By Cynthia Choi
In September of this year, I had the privilege of attending the inaugural celebration event for the Rainbow Dragon Fund (RDF) the nation’s first giving circle by and for Queer Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and a member of AAPIP’s National Giving Circle network. For the DC metro area, I was told this was an uncommon gathering of community leaders representing various LGBTQ led organizations, organizations serving the AAPI community and of course RDF donors.
A total of $10,000 was awarded to a broad range of six organizations and I was struck by how each recipient voiced what it actually means to be recognized and supported by their own community — in some cases receiving their first grant. In particular, Asian Pacific Islander Queer Sisters (APIQS) and KhushDC articulated how their work fosters positive cultural and sexual identity and needs support. The other groups that received grants include: Asian American Student Union at University of Maryland; a network of organizations including Asian Pacific Islander Queers United for Action (AQUA), (APIQS), KhushDC, and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum- DC Chapter (NAPAWF-DC); Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League; and Youth Pride Alliance.
I left the event inspired and feeling that too often in the field of philanthropy it is the large gifts that grab the headlines and it is high time we look at the power of a small grant and the growing movement of philanthropic leaders who want to affect positive change. More people giving, giving together, and having an impact – now that’s building democratic philanthropy in action.