AAPIP Statement on Racial Equity in Philanthropy

Since our founding in 1990, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) has been dedicated to building democratic philanthropy to advance racial equity. AAPIP has continually worked from an intersectional racial justice perspective that informs and motivates our initiatives, campaigns, programs and partnerships both at the National level and through our ten Chapters. In the fall of 2018, AAPIP’s national leadership network met to reaffirm our racial equity values and shared commitment to intersectional racial justice. AAPIP’s Statement on Racial Equity in Philanthropy articulates long-standing principles that have guided our work as an identity-based affinity group of, by, and for people who identify as AAPI and fellow allies in the broader fight for racial equity.

Statement on Racial Equity in Philanthropy

Purpose & Audience: A declaration of principles that binds together AAPIP’s national leadership network of members, chapters, staff and board around a common understanding of our role in advancing racial equity and justice in philanthropy.

1.  AAPIs are a significant and diverse part of America’s multicultural fabric.

AAPIs are the fastest growing demographic group in the country. By 2040, one in 10 Americans will be AAPI representing more than 48 different ethnic groups and languages. Whether undercounted in the general population, misunderstood because of model minority stereotypes or deprioritized by funders and policymakers as a community without pressing needs, AAPIs cannot be ignored or rendered invisible.

 2.  We fight for racial justice and equity.

Structural racism impacts communities of color in different ways. AAPIs are simultaneously perceived as a monolithic model minority and as the perpetual foreigner. This marginalizes AAPIs by ignoring the complex experiences, needs, and contexts of over 48 different ethnic groups that encompass AAPI identity. It is also used to justify public policies and cultural narratives that hurt Black, Latinx, and Native communities. Indeed, the model minority myth is rooted in anti-Black racism. Anti-Black racism and anti-Native settler-colonialism, alongside orientalism, are the foundations of white supremacy. As AAPIs, we have a responsibility to acknowledge how we are both harmed by white supremacy and also how we are complicit in it. The model minority myth continues to be used to advance racist policies related to, for example, welfare reform, criminal justice system, and most recently the dismantling of affirmative action. At the same time, we are often treated as the “perpetual foreigner” helping to justify, for example, the Chinese Exclusion Act, incarceration of Japanese Americans during WW2, the racially-motivated murder of Vincent Chin and most recently, the Muslim Ban and targeted deportations of Southeast Asian refugees and undocumented AAPIs. And when philanthropy doesn’t recognize the fight for racial equity and justice is also our fight, they share responsibility for impacts that obscure our realities and perpetuate structural racism against AAPIs and all communities of color.

 3.  We stand in solidarity with fellow communities of color.

Our communities have been and will continue to be critical allies with all in the fight for racial equity and justice. AAPI communities have a long history of resisting racism alongside fellow communities of color, for example Farm Workers Movement, alliances to create Ethnic Studies in colleges, and more recently #ModelMinorityMutiny and #APIS4BlackLives. It is within this context of shared struggle that AAPIP, as a founding member of CHANGE Philanthropy, will continue to work intersectionally with identity-based partners including the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP), Funders for LGBTQ Issues, Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP), Women’s Funding Network and committed allies to challenge philanthropy to advance equity, benefit all communities, and ignite positive social change. 

4.  We are strong partners in philanthropy’s pursuit of racial equity.

Our research on philanthropic giving shows less than 0.5 percent of foundation grantmaking goes to AAPI communities, the fastest growing demographic group in the U.S. with a corresponding growth in community issues and needs.  In a racial equity impact analysis, intent doesn’t matter. Impact does. Regardless of intent, the impact of philanthropic inaction is that AAPI needs are not met, and AAPI voices are not heard. Achieving racial equity requires the leadership and participation of all communities, including AAPIs. We will continue to persist as a committed, unequivocal voice for AAPIs and all communities of color until racial equity and inclusion in philanthropy becomes the norm rather than a token trend. 

Our Mission

            Asian Americans / Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) expands and mobilizes resources for AAPI communities to build a more just and equitable society.

Our Vision

             AAPIP envisions a just and equitable democracy with the full civic and economic participation of Asian American/Pacific Islanders.

Our Core Values 

  • Act as a champion for AAPI communities to inform philanthropic sector knowledge and practices. 
  • Work intersectionally with communities across race, ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation and identity, ability, economic status, immigration status, and national origin, to effect positive change.
  • Engage diverse leaders across philanthropy and community to activate advocacy, action and greater resources for communities in need.
  • Work strategically and collaboratively using shared knowledge, learning and capacities to create meaningful programs aimed at long-term outcomes.

Click below to download a PDF of AAPIP’s Statement on Racial Equity in Philanthropy.