Foundation raises $1 billion to fight anti-Asian hate

Business

The bill intended to curtail a striking rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is seen before the signing ceremony, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 19. 2021. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

A foundation launched by prominent Asian American business leaders earlier this month said Thursday it has raised more than $1 billion to support Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

The announcement from The Asian American Foundation, or TAAF, came minutes after President Joe Biden signed legislation aimed at curtailing the rise in hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the United States.

Sonal Shah, the foundation’s president, and TAAF board members were also at the White House, where they briefed administration officials, including domestic policy adviser Susan Rice. They discussed how the foundation plans to spend the $1.1 billion in donations to fight back against hate crimes directed at these communities, according to a statement from the foundation. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris dropped by the meeting to express their support, the foundation said.

Thursday’s news builds on the foundation’s prior announcement that it had raised $300 million from its board members and other donors. More donors have since pledged contributions to its “AAPI Giving Challenge,” an initiative to bring additional funding to Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations that have traditionally been neglected in philanthropy.

“TAFF was founded to close critical gaps of support for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and end the longstanding underinvestment in our communities,” said Shah, who previously served as a deputy assistant to former President Barack Obama. ”Today’s historic announcement should send a clear signal to the 23 million AAPIs living in this country that TAAF and our AAPI Giving Challenge partners are here to upend the status quo in favor of a better, brighter future for AAPI communities.”

The Asian American Foundation has said its giving will focus on supporting organizations and leaders measuring and challenging violence against Asian American and Pacific Islanders; developing a common data standard that tracks violence and hate incidents; and helping create K-12 and college curriculums that “reflect the history of Asian American and Pacific Islanders as part of the American story.”

Members of the foundation’s advisory council, including CNN host Lisa Ling and actor Daniel Dae Kim, virtually joined the White House meeting alongside representatives from donors, including Mastercard and the MacArthur Foundation.

Separately, TAFF is producing a TV special designed to expand support for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The program, called “See Us Unite for Change — The Asian American Foundation in service of the AAPI Community,” will air Friday on multiple channels, including MTV, BET, VH1 and Comedy Central.

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