Launching Donor Initiatives
As a community foundation, the Asian Pacific Fund is both pro-active on issues and responds to donor interest in building a foundation for the future. We have a deep commitment to donors, sometimes helping them design a program and often running the programs as well. Examples of new donor initiatives include the Banatao Family Filipino American Education Fund, started by Maria and Dado Banatao, and the Tina Yeh Memorial Fund, which supports a Yale Asian alumni association fellowship program. These programs were featured in the 2004 annual campaign report.
Note: Reports to donors appear as they were presented and may not be current.
This program was presented at the Eighth Annual Gala on February 26, 2005.
The Asian Pacific Fund has worked in the past year in key areas that we think you will value. The Fund is pro-active on issues and responds to the interest of donors, building a foundation for the future. Here are examples:
Two years ago the Fund brought public attention to the high suicide rate among Asian elderly. The Fund then raised money to produce a unique educational video featuring an interview with Amy Tan. Using additional contributions, the Fund will translate the video into seven languages, and distribute the video nationally to public libraries, community agencies, and others who can help.
We know that the most vital form of assistance comes from local organizations, and the Fund makes grants to support their services. Last year the Fund distributed $85,000 in grants for mental health and youth counseling programs.
While these are very tangible needs, culture and the arts are important spiritual needs. Last year, the state cut funding for the arts by 97 percent, dropping from $33 million to $1 million. For many local groups, this was like the bottom falling out. The Fund has raised and distributed more than $2.5 million in grants and awards to date for a wide range of programs and services.
But grants cannot fill all the needs to sustain community organizations. So we have started with projects to expand the fund raising capacity of local organizations through coaching and mentoring. We’re offering scholarships for staff development and training. Last year we worked with four organizations, and in 2005 we will work with nine, offering advice about Board recruitment and strategies to learn about the interests of donors. It’s all about capacity building for the community.
For many of us, nothing could be more important than our youth, and the Fund’s Growing Up Asian in America is devoted to them. Nearly 15,000 students have sent their essays and art over our ten-year history, helping them think about their Asian and American heritages. This year, for the 10th anniversary, we’ll host three community forums with past winners reflecting on what it’s been like Growing Up Asian in America. They’ll be joined by local leaders to talk about whether young Asians are well-prepared for college and the workplace.
As a foundation for the future, we also have a deep commitment to donors by helping them reach their dreams. We help them with program design. Sometimes we actually run the programs.
The Banatao Filipino American Education Fund, started by Maria and Dado Banatao, already supports 15 college students with scholarships that are renewable for four years. By next fall they will support 20 Filipino American students. All are pursuing engineering and science careers. As the Banataos told us when we first launched the pilot program, “Setting up a scholarship program has given us a chance to use philanthropy to pass on our family values.” Theirs is a real investment in the future.
Another inspiring story involved the Fund working with a dedicated group of donors. Asian alumni from Yale University formed an all-volunteer group that approached the Asian Pacific Fund to provide a home for their internship program. Undergraduate interns do community service at an Asian community organization during the summer. Each year, alumni award one or two fellowships of $2,500 to undergraduate students who serve local Asian organizations. Yale interns have also served Bay Area groups.
By the year 2000, the organizers, including a young woman named Tina Yeh, knew they had a winner. Tina Eugenia Yeh, class of ’83, was an enthusiastic supporter of the Yale Asian alumni program. Tina was also active in her undergraduate years as a counselor for incoming freshmen. Yale gave Tina a sense of belonging, a place to balance being Asian and American. Her personal connection to the young students she counseled was so strong that they nicknamed her, “Auntie Tina.” So it was devastating when her Yale friends learned that on October 31, 2000, Tina died in a plane accident in Taipei aboard Singapore Airlines Flight 006, she was on board that plane with her father and her aunt. She was only 39.
At the time of the accident, Tina was building a successful career at IBM armed with a Bachelor's degree in economics and a Master's from the Yale School of Management. Not surprisingly, she was still devoted to young people. Just before she left on her trip to Taipei, she’d been trained to become a volunteer in the children’s wing of Stanford University Hospital.
Her many, many friends in the Yale Asian Alumni Association vowed to do something their good friend, something as big as Tina’s own heart. They renamed the fellowship program in her honor and launched an aggressive fund-raising campaign to endow it so it would become a living testimonial to Tina. So far, friends had family have contributed more than $140,000 toward the goal, with the Asian Pacific Fund helping with administration.
We applaud the family and friends of Tina Yeh and the members of the Yale group. They have had the vision to build a program that will have a lasting impact, and the Asian Pacific Fund has been proud to help these donors fulfill their dreams.
A second group of donors began the Filipino American Fund help the local Filipino community. To date, we have raised pledges of more than $100,000. The Asian Pacific Fund helped us learn about community needs, select a priority area and review proposals, and we awarded $20,000 in grants to local programs. This year we chose counseling for teens, especially those with mental health problems. Our goal is to establish an endowed fund that can make grants every year to the local Filipino American community.
Finally, we want you to tell about the Fund’s work to build the capacity of local agencies. The Asian Pacific Fund works with 84 local organizations providing them with financial assistance and ways to build their organizational capacity. With a generous grant from the Blue Shield of California Foundation, last year, we helped four agencies that serve victims of domestic violence to explore new ways to increase their support from private donors. Government, corporate and foundation support can not provide the stable base of funding that agencies need to sustain their programs. The Asian Pacific Fund awarded grants to each of these agencies to support their fund-raising activities. Now they’ve been invited to request matching grants from the Blue Shield of California Foundation to support new fund raising campaigns and build their overall capacity. We’re really very proud of these accomplishments yet know we must do more in many key areas. We hope you will let us help you pursue your dream of giving back.