Los Angeles — In 1990, the federal government officially recognized May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), expanding the weeklong celebration begun in 1978 to celebrate the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
This year, on the 30th Anniversary of APAHM, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders from around the country are coming together to launch #GiveInMay, a coordinated giving campaign to support the work of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) nonprofits. The effort has enlisted the support of over 80 nonprofits in 25 cities, representing a diversity of issues and populations served.
The need to boost philanthropy to support the work of AAPI nonprofits is particularly important in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. AAPI communities are facing many challenges, from the spike in hate crimes, to the economic struggles of many in our community, to challenges that many AAPI nonprofits have faced with respect to securing federal assistance. While the impacts been devastating for many AAPI communities, we are also seeing many promising efforts to unify our communities and raise the visibility of often-marginalized voices.
It is in this spirit that philanthropic leaders are joining forces with nonprofit organizations around the country to launch a nationwide Give In May campaign, accessible via giveinmay.org. Give In May is a partnership of Asian Pacific Fund and AAPI Data, along with Asian Pacific Community Fund, Korean American Community Foundation of New York, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP).
The idea for Give In May originated in early 2020, when Karthick Ramakrishnan, director of AAPI Data approached Audrey Yamamoto, executive director of Asian Pacific Fund, with the idea of finding a way to encourage a new generation of grassroots philanthropy and to build greater awareness about nonprofits serving Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
“We jumped at the idea because it was in line with what we had been hoping to do, which was a Giving Day during APA Heritage Month for our Bay Area partners,” Yamamoto noted. “We hadn’t been thinking about doing it nationwide, or for an entire month, but we immediately saw the value of doing so.”
Soon thereafter, the partners approached the other philanthropic partners. Patricia Eng, CEO of AAPIP, was similarly enthusiastic. “This is such a wonderful initiative, and the right moment to spotlight and support nonprofit organizations that do amazing work in communities all across the country but are often unheralded,” Eng noted. “We at AAPIP work to support and strengthen philanthropy in ways that promote inclusion and racial equity, and this effort is strongly aligned with our values.”
Chun-Yen Chen, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Community Fund, not only encouraged many Southern California nonprofits to join the effort, but also inspired a donor to donate $10,000 across the nation for 20 nonprofits with annual budgets under $500,000. Said the donor, “As an immigrant and entrepreneur, I understand the financial struggle, especially for smaller nonprofits organizations during this time of pandemic. Many people are giving back to the community, and I am proud to join them in this nationwide effort for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.”
Kyung B. Yoon, President of Korean American Community Foundation of New York also noted the importance of supporting the rich diversity of AAPI communities. “Our goal is to strengthen the lives of individuals and families in the Korean American community and beyond,” Yoon said, adding that “it is so heartening to see our philanthropic and nonprofit communities coming together in such a meaningful way.”
Give In May runs for the entire month of May 2020. “We hope that Give In May will inaugurate a new era in AAPI philanthropy,” Ramakrishnan noted. “In addition to making this an annual event, we hope to grow a new generation of AAPI philanthropy, to carry our community forward for the next decade, and beyond.”