AAPIP Voices

Board Member Spotlight: Ryan Chao


Ryan Chao is Vice President for Civic Sites and Community Change, at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where he oversees the foundation’s place-based investments. Ryan leverages his experience in housing and community development to pursue strategies that reduce disparities for low-income people and neighborhoods. 

1.    Why did you join the AAPIP Board of Directors?

I joined the AAPIP Board to become more connected to peers serving AAPI communities and to do my part to help steward a great organization. I spent most of my career in non-profit community development organizations and was relatively new to philanthropy when I joined the board. AAPIP has given me the opportunity to serve alongside a great group of dedicated staff and board members and to give back to the community in a different way.   

2.     What was your most memorable experience?

My most memorable experience was being on the board during the transition of leadership from Peggy Saika to Cora Mirikitani and the development of a new strategic plan that followed.    

3.     What are you most proud of during your board service?

I’m most proud of being a part of the board’s thoughtful stewardship during this transition.  I think we’ve been able to honor and sustain the creative spirit and vision Peggy instilled in the organization while exploring dynamic new directions and opportunities under Cora’s leadership. I’m excited about the path ahead for AAPIP and what the organization and all of its members can accomplish together.

4.    What did you take away from board service (either expected or unexpected)?

I’ve had the honor of serving on a number of boards over the years and have come to believe that the most important roles for board members are to represent the communities and stakeholders of an organization and to provide staff with all the support to serve them best. AAPIP represents both a community and a field, and as such, having diverse perspectives involved in both the board and each chapter is critically important.  

5.    Why would you recommend serving on the AAPIP Board?

It’s a great way to both serve AAPIP communities and represent the importance of AAPI leadership in the philanthropic sector.  Plus, it’s good fun!