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

March 27, 2009

Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), formed in 1990, is a national membership and philanthropic advocacy organization dedicated to advancing philanthropy and AAPI communities. AAPIP, engages foundations to: address unmet needs, serve as a resource for and about AAPI communities, support and facilitate giving by and to AAPI communities, and incubates new ideas and approaches for social justice philanthropy. With the overarching ideology, that pursuing talent in all communities will contribute to a more competitive, successful, and just society. In this report, AAPIP is trying to track how foundation funding can reach and benefit Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

According to the report, Asian American and Pacific Islanders comprise over 4% of the national population. AAPI’s are currently one of the fastest growing populations and have increased more than 70% in the past decade. However, funding to AAPI foundations and organizations has not necessarily grown. The report examines whether 20 well established foundations have made long lasting investments in AAPI communities.

The five major question posed are: Why does there continue to be such a disparity in philanthropic investments to AAPI communities, is there a reason for foundations’ lack of strategic focus in funding AAPI communities, what are philanthropy’s priorities for AAPI-related funding, have issues of cultural competency been critically analyzed and incorporated in foundations’ relief and recovery funding strategies, and is growth in the number of AAPI foundation staff and board members sufficient to increase philanthropic investments to AAPI communities, or are additional strategies needed.

Analyzing the giving practices of 20 foundations didn’t necessarily yield answers to the above questions. However, they learned that foundations that worked with AAPI community leaders and organizations, resulted in approaches to funding that could lead to systemic change within the foundations, to be more inclusive of AAPI needs. In addition, AAPI-led organizations partnering with foundations can result in the foundation’s investments in the AAPI organization. Lastly, they found that foundations could successfully become more educated in AAPI needs by engaging in ongoing learning opportunities, such as diversity trainings.

The report concludes with recommendations such as: increased data collection that tracks the correlations between funding and race, tracks the impact of funding on various social issues and whether those services reach the AAPI community, hear concerns from communities of color, and to fund a study that investigates the correlation between AAPI staffing and proportional funding for AAPI communities.

For more information please check out Growing Opportunities: Will Funding Follow the Rise in Foundation Assets and Growth of AAPI Populations? under resources.

Question: The authors of this report kept returning to the question of whether employing AAPI’s had an effect on the amount of funds directed towards AAPI causes. Do you feel that the presence of AAPI’s in foundation settings can increase funding to community causes? As AAPI’s, do you feel you have enough information regarding the areas of need within your community to channel funding?

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