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SAPP Blog Forum: Coming on Monday!

January 30, 2009

Next week, we’ll be welcoming Sudhir Venkatesh, professor of sociology at Columbia University, as the host of our first-ever SAPP Blog Forum. Sudhir has written about South Asian Americans and giving as a guest blogger at the Freakonomics blog at, and we’re honored to have him launch this event.

Sudhir posed a single question to three philanthropic and nonprofit leaders in the South Asian community – Sayu Bhojwani, Sunil Garg, and Aly Kassam-Remtulla – and so we’ll hear from all of them throughout next week (in alphabetical order by last name).

Just a note: You’ll see this same graphic and title on each post that’s a part of the Forum and we hope you’ll join us with your comments, thoughts, and reactions!

Here’s a word from Sudhir about what’s to come during this special Forum next week:

What should we do?

I posed the following question to three people who are involved in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. “South Asians are, for the most part, an economically successful group, so why organize their charity along ethnic lines? In particular, perhaps they should think about looking outside their own base to find recipients of philanthropic largesse. If South Asians should not necessarily give (solely or primarily) to South-Asian causes, then how should they approach their philanthropy? Give us some alternatives.”

I have been having conversations with South Asians about being more civic, about getting involved in the U.S. I thought I would bring three experts into the dialogue.

Whether through philanthropic donations or volunteerism, charity is one such way that immigrant groups settle into the social fabric. Typically, however, immigrant groups begin by looking inward into their own ethnic constituency. Because of their particular history of migration–i.e., consistently via the professional sector into the middle and upper class, South Asians experience far less poverty and economic need than among most groups. There are, of course, many South Asians living in the U.S. who are poor and needy, and there are innumerable non-economic exigencies–e.g., domestic violence, detainment, police brutality, hate crime victimization, language acquisition, etc. But, their history of settlement remains distinct from other ethnic migration streams.

All three responses provide thought-provoking assessments of the present condition of South Asians, and possibilities for future development via philanthropic intent.  They are written by three thoughtful observers of the South Asian experience, each from a distinct conceptual vantage point.  We now put the question to you: “What principles and ideals should guide South Asian philanthropy?”

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Gwen Harper permalink
    February 20, 2009 7:15 pm

    I would like to make mention of a website that cites poverty levels among Asians in the US: In this article, the Hmong and Cambodians are noted to be still struggling with poverty in America. So Asians helping other Asians should not be seen as silly, in my opinion.

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  1. SAPP Blog Forum: Sayu Bhojwani « The South Asian Philanthropy Project
  2. SAPP Blog Forum - Day 2: Sunil Garg « The South Asian Philanthropy Project
  3. SAPP Blog Forum - Day 3: Aly Kassam-Remtulla « The South Asian Philanthropy Project
  4. SAPP Blog Forum - Day 4: Archana Sridhar and Venu Gupta « The South Asian Philanthropy Project
  5. SAPP Blog Forum - Thank you, Sudhir! « The South Asian Philanthropy Project
  6. Top SAPP Posts of 2009 – Happy New Year! « The South Asian Philanthropy Project

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