AAPIP Voices

Reflections on 2017 from AAPIP Seattle-Puget Sound Chapter


By: Shiho Fuyuki, Joneil Sampana, Anjana Sundaram, Jon Wu

Happy New Year, everyone! As we begin the new year, we wanted to recap some of the recent events that the AAPIP Seattle Puget Sound chapter held in 2017 and celebrate some new milestones achieved this year in collaborating with new corporate and nonprofit partners to build a stronger sense of community engagement.

Corporate Asian Giving Circle Leaders Reception: AAPIP Seattle Puget Sound recently partnered with the Microsoft Asian employee resource group to host a year-end Corporate Asian Giving Circle Leaders (CAGCL) reception on December 11th. Sixty-eight leaders from a cross section of companies, nonprofits, and community organizations came together to reflect on a new collaborative model – Network Leadership – to achieve greater mission impact.

Ron Chew, International Community Health Services Foundation Director, kicked off the program with a powerful historic overview of the Asian American Pacific Islander Seattle landscape and the current needs of the local community. He acknowledged the rising enthusiasm from Asian corporate leaders and philanthropists to make a larger impact in our local Asian community.

Joneil Sampana, Microsoft Global Program Manager and Asian Employee Resource Group Outreach Lead, provided an in-depth look into the Corporate Asian Giving Circle events of 2017 and its mission to empower Asian leaders to scale organizational capacity and solve social issues as a collective network.

The event featured a keynote discussion by Jane Wei Skillern, an Associate Adjunct Professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, who engaged us with case studies and interactive discussions around the principles of Network Leadership. Skillern noted the importance of the mission, trust and humility in collaborating for impact.

Panel Discussion with Employee Resource Groups: Earlier in the year, AAPIP Seattle partnered with Asian Pacific Islander Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at Microsoft, Amazon, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Bank of America to host a panel on how we could collectively engage more deeply in the AAPI community. Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim was our keynote speaker for the event and over 100 people attended.

B.E.E.R. Happy Hour: Beverage to Enhance Equity in Relationships: During the summer, we hosted a casual happy hour inspired by Vu Le’s Nonprofit with Balls “Get a B.E.E.R.* and Undo Nonprofit Power Dynamics Day.” B.E.E.R. stands for “Beverage to Enhance Equity in Relationships.” This informal meetup was intended for funders and nonprofits to spend more time with each other.

Welcome Reception for Philanthropy Northwest CEO Kiran Ahuja: Finally, we hosted an intimate welcome reception for Philanthropy Northwest’s CEO Kiran Ahuja this fall at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ahuja had spent the last six years as the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders leading efforts to increase access to federal services, resources and programs for underserved AAPIs. The event featured a fireside chat between Kiran Ahuja and Jill Nishi, Director and Chief of Staff in the US Programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Cora Mirikitani, President and CEO of AAPIP and David Bley, Director of the Pacific Northwest team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and board member of Philanthropy Northwest gave opening remarks.

It’s been a fulfilling year full of new partnerships which we hoped inspired and informed audiences. We are gearing up for a strong 2018, starting with a special workshop on February 7th with Richard Woo, CEO of the Russell Family Foundation, on exploring stories of resilience, resistance and transformation.

Wishing everyone a happy new year and a great 2018,

AAPIP Seattle Puget Sound Chapter