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For our Anti-Hate and Belonging panel, host and executive producer Jeannie Mai Jenkins joined Paul Luu (Chinese American Service League), Manjusha Kulkarni (AAPI Equity Alliance), Julia Liou (Asian Health Services), Jo-Ann Yoo (Asian American Federation), and John C. Yang (AAJC). (Credit: TAAF)


Dear Friends, 

This month marks the one year anniversary of TAAF’s founding. It’s a milestone that is marked with both appreciation for what we’ve accomplished so far with our partners, and also heartbreak over the devastating violence that we continue to witness across the nation. Yet, I remain hopeful. Although our communities are in distress, we are also seeing more voices than ever standing up and demanding change. 

As I reflect on the past year, I am inspired by the potential of what’s possible for our communities. In such a short time, TAAF has pursued solutions across our strategic priority areas, achieving meaningful progress that we’re excited to highlight in this edition of our newsletter. 

But none of our efforts would have been successful, or even possible without our dedicated partners — many of whom have been leading efforts in support of AAPI communities for decades. In our second year, and all the rest that follow, TAAF will continue to work with these leaders to build the infrastructure needed to better protect, support, and celebrate AAPIs now and in the future.

We’re just getting started at TAAF, and we hope more allies will join us in transforming our nation into a place where all Americans — no matter their race, identity, or faith — feel that they truly belong.

In hope and partnership,

Norman Chen 
CEO, The Asian American Foundation

Measuring Rising Anti-Asian American Sentiment

The STAATUS Index, initially launched in 2021, is one of the first studies of its kind in over 20 years that uses national survey data to measure attitudes towards Asian Americans. This year’s study also explored the correlation between COVID-19 and the experiences of Asian Americans.

The 2022 STAATUS Index provided several key findings, including:

  • Despite a documented increase in attacks against Asian Americans, nearly one third of Americans are still unaware of the violence. 
  • Americans are more likely to question the loyalty of Asian Americans and blame them for COVID-19 in 2022 than they were in 2021.
  • Asian Americans are among the least likely to feel like they belong and are accepted in the U.S., especially younger Asian Americans. 
  • 58% of respondents could not name a famous Asian American.
NBCNews, Newsweek, Axios, and others covered the STAATUS Index results —  and even Hillary Clinton tweeted about it. In addition, TAAF is conducting briefings with representatives from the White House and Congress, leaders in academia, philanthropy and our nonprofit partners to further raise awareness about the alarming perceptions and experiences of our communities.
 “Heritage Heroes” spotlights six unsung AAPI heroes from across the country. (Credit: TAAF)

Honoring Our Unsung Heroes 

In celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, TAAF created “Heritage Heroes,” a special that premiered on Hulu on May 26, that spotlights six unsung AAPI Heroes from across America who represent the very best of our communities: our diversity, our history, and our determination in the face of violence and discrimination.  

Meet Our Heroes
The program showcases six films produced and directed almost entirely by AAPIs. Each film showcases a different Hero’s story, including:

  • Thiện Nguyễn, a Vietnamese refugee and seafarer who in 1982 guided 84 refugees from Vietnam to Malaysia. He’s now a fisherman and owner of two large boats in New Orleans reckoning with environmental issues putting his livelihood at risk.

  • LAYA, a group of high school students of Korean, Filipino, Indian, and Chinese descent who battled bullying, shootings, and discrimination at school and became ardent champions in passing a bill to require AAPI history in the New Jersey school curriculum.

  • Justin Phongsavanah, who was attacked by a mentally ill veteran which left Justin paralyzed below the waist. Justin, who is of Laotian and American descent, has gone on to win the Bronze medal in the Javelin Throw at the 2020 Summer Paralympics, and is also an advocate for disability and diversity inclusion.
  • Suki Terada Ports is an unstoppable Japanese American NYC elder who has been a tireless activist for the AAPI Community for decades. Her tenacity and passion make her a true AAPI Matriarch who has inspired generations of activists and leaders. 

  • Justin Foronda, who is a Filipino American and Los Angeles native, honors his roots through his passion for food, culture and music. His restaurant HiFi Kitchen is a melting pot of tasty nostalgic flavors and imagination.

  • Mike Lambert is a Hawaiian and nineteen year long veteran of the Honolulu police force who goes above and beyond his law enforcement duties and consistently shows up for the tight-knit community. He created a program to provide temporary housing to the unhoused population utilizing a mobile navigation concept.
The stories of the Heroes are woven together with appearances from comedians, musicians, and celebrity personalities, including TAAF Advisory Council members Daniel Dae Kim and Lisa Ling, writer and musician Michelle Zauner (Japanese Breakfast), and more.
Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, actor Daniel Dae Kim, Panda Express's Chief Brand Officer Andrea Cherng and Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy spoke about the power of AAPI storytelling. (Credit: TAAF)
Our AAPIs in the White House panelists included Parag Mehta, JPMorgan Chase Policy Center; Erika Moritsugu, Deputy Assistant to the President & AANHPI Senior Liaison; Gautam Raghavan, Assistant to the President & Director, White House Office of Presidential Personnel and Rohini Kosoglu, Deputy Assistant to the President & Domestic Policy Advisor to the Vice President. (Credit: TAAF) 
Jeremy Lin talks philanthropy and basketball with TAAF CEO Norman Chen and LingoAce CEO Hugh Yao.  (Credit: TAAF)

A Celebratory Convening of our Partners

On May 19, TAAF hosted its inaugural Partner Summit and Heritage Month Reception in Washington D.C., in celebration of our one year anniversary, as well as AAPI Heritage Month.

The summit was a fantastic gathering of our grantees, corporate partners, policymakers, and influencers to discuss combating anti-AAPI hate, advancing AAPI policy and leadership, and the importance of AAPI storytelling in combating misperceptions and stereotypes.

  • Featured speakers and panelists also included Congressman Andy Kim, Michelle Li, Journalist, Co-Founder, The Very Asian Foundation, and Fama Francisco, CEO, Global Baby, Feminine & Family Care, P&G.
  • President Biden added to the festivities with a congratulatory letter to TAAF in honor of our one year anniversary and AAPI Heritage Month.
  • The reception featured spectacular award-winning chefs from Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate and a fireside chat with professional basketball player and philanthropist Jeremy Lin and TAAF CEO Norman Chen.
  • On stage, Jeremy shared his excitement about the nonprofits he supports and his new role as a global brand ambassador for LingoAce, an online language learning platform for K-12 students to learn Mandarin. Jeremy discussed leveraging his platform in the wake of anti-Asian hate and his pride in the work of his nonprofit grantees. 
P&G’s “The Name,” encourages us to celebrate AAPI names, together, and open the door to belonging. (Credit: P&G)

A Powerful Call to Action: Addressing Glaring Gaps in AAPI Investment

According to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), less than 0.2% of philanthropic giving from foundations goes to AAPI nonprofits.  

To help address this severe underinvestment, TAAF’s board launched the AAPI Giving Challenge, a multi-year campaign designed to unlock resources from foundations, corporations and individuals. When the Giving Challenge launched last May, we spoke to hundreds of organizations and asked about their approach to supporting their AAPI employees and the broader community. We made it clear that we were not raising funds for TAAF. Instead, we were looking for partners who were willing to step up and make a significant multi-year commitment of resources.

To date, more than 70 partners have committed $1.1B in donations and in-kind support over the next five years, of which 85% will be distributed directly by our Giving Challenge partners to AAPI communities and causes. Whether through direct grant-making to AAPI organizations, investing in diversity programs, supporting AAPI businesses, or providing in-kind services, our Giving Challenge partners are answering the call to reverse the long-standing underinvestment in our communities.

A few highlights of these direct investments include:

  • McKinsey’s award-winning Connected Leaders Academy is a key launching ground for many decision makers in corporate America. In 2021, McKinsey launched their Asian Leaders Academy, a program devoted to advancing racial equity and closing the AAPI representation gap in the highest levels of leadership in corporate America.
  • In honor of AAPI Heritage Month, P&G produced a short film, “The Name,” that elevates the importance of a name, and how meaningful gestures — like pronunciation and understanding its meaning — can create a greater sense of belonging for us all.
  • To fulfill its commitment to amplify AAPI content and causes across its global suite of platforms and commemorate AAPI Heritage Month, Amazon worked with AAPI writers, influencers, and non-profits to launch an unprecedented array of programming on Amazon Music, Prime Video, Amazon Book Review, Amazon marketplace and Alexa. 
Jeremy Lin, then of the New York Knicks, reacts after shooting a three-pointer against the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 19, 2012. (Credit: Chris Trotman / Getty Images)

Headlines from Across our Communities

Deadline ‘38 At The Garden’ Trailer: ‘Two Distant Strangers’ Filmmakers’ Documentary Short On Trailblazing NBA Player Jeremy Lin Set For Tribeca Debut Healing and Mental Health in Asian Pacific American Communities

The New Yorker Ocean Vuong is Still Learning 

Common Sense Media Honor the Traditions of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Cultures as a Family

Commanders 'It's just had a huge influence on my path in life': Keith Ismael reflects on ways AAPI identity influenced football career, athlete mentality

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To serve Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the pursuit of belonging and prosperity,
free from discrimination, slander and violence.

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