Growing Opportunities (2007)

Growing Opportunities:  Will Funding Follow the Rise in Foundation Assets and Growth of AAPI Populations?

The giving trends of the top U.S. foundations to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities have not kept pace with the growth of these communities or of foundation assets. The report’s seminal finding, that only 0.4% of all foundation dollars were invested in the AAPI community for the period studied, has provided a baseline figure by which to assess the relative performance of foundations in every region in which AAPIP has a chapter.  In not one single city across the country has investment in the AAPI community reached one percent as a proportion of all grantmaking in that region/area.  And in only one region, has the regional data eclipsed 0.4% – Los Angeles, at roughly 0.7%.

But the report does more than set forth a quantitative metric. It also explores the structural underpinnings of why those conditions have been so durable and remain one of philanthropy’s enduring challenges. From a clear lack of understanding within organized philanthropy about the way in which the AAPI community has grown and developed, to drawing out in sharp relief the limits of a representational strategy or theory of change claiming that more Asians in philanthropy might yield significantly greater capital to our communities – Growing Opportunities also took the opportunity to go deep into how these dynamics play out in real terms. Specifically, the report opened up and mined the question: What happens to our communities in times of crisis, and how does philanthropy and the Federal government respond? The report concludes with a call to action to the philanthropy field to reduce these gaps.