The Asian Pacific Fund is a community foundation dedicated to strengthening the Asian and Pacific Islander community in the Bay Area by increasing philanthropy and supporting organizations that serve our most vulnerable community members.
A steering committee of Asian American community leaders established the Asian Pacific Fund in 1993 with encouragement and a major a grant from the United Way of the Bay Area. These community leaders recognized a need to increase the resources available to the Asian community, which had grown more diverse and nearly doubled in size in the prior decade.
The Fund quickly attracted strong leadership to its Board of Directors, while conducting research and sponsoring projects that laid the groundwork for its current activities. In addition to the United Way of the Bay Area, this early work was supported by the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, The Aspen Institute, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and, later, by major grants from The California Endowment. The Asian Pacific Fund focused on understanding the charitable interests of Asian Americans and deepening public awareness of Asian community needs.
Since its second year of operation, the Fund has distributed grants to community organizations. Beginning with 54 agencies eligible for grants, the Fund works today with 94 local organizations throughout the Bay Area that serve the diversity of Asian ethnic communities. These groups provide services for Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Pacific Islander, Thai, Vietnamese, and other Asian and South Asian people. The Fund has distributed more than $5.0 million in grants and awards since then and has expanded the scope of its work to include scholarships and other programs supported by private donors.
Promoting pride in our Asian heritage and especially helping young people understand and value their heritage is another important part of our mission. To this end, in 1995 the Fund launched Growing Up Asian in America an annual art and essay contest for Bay Area students. With the help of colleagues in education, media and community relations, the Fund shares the voices of Asian youth and promotes understanding throughout the region among people of all backgrounds. The program is the largest celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the nation and allows people to learn more life in the diverse Bay Area.
Over the years, the Fund has also undertaken selected public information projects on issues that are especially important to the Asian community.
The Fund is now intent on building an endowment so it can serve as a permanent resource for future generations. To achieve this goal, the Fund works closely with legal and financial advisors to respond to questions from potential donors. The Fund has also developed the capacity to manage more complex gifts, including planned gifts.
Important challenges still lie ahead, and the Asian Pacific Fund welcomes new friends and partners with whom to build a legacy of giving for a stronger, healthier community.