In 2012, two Asian-Pacific Islander (API) leaders in our region met to discuss the dearth of charitable giving in the API community. Founder May O. Lee and former Executive Director of Asian Resources Inc. and current Principal Consultant for Everyday Impact Consulting Elaine Abelaye-Mateo decided to address the issue. As trailblazers who have worked tirelessly to raise funds and advocate for health, social, and educational services for newcomers and immigrants to their community, they were used to mobilizing their resources and networks to take action.
Elaine and May were struck by two facts – that the API community was one of the fastest growing groups in the region with over 20% of the Sacramento population identified as API according to the recent Census, yet the average annual giving per local API household is at one third of the average for all households in our region* Further, API community organizations nationwide received only 0.4% of all national foundation funding between 1990 and 2002, although the API population had doubled during that time**.
Energized to make a change, the two women spent two years recruiting other leaders in the API community who were as passionate as they were about the idea of increasing philanthropy in the region. With the Foundation’s guidance and the support of a matching grant from the national organization, Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, they decided to create a giving circle and focus on API leadership as a key issue that its members would support through their gifts.
“APIs RISE is a unique model of philanthropy that empowers everyone to be part of our community giving. We are thrilled to have such a generous membership and strong partnership with the Foundation, and know that APIs RISE will offer a unique outlet for the collective power of the API community to express itself through local charitable giving,” said Elaine.
* 2010 GiveLocalNow Generosity Study
** 2007 study by Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy: “Growing Opportunities: Will Funding Follow the Rise in Foundation Assets and Growth of AAPI Populations?”
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