members, they are actively raising money to support LGBTQ AAPI organizations that emphasize sustainability, capacity building, and leadership development. In 2020, they distributed $20,000 among five organizations who address intersectional work: National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, API Equality LA, API Equality – Northern California, Freedom, Inc., and PrYSM. Currently, their focus in grantmaking to organizations recognizes intersectional LGTBQ AAPI and solidarity issues with Black-led organizations as those among the hardest hit. Their work addresses the continuous lack of funding for LGBTQ AAPI issues and aim to organize around outreach and visibility of the intersectional work in LGBTQ AAPI-specific organizations.
The BMPP Giving Circle was founded in 2013 and is made up of a group of Asian American immigrant and refugee families who’ve benefited from the generosity of those who’ve come before them, and understand that their role is to lead by example for future generations. With COVID-19 and the profound impact on the local community, particularly those most vulnerable like undocumented people, small business owners, etc., BMPP families decided to provide direct support to mutual aid funds in order to personally reach those most impacted, rather than provide grants to non-profits. After the murder of George Floyd, BMPP now looks to support local organizing work focused on solidarity with the Black community in the Twin Cities. This is aligned with the work that is already taking place over the course of the past several weeks. With Minneapolis as the epi-center of a global movement against anti-Blackness, BMPP will build upon this important effort.
The Cherry Blossom Giving Circle was founded in 2009 to raise funds and awareness to advance the work of DC area nonprofits that support underserved segments of the region’s AAPI communities through strategies including advocacy, healthcare services, to cross-racial exchanges. With a typical group of approximately 15 active members each year, they raised $5,400 in 2019 and selected three awardees. They plan to provide supplementary funds to the local AAPI organizations devoted to fighting anti-black racism. Their previous recipients include: AALEAD increasing one-on-one and group check-ins for AAPI youth to share their experiences of discrimination and bullying and connect them to the support they need; DVRP expanding their services at this time beyond survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, to anyone in the AAPI community experiencing stigma, violence and hate crimes as a result of xenophobia, racism and prolonged misinformation surrounding this pandemic; NAKASEC-VA focusing on COVID-19 related advocacy and developing new ways for community members to be connected and avoid isolation.
Circle of Change (Los Angeles Area) Grant amount $5,000
Circle of Change was founded in 2010 to support nonprofits that make transformative, positive social change within AAPI communities while directly engaging AAPI community members in the work. After a 2019 hiatus and within three days of their September 2020 relaunch, they received commitments from 20 members nearing $20,000. Currently, they aim to have 40 members to distribute $40,000 to nonprofits. The Circle of Change has supported and remains committed to the most vulnerable and underserved – immigrants, undocumented immigrants & DREAMers, LGBTQ, low income & high risk youth and senior citizens. They hope to leverage more of their resources, learning, and outreach to support those working on the forefronts during the pandemic to combat racial and economic injustice. Their priority is given to grassroots, smaller budget (under $500,000) organizations to continue to ensure equity in all areas of life from economic inclusion, youth enrichment, to community empowerment.
Devata Giving Circle was founded in 2010 as a vehicle to empower and engage Cambodian (Khmer) Americans in philanthropy. Comprised of Cambodian-American women to advance the leadership and human rights of Cambodian women and girls, they currently have an active executive council of five people, their April 2020 grants totaled $17,000 to seven organizations. It is currently working to call attention to the hate crimes that go unreported in Cambodian-American communities throughout the U.S. They support grantees on educating the elderly population on current events, COVID-19, and anti-hate issues. This includes Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI) that provides counseling, Khmer Girls in Action (KGA) and Mekong, that do advocacy and education work.
The Dinner Guys formed in 2013 with a focus on AAPI LGBT+ issues. A small group with eight current members, they provide grants through a nomination rather than an application process. They are in hiatus due to health issues of some members, but in 2019, they made a grant to GAPIMNY for $1,000. They have previously focused on AAPI LGBT+ service needs in elder care, youth programs, leadership training, immigration, and support groups for parents. The Dinner Guys have funded non-LGBT and non-AAPI specific organizations as a strategy to bring focus on specialized needs for intersectional AAPI issues to those organizations. They propose to support one grantee whose work during the pandemic has been greatly impacted: Womankind and their legal services and counseling for AAPI community and beyond, including LGBT+ folks.
The Hella Heart Oakland Giving Circle is a multigenerational circle created in 2012. With 10-12 core members, they work to strengthen and improve the health and wellness of Asian/Asian American women and girls, particularly refugees and new immigrants. Their 2020 gift-giving efforts totaled $44,000 to 18 organizations. Exacerbated increases in racial violence, continual attacks on immigration status, access to services, and high rates of unemployment during the pandemic prompted them to identify grassroots groups in direct contact with communities facing immediate financial crisis with no safety net. Following George Floyd’s death, they expanded their giving to Black led organizations in solidarity. Hella Heart will focus on AAPI low-wage immigrant women who are often invisible in mainstream philanthropy, such as homecare workers, nail-salon workers, and small-business owners They hope to continue prioritizing funding for groups working with AAPI immigrants who are not eligible for government subsidies and are also uniformed of what is available due to language barriers.
The Hmong Impact Giving Network (HIGN) founded in 2017 as a national network of Hmong giving circles in the US that strives to cultivate Hmong philanthropists, strengthening Hmong nonprofits and investing in collaborative solutions and relationships to tackle their community’s social challenges. As a new network, they have a small membership of 7-8 members to help shape their mission and vision. In early 2020, they issued their first grant of $2500 to the Hmong Institute in WI to support mental health activities for Hmong children. HIGN will work with multiple Hmong communities across the US working together because some smaller Hmong communities lack the resources to do this work on their own. They plan to support Hmong groups and nonprofits working on issues impacting Hmong GLBTQ and Hmong disability community. They will work together to address funding gaps and ensure organizations working on these issues have the success tools to build impactful projects to meet the intersectional needs of the US Hmong community, particularly during the pandemic.
Lacuna Giving Circle was founded in 2013 with a mission to fill in philanthropic funding gaps toward organizations and leaders serving the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) and LGBTQ+ communities. With an active steering committee membership of 10 queer AAPI professionals, and a diverse donor base of 100+, they provided $3,000 grants each (total $12,000) to API Equality LA, AYPAL, Bay Area Workers Support, and Florence Fang Community Farm. They remain committed to supporting the work of narrative change and solidarity building to promote and uplift grantmaking and community programming through organizations such as Eastside Arts Alliance, Queer Crescent Healing, and Asian Prisoner Support Committee. With members who are activists, artists, attorneys, communicators, and civil servants with deep ties to grassroots and community organizations, they will continue to leverage strong relationships to identify stand-out organizations in local communities that are building solidarity and tackling anti-Asian hate head on with “solidarity building” as their 2020 grant cycle theme.
Los Angeles Asian American Pacific Islander Giving Circle (Los Angeles Area) Grant amount: $5,000
The Giving Circle was founded in 2007. With their core group of 40 donors and 15 grant committee members, they have distributed over $100,000 to almost 40 organizations serving local AAPI communities. They place priority in organizing around the need for AAPI solidarity with Black communities, support for community organizations in virtual transitioning, support for economic safety net of immigrant businesses, and paying attention to mental health needs of AAPI communities. Populations at the forefront of their funding include Southeast Asians, South Asians, Pacific Islanders, disabled children, LGBTQ, elderly, migrants and immigrants. In this cycle, they will support greater visibility in organizations addressing anti-Black racism, COVID-19 relief, and mutual aid and organizing for Asian immigrant communities.