[AAPIP Connect] May 2020

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Dear Philanthrofolk, 

We are in the month of May and the middle of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. We hope that you have been taking the many opportunities out there to learn about and celebrate the richness of the Asian American experience that has helped shape this country’s democracy.

Here at AAPIP, we honor the network of AAPIs and allies who have worked hard to bring racial and gender equity to the forefront of philanthropic strategies. We honor Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent whose accomplishments have paved a path not just for Asian Americans, but for all people. We know that for our democracy to thrive, our communities must thrive - which is why AAPIP works to build bridges within philanthropy to underserved AAPI communities who receive less than 0.5% of foundation grantmaking, yet are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the country. 

In this moment, celebrating the contributions of AAPIs has perhaps never been more important as we bear witness to the en masse realization that Asian Americans’ belonging in this country is, in the words of John Cho, “conditional.” As the country and the world emerges from COVID-19, let’s put the “model minority fortune cookie cutter” to rest. Let’s instead delve into the complexities of the umbrella “AAPI” category that encompasses over 48 nationalities and hundreds of languages and dialects. If data is even cited on AAPIs, it is often aggregated and masks stark economic, educational, and health inequities within the “AAPI” monolith, making it difficult, for example, to see that Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders consistently fall to the bottom of many health, education, and other socioeconomic indicators. In this pandemic, it means that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders have the highest death rate for COVID-19 in California or that unemployment claims from Asian Americans in NY have spiked a 6,900% increase — by far the largest percentage increase experienced by any one racial or ethnic group.

AAPIP’s open letter last month signed by many of you in philanthropy is a clarion call that we are committed to. So, what’s new this month? Give In May is a new, month-long effort to raise awareness about issues that AAPI face and a way to become acquainted with some of the groups working within the community to potentially add to your own grantmaking portfolio. A partnership of Asian Pacific Fund and AAPI Data, along with AAPIP, Asian Pacific Community Fund, and Korean American Community Foundation of New York, it is the first nationally coordinated fundraising campaign to support those organizations at the heart of this work. Halfway through the campaign, Give In May is on track to surpass its fundraising goal!

In the months ahead, let’s forge a new path toward participatory democracy in solidarity as one people with a shared destiny. We are just getting started and we will meet you at the corner of “Justice and Humanity”.

We hope that you and your families continue to be safe and well.

Happy APA Heritage Month!

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