Washington DC, May 3, 2021 – The Asian American Foundation (“TAAF”) today announced its launch as a convener, incubator, and funder for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) community. TAAF has already raised $125 million among its board members to support AAPI organizations and causes over the next five years — the largest philanthropic commitment in history by Asian Americans fully focused on supporting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. At the same time, TAAF is launching the “AAPI Giving Challenge” to galvanize even more resources to meet the needs of AAPI communities.
TAAF was founded to solve for the longstanding lack of investment in AAPI communities — particularly as anti-AAPI hate and violence persist at alarming rates. Historically, AAPI communities have received less than 0.5% of charitable giving from foundations. TAAF will address this severe underinvestment by offering funding and resources to the ecosystem of advocates and organizations committed to AAPI causes. TAAF seeks to bring AAPI communities together to more effectively mobilize action against hate and violence and to build the infrastructure needed to improve AAPI advocacy, power, and representation across American society.
To start, TAAF will focus its efforts on three areas where the need is most urgent:
Anti-Hate: TAAF will support organizations and leaders building long-term solutions for measuring and defending against anti-AAPI violence.
Data & Research: TAAF will work to develop the common data standards to better track incidents of hate and violence targeting AAPI communities, while investing in data-driven research that identify the needs of AAPI communities to inform future policymaking, advocacy, and philanthropy.
Education: TAAF will help create K-12 and higher education curricula that reflect the history of Asian American and Pacific Islanders as part of the American story. TAAF will also fund storytelling across the arts, media and film to include the AAPI experience and AAPI contributions to the tapestry of American history.
“We created TAAF to stand up for the 23 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in this country and help bring us all together in the fight for our own prosperity. TAAF wants to strengthen and build power for AAPIs, particularly as we face an exponential increase in hate and violence,” said Sonal Shah, President of TAAF. “AAPI communities need systemic change to ensure we are better supported, represented, and celebrated across all aspects of American life. TAAF plans to spark that systemic change and help fundamentally transform AAPI empowerment and support well into the future.” Shah previously served as Deputy Assistant to President Obama and founded the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.
TAAF's Board of Directors https://www.taaf.org/our-team is led by Board Chair Li Lu, Founder & Chairman of Himalaya Capital. The board is composed of business and social impact leaders who have coalesced around the need to bring investments and resources to AAPI communities through a unified, well-funded platform. TAAF will also benefit from the support of an Advisory Council of over 30 leading AAPI leaders and allies of the community working in public policy, business, philanthropy, media, and the arts who will act as ambassadors of TAAF and support the advancement of its work. Founding Advisory Council members include CNN hosts Lisa Ling and Fareed Zakaria, CEO of the George W. Bush Center Ken Hersh, actor and producer Daniel Dae Kim, basketball player Jeremy Lin, former President of The World Bank Dr. Jim Kim, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
In addition to its initial commitment of $125 million, TAAF is inviting leaders from business and philanthropy to participate in its AAPI Giving Challenge, a 5 year commitment to bringing sorely needed resources to under-funded AAPI communities and causes. TAAF will work with the partners who join the AAPI Giving Challenge to develop programs and help bring TAAF's mission and vision to life.
TAAF has already made several critical investments in AAPI communities in order to ensure organizations can address anti-AAPI hate and violence. In the aftermath of the tragic Atlanta-area shooting that took place in March 2021, TAAF distributed $1 million to Asian Americans Advancing Justice (“AAJC”) coalition, $1 million to Stop AAPI Hate, and $1 million to the National Asian American Women's Forum (“NAPAWF”). These grants will offer ongoing support as these organizations monitor anti-AAPI hate incidents and build systems to measure and defend hate against the community for the long-term.
A full list of grants made to date is available on the TAAF website. https://www.taaf.org/projects.
“Advancing Justice – AAJC is proud to be working with TAAF to bring new resources and collaborative partners together on behalf of the Asian American community,” said John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC. “It is vital that we all are working toward furthering solutions to meet the needs of our community at this pivotal moment in our history and Advancing Justice – AAJC is committed to that movement.”
TAAF will kick off by hosting a virtual launch event tomorrow, “Claiming Power: The Future of Asian Americans,” on Tuesday, May 4 at 3:00 PM ET. President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, and President Barack Obama will offer opening remarks. The event will also feature panels on power-building, belonging, coalition-building, and the AAPI Giving Challenge. NowThis is the exclusive media partner for this event and will be streaming it live on its Facebook and YouTube channels.
For more information on the event, a full list of featured speakers, and registration details, please visit https://events.bizzabo.com/TAAFForum.