By Isabelle Roetsisoender, AsAmNews Intern
We know more than about a new foundation inspired by the current spike in anti-Asian hate dedicated to funding programs and non-profits serving the Asian American community.
The Asian American Foundation or TAAF held its formal virtual launch event today after announcing its launch yesterday.
“The goal of our foundation is one, to address hate and anti-hate incidents, but also just as importantly to address belonging, we belong in the United States. Our story is also the American story,” said Sonal Shah, president and board member of the Asian American Foundation during today’s launch attended virtually by AsAmNews.
TAAF describes itself as a convener, incubator and funder for the Asian American Pacific Islander Community. So far, TAAF has raised $125 million to support AAPI organizations and causes over the next five years. It is the largest philanthropic commitment in history by Asian Americans supporting the AAPI community.
The TAAF board is composed of business and social impact leaders that came together in March of 2020 in the middle of the COVID crisis. During this time, there were an alarming rise in anti-Asian racist attacks and incidents in the United States. To date, there have been nearly 4000 incidents in the last 12 months alone, according to Stop AAPI Hate.
“Quite frankly , it’s not just the last 12 months, it’s about 150 years for the Asian American community, the struggles they’ve had, the discrimination we’ve faced as a community and the complexity given 30 different countries, nearly 20 different Pacific Islander Nations. It’s a really complicated, diverse community,” said John Bae, a founding board member of TAAF and co president of KRR.
There are 23 million members of the AAPI community. However, the AAPI community has historically received little funding. According to research, less than 0.5% of foundation giving since the 1980s has gone to AAPI organizations. TAAF was founded to address the longstanding lack of investments in AAPI communities and will focus on three areas where need is most urgent. These areas include anti-hate, data and research and education, according to the TAAF website.
TAAF has partnered with a number of corporations, foundations and individuals. The foundation hopes that by presenting as a united front it is possible to claim power and fight against intolerance and hate.
A number of nonprofit founders emphasized the value of partnership and coalition building during this time. Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of Define American, stressed the importance of the diversity of immigrant communities. Define American works to reshape public opinion and immigrant narratives by acting as consultants for television and media.
“So, but for me, the fact that we don’t even talk about immigration and undocumented people. Like the fact we don’t realize most undocumented people live with people who are U.S. citizens or green card holders and that it’s complex.”
Rashad Robinson, president of the nonprofit organization Color of Change, said, “Power is the ability to change the rules. And we have to constantly recognize that we have to make sure that those rules are expansive enough for all of us to be able to experience new opportunities.”
In addition to the $125 million commitment, TAAF will invite leaders from business and philanthropy to take part in its AAPI Giving Challenge. The AAPI Giving Challenge is a five year commitment to bring resources to under funded AAPI communities and causes.
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