APCF Awards

L.A.’s brightest young Asian Pacific Leaders were recognized for their outstanding philanthropy this past Wednesday night in rainy Downtown L.A. APCF, the Asian Pacific Community Fund, hosted the Awards reception for the third year in a row where 200 community supporters, philanthropists and young civic leaders came out to support the young award recipients.

As Census 2010 information is released and demographic changes in the API community manifest, the continued difficulties and unmet needs of APIs will be revealed. “It’s so important to nurture young, inspirational leaders in a world filled with significant socio-economic challenges,” said Debra Fong, Executive Director of APCF. “These awardees represent some of the best emerging leaders that our community has to offer and we are excited about acknowledging their work and their impact on those in need.”

Hosted by Leonardo Nam (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, He’s Just Not That Into You), the reception reached out to the next generation of philanthropists and sought to cultivate leaders serving the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Nam lightened the mood, telling light jokes and warming the hearts of the audience by contending that non-profits benefited his own family. 

The Community Excellence Award was given to Tuesday Night Project and China Care Bruins. Tuesday Night Project promotes new work from Asian Pacific Islander artists, as well as artists from the larger Los Angeles arts community in different venues. China Care Bruins is a student organization at UCLA that pairs college students up with Chinese adoptees through a mentorship program.

Brothers Jonathan Lee & Robert Lee took home the Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy award for their efforts in promoting community service in their high school. Younger brother Robert was the standout speaker of the night; the high school freshman, in a strong and commanding voice, told the room, “whether you know it or not, but your actions impact as we speak. We salute you. You who dedicate your lives and careers to these men and women you serve.” Do we sense a future Obama?

Jonathan Chi-Lin Lee was given the Distinguished Leader in Philanthropy Award. The 24-year old has been taking the term, “feeding the homeless” to another level, establishing the program Swipes for Homeless at UCLA, giving students an opportunity to donate their unused meal points to buying healthy food for Los Angeles’ homeless population.

And finally, a philanthropy regular, Lisa Chong, was awarded the “Russell Sakaguchi” Distinguished Leader in Philanthropy Award for her continuous presence in coordinating non-profit events and causes. The pregnant Chong joked, “Once they’re born, I’m going to be bringing my babies out to philanthropic causes early!”

At the event, APCF’s Board of Directors & Friends Giving Circle also presented two $5,000 grant awards to the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center for Financial Literacy and to Koreatown Youth and Community Center for Media Arts Education for Youth. The APCF Board of Directors & Friends Giving Circle was launched in 2008 with over 30 members contributing $250 annually to make these grant awards possible.

In addition, the newly formed Circle of Change made five $2,500 grant awards to API Equality – LA, CA Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, Pilipino Workers Center, and South East Asian Community Alliance for a total of $12,500 distributed. The members of this giving circle are committed to creating positive social change in Southern California’s Asian American and Pacific Islander communities through grassroots philanthropy.

Established in 1990, APCF is a community-based, nonprofit fund that was created to educate and encourage individuals and companies to support Asian and Pacific Islander communities in need by donating through workplace giving programs. The organization is the only API community-based fund of its kind in Southern California. Since its founding, APCF has raised and distributed over $2 million in unrestricted grants to its 29 Affiliate Agencies and other community organizations providing health and human services to those in need. APCF Affiliate Agencies serve over 250,000 people annually with programs and services provided in a total of 27 Asian languages plus English and Spanish.

Founded in 1990, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) is a national membership and philanthropic advocacy organization dedicated to advancing philanthropy and Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. Members include foundations, staff and trustees of grantmaking institutions, and nonprofit organizations in nine regional chapters in the United States. AAPIP engages AAPI communities and philanthropy to address unmet needs; serves as a resource for and about AAPI communities; supports and facilitates giving by and to AAPI communities; and incubates new ideas and approaches for social justice philanthropy. For additional information, please visit www.aapip.org.

For more information, visit www.apcf.org

This post was cross-published by guest author Janice Jann of Audrey Magazine.