Nearly five hundred philanthropic leaders have signed a letter calling for solidarity and collective action to address the rise in racially motivated violence, harassment, and discrimination targeting Asian Americans.
Organized by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), the letter calls on funders to commit to a redoubling of their "support [for multiracial] coalitions [working] to combat systemic racism"; reject "the model minority stereotype and commit to lifting up narratives that foreground the diversity of experiences lived by Asian Americans and other people of color"; "support work that dismantles racist and sexist narratives and opposes efforts to pit communities of color against each other"; and "expand philanthropic support for Asian American communities and organizations and all historically underserved communities of color" by "working with multiracial coalitions." Noting that Asian Americans are severely underrepresented in philanthropic leadership roles, the letter invites allies across the philanthropic sector and beyond to join in a multiracial effort to end the legacy of white supremacy, systemic racism, and gender-based violence.
Signatories to the letter include Hispanics in Philanthropy president and CEO Ana Marie Argilagos, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation president Rini Banerjee, Solidaire Network and Solidaire Action Fund executive director Rajasvini Bhansali, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund president and CEO Cathy Cha, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative CEO Priscilla Chan, Surdna Foundation president Don Chen, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy president and CEO Aaron Dorfman, AAPI Civic Engagement Fund director EunSook Lee, Rockefeller Foundation president Rajiv Shah, Decolonizing Wealth Project & Liberated Capital principal Edgar Villanueva, Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity executive director Lori Villarosa, and Ford Foundation president Darren Walker.
According to Seeking to Soar: Foundation Funding for Asian American & Pacific Islander Communities (28 pages, PDF), a report issued by AAPIP in conjunction with the release of the letter, U.S. foundation funding designated for AAPI communities totaled $174 million in 2018, or just 0.2 percent of overall grant dollars awarded for domestic initiatives, down from 0.6 percent in 2009. The report also notes that philanthropic support for AAPI communities is concentrated among a handful of foundations, with the top five funders accounting for 38.1 percent of total grant dollars designated for AAPI communities and organizations.
The report's recommendations for funders include providing multiyear general operating support and promoting the leadership of AAPI individuals; improving their organization's cultural competency; using disaggregated data to highlight the needs of AAPI communities; and including AAPI individuals in discussions of racial equity and structural change.
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