AAPIP Voices

From the West Coast to the Midwest: Meet AAPIP’s Newest Co-Chairs


Change is in the air! With great enthusiasm, we announce two new Co-Chairs. After 3.5 years of service, AAPIP Chicago Chapter Co-Chair Shilpa Bavikatte has passed the baton to Kashif Shaikh, Program Officer at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. In our Silicon Valley Chapter, Marji Fujiki and Justine Choi welcome Darcie Kiyan, Director of Annual Giving and Operations at the El Camino Hospital Foundation. Darcie is also a co-chair of the LOTUS Giving Circle. We’ve asked Kashif and Darcie to share about their work and passions.

Darcie Kiyan, Silicon Valley Chapter

Darcie Kiyan is a fundraising professional with experience working with many nonprofit organizations in the arts, cultural, health, and human services sectors. A founding LOTUS Giving Circle member, she has a strong commitment to the Silicon Valley community. She serves on the board of the Japantown Community Congress of San Jose and is also actively involved with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, serving recently as Chair of the Diversity Council for the AFP Silicon Valley Chapter. Darcie currently holds the position of Director of Annual Giving and Operations at El Camino Hospital Foundation.

1. Describe your current position. What do you find motivating about your job?

I’m the Director of Annual Giving & Operations at El Camino Hospital Foundation. The difference the care at El Camino has made for the wellness of my family is a personal motivation to me. I want to ensure others are able to access the same outstanding care.

2. What drew you to AAPIP? How did you find out about it?

I first found out about AAPIP from a colleague I knew through the local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She invited me to one of the chapter mixers. I became further involved when I found out about the idea to form a giving circle in Silicon Valley focused on helping organizations serving the local API community. It is wonderful to discover this community of fellow professionals that are committed to empowering the API community through philanthropy.

3. What are you hoping to get from the Co-Chair role? 

I look forward to becoming more involved with AAPIP, expanding my own network, and learning more about the issues facing our community.

4. Why are you personally committed to supporting Asian American communities?

I’m the great-granddaughter of immigrants from Japan and The Philippines. They and others in their generation established families, built communities, faced hardships – all so they could establish better lives for themselves and their families. The Asian American community, as a whole, has come a long way, but the mythology of the “model minority” and the fortunes of some can obscure the very real and urgent needs of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. I feel it’s important to not to lose sight of that and to support the empowerment of all communities.

5. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want to have with you?

My cell phone, a solar charger, and a desalination kit.

Kashif Shaikh, Chicago Chapter

Kashif Shaikh is a Program Officer in the Communities Program with the McCormick Foundation and founder and Executive Director of the Pillars Fund in Chicago, IL. He has led major programs at the McCormick Foundation, including the $1.5M Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund in 2012 and the 2014 Midwest Illinois Tornado Relief Effort where he directed over $1M of funding to devastated homes in Central and Southern Illinois. In 2011, he helped co-found the Pillars Fund, which has granted more than $600,000 since its inception and has been nationally recognized as a unique and innovative model for American Muslim philanthropy. Originally from Cincinnati, Kashif holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University. He currently serves on the national Board of Directors of the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and as a committee member on the Council of Foundations Inclusiveness Committee.

1. Describe your current position. What do you find motivating about your job?

In my current role as a Program Officer in the Communities Program at the McCormick Foundation, I am in charge of managing a cohort of our local and national partnerships with organizations like the Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel and Newsday Charities in New York. My primary role is to work with these organizations and oversee the grantmaking process.

2. What drew you to AAPIP? How did you find out about it?

When I moved to Chicago in 2006, I didn’t know too much about the philanthropic circles here. As I began to explore, I was introduced to a group called AAPIP in Chicago. AAPIP appealed to me because of its diversity – not just in race, but also in the types of organizations that were represented. I immediately began attending their meetings and quickly got to know some of the incredible people in Chicago working hard to raise awareness of our community in Chicago and the philanthropic sector.

3. What are you hoping to get from the Co-Chair role?

Well first, I hope I can honor the great traditions left behind by the fantastic co-chairs of the past. I have been incredibly lucky to work with and have known Shilpa Bavikatte for almost 8 years now. She has been someone I really admire, and I hope I can continue the great work she and so many others have done over the last decade. I also hope to create new programming that is fresh and relevant to the community we serve. I am really looking forward to meeting new people and collaborating with all of the great AAPIP Chicago members. 

4. Why are you personally committed to supporting Asian-Americans communities?

The Asian American/Pacific Islander community is my community. I am very proud to be Asian American, and I think our community has accomplished and contributed so much to the philanthropic sector. I think our story needs to continue to be told. I think it is an important one and one that I really hope that as my new role as co-chair of AAPIP Chicago I can do. Our community is very complex and diverse, but often times we are reduced to stereotypes. It’s something that has always bothered me and it is also the reason why I will work my hardest to continue breaking those stereotypes down through our work in Chicago.

5. If you could visit any place in the world, where would you choose to go and why?

I would choose Jerusalem. While I am not a terribly religious person the impact that this small city has had on the world is astounding to me. Three of the largest religions in the world all have ties to this city, and despite what anyone may think of any of these religions, one would be hard pressed to deny the influence all three faiths have had on civilization (good and bad!). To be in the city where so much of this began I think would be an incredibly powerful experience.