AAPIP Voices

Impressions on the Convening: Oakland 2014


Michelle Gollapalli is the Vice President of Development of Kennedy Health System, Executive Director of the Kennedy Health Care Foundation, and member of Asian Mosaic Fund.

AAPIP’s National Convenings are always inspirational. Whether you are a first-timer or a ‘veteran’, it’s so energizing to be amongst a group of people so dedicated to supporting the growing Asian community in this country. Giving Circles are as diverse as the members that comprise them. And what’s more – these passionate people are all volunteers, to whom organizational empowerment is recognition enough!

Oakland 2014 raised the bar on our awareness regarding LGBTQ issues and the severe lack of funding for this segment of the Asian population.  It was astounding to see how the model minority myth affects funding to organizations serving the Asian LGBTQ community. Through a panel that showcased AAPIP’s work with the Queer Justice Fund, we gained a unique insight into the double standards that exist in evaluating issues that affect this group – the critical need to address immigration, violence and mental health – the need to create safe spaces, support through mentoring and role modeling behaviors that help channel the anger and confusion to more productive ways of expression. Shocking to learn too, that data used from Southeast Asian statistics to affirm a case for support often is relayed without any actual representation on panels or policy makers by Southeast Asians themselves. We learned how important giving circle funding can be to allow these organizations and the people they serve to step up and insert their narratives to combat the ignorance and stigma that currently challenge their growth. Especially, since some of these organizations teeter on the brink of financial collapse, often one grant away from closing their doors.

As Giving Circles then, we felt empowered to actually act to change that conversation, to resolve to seek out groups having a positive influence on the LGBTQ community in our own backyards and support them through the collective impact that micro philanthropy can achieve- infinitely multiplying the Power of One!