11 API Community-Based Organizations to Follow

This APAHM, read more about these community-based organizations. (Photos courtesy of AAP(I Belong), Asian Americans Advancing Justice and AAPI Women Lead.)

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’re celebrating those who have made a difference in our communities. Here are 11 organizations led and founded by API trailblazers that are focused on providing support to API groups in greater Los Angeles, as well as nationwide. 

  1. Asian Americans with Disabilities Initiative (AADI) 

A youth-led nonprofit organization, AADI is committed to bringing more visibility towards the intersection of disability and Asian American identity. They focus on fostering education and community with events that platform disabled Asian American leaders. Princeton undergraduate student Jennifer Lee is the Founder and Executive Director of AADI. After a June 2020 diagnosis with Crohn’s disease, coupled with the surge in anti-Asian racism happening in the United States, Lee founded AADI in July 2021 with a mission of championing intersectionality through a focus on both disability and Asian American issues. AADI is currently hiring for two positions, Graphic Designer and Social Media Researcher, and if you want to get involved, otherwise, you can sign up on their website here for email updates, opportunities and resources. 

  1. API EQUALITY-LA: Asians and Pacific Islanders for LGBTQ Equality

API EQUALITY-LA has a mission of empowering our communities to help foster an equitable society, with a focus on championing LGBTQ+ rights as well as furthering racial and social justice. The organization’s current campaign centers on implementing affirmative mental health and wellness care for API LGBTQ+ community. In the past, they co-organized the May Day Trans Queer Contingent, established the (Indi)Visible Campaign Photo Campaign and participated in Trans Allyship Teach-Ins. They have a number of other programs highlighted on their website, with volunteer positions available. 

  1. Polo’s Pantry

LA-based grassroots organization, Polo’s Pantry, is committed to providing food accessibility for marginalized and food insecure communities. Through their mobile pantry and other distribution programs, the organization hopes to contribute towards a food sovereign world. In 2022, Polo’s Pantry served over 228,000 people in Southern California, stretching from Santa Maria to Los Angeles to the Coachella Valley. Melissa Acedera is the Founder of Polo’s Pantry and works as a community organizer focusing on issues of food injustice and homelessness. Polo’s Pantry offers a Castanea Fellowship, a two-year commitment that gives Fellows the resources to implement solutions within the food insecurity system. They also accept donations on their website, here

  1. Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Resource Center

Focused on the Filipino and AAPI community in Riverside County, the FilAm/AAPI MH Resource Center offers education workshops, support, resources, and other community events in order to reduce the cultural stigma surrounding mental illness. They hold monthly workshops led by AAPI clinicians and leaders as well as Self-Care Sundays, which provides a safe space for the community to gather. To get involved, as either a volunteer or partner, you can fill out a form on their website here

  1. South Asian Network 

SAN is a community-based organization that works towards helping the South Asian community in Southern California, with services in elder care, domestic violence, mental and emotional health, CA and MediCAL enrollment, legal aid, and court accompaniment, among others. They have a number of programs which include AWAZ: Voices Against Violence, CHAI: Community Health Action Initiative, CCE: Citizenship & Civic Engagement, EMH: Emotional & Mental Health, and Organizing Against Anti-Asian Hate. Since its inception in 1990, SAN has served around 26,000 people. In August 2023, SAN established the Little Bangladesh Community Development Center in Los Angeles, in the hopes that the center can help the Bangladeshi community with in-person classes that will prepare students for career advancement and help them achieve financial security. Their efforts will culminate in a Job Fair come Spring 2024. If you’re interested in volunteering or want to participate in the newly formed community center, click here for more information. 


API RISE is an organization committed to empowering the voices of API formerly incarcerated populations. In addition to support groups, mentor networks, education advocacy, and economic encouragement, API RISE has a number of accessible programs including Prison In-reach, Member and Community Care, Policy Advocacy, and Social Enterprise. In terms of visibility within the greater LA community, they have partners in East West Players and Hate Is A Virus. API RISE was co-founded by Traci Ishigo, Duc Ta, Paul Jung, and David Kupihea. You can donate and connect with API RISE here

  1. Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)

As a national organization, EPIC focuses on advocacy, civic engagement, research, leadership development, and narrative change for the NH/PI community. EPIC played a part in the creation of NAPAWF’s Visibility, Voice, Vision: Asian American and Pacific Islander Reproductive Justice Agenda and the NCAPA 2020 Policy Platform. In terms of research, EPIC’s agenda focuses on a decolonizing framework where NH/PI voices and narratives are at the center. The organization partners with the Pacific Islander Ethnic Art Museum and the Pasifika Art Gallery to honor lived experiences and reshape the present narratives of NH/PI communities. To read more about the important work EPIC does, visit their website, where they also have a volunteer intake form. 

  1. AAP(I Belong)

Created by its current president Elizabeth Kari, AAP(I belong) is a nonprofit organization that provides a digital platform for people to anonymously share stories of anti-Asian hate. Kari founded the organization after her mother, Vilma Kari, was a victim of an anti-Asian hate crime. Through this space, AAP(I belong) seeks to encourage awareness of AANHPI discrimination and promote further self-reflection and empathy. If you would like to share your story or participate in the conversation, you can visit their website or follow their journey on Instagram @aapibelong

  1. AAPI Women Lead

AAPI Woman Lead has a mission of ending the intersections of violence present within the API women, girls and gender-expansive communities. A large part of the political and social movement is #ImReady, a series of conferences that highlight API women and their experiences with discrimination, immigration, #MeToo, and more. Their website has a number of resources, including a Digital Healing & Wellness Hub, a confidential space to Tell Your Story, virtual and in-person Community Care Events, as well as COVID-19 resources. They are active on Instagram, where they have about 113,000 followers. You can connect with them @aapiwomenlead or by visiting their website

  1. Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AJSOCAL)

Established for nearly 40 years, AJSOCAL has been serving Southern Californians through its staff of advocates and legal professionals, who focus their efforts on securing fair and beneficial public policies for the AANHPI community. They offer support surrounding issues of housing preservation, DACA renewal, citizenship, healthcare, language translation, and more. Also of note is their bystander intervention initiative, which was created in 2021 as a response to anti-Asian hate crimes, and seeks to promote awareness surrounding the use of bystander intervention techniques. If you’re interested in getting involved, the organization has pro bono, volunteer, and internship opportunities, all of which can be accessed through their website here.

  1. South East Asian Community Alliance (SEACA LA)

SEACA was formed in 2002, with a mission of supporting the Southeast Asian youth in Los Angeles communities through a social justice perspective that acknowledges the cultural background of SEA communities and experiences with PTSD, poverty, or education issues. Particularly, SEACA hopes to focus on the needs of Southeast Asians, while taking into account the intergenerational impacts events such as the Vietnam War and the Killing Fields of Cambodia had on the Southeast Asian refugee community. Some community work events include cooking, gardening, educational activities, developing campaigns, and organizing forums. Additionally, a major component of SEACA’s programming is the Youth Leadership Project (YLP), where students meet once a week during the school year to improve youth leadership skills and social consciousness. If you would like to donate to SEACA, visit their website here

With social media and the rise of digital advocacy, we’d also like to highlight some online accounts that provide information, resources and online community spaces for the API community. Maybe you can hype up one of our old articles on the same subject matter


  1. @asianamericangirlclub
  2. @18millionrising
  3. @hawaiiaction
  4. @adobersfilipinx
  5. @taaforg
  6. @yellowchaircollective
  7. @queerasiansocialclub

This article provides just a glimpse at the many organizations helping support the API community. If you’d like to learn about more LA-based social justice community groups, feel free to read our past APAHM article here