By Patricia Eng, President and CEO, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP)

TFN encourages our members to visit our working resource library on the TFN blog, which we hope will be helpful to funders navigating the impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on the people and places we care about, while keeping the values of equity, inclusion and justice front and center.

This joint statement was included as part of an article Asian American Grant Makers Call on Philanthropy to End Violence and Bias on the Rise as Coronavirus Spreads”  published in The Chronicle of Philanthropy 4.8.2020.

Dear Colleagues,

While Covid-19 may be novel, the racism accompanying it is far from new. Racial bigotry and “xenophobia” is ravaging Asian American communities in the U.S. alongside the physical impacts of COVID-19.  It is reminiscent of attacks against South Asians, Arab and Muslim Americans after 9/11, brewed from anti-Blackness and the all-too familiar racial profiling of Black, Brown, and Native American people just going about their lives.  We thank those that stand in support of Chinese and Chinese Americans during this period as we stand in solidarity with others who have and continue to experience racism and bigotry.

Scapegoating of Asian Americans is fueled by fear and racism simmering just below the surface.  When it comes from our country’s top leaders, whether direct or implied, it signals an official stamp of acceptance and puts Asian Americans in harm’s way, including children.   There are more than 21 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in the U.S., comprising the fastest growing racial group, and they too are impacted, especially health care workers and others providing essential services who are risking their lives to save others.  And philanthropy is not immune. Our staff and colleagues are also impacted by a variety of aggressions, externally or even within our own work environment when minimized or ignored.

Through every crisis, philanthropy responds.  Some foundations have acknowledged the need to address racism in their COVID-19 response.   Asian American community foundations, giving circles, and other mutual aid solutions are stepping up to support the community, both to address COVID-19 as well as the unique harms to Asian Americans.  Asian and Asian American philanthropists are also stepping up to be part of the larger COVID-19 solution, including but not limited to, donating personal protection equipment for American health care workers.

All of this is a great start, but much more can be done. The cure to viral racism is within our hands. We call on our colleagues to:

·        Include language in statements that denounce hate related to COVID-19 (and beyond).

·        Include efforts that address viral racism as part of rapid response fund guidelines.

·        Insert equity into outreach efforts and funding decisions to ensure that smaller organizations, especially those in harder hit communities and inclusive of AAPIs are part of that mix.

·        Reach out to AAPI staff members and colleagues to see how they are doing and offer support.

·        Speak out when you see racism and prejudice against any individual or community.

·        Think of this moment as a “reset” button to imagine a more holistic approach to philanthropy that gains new traction toward racial and gender equity.

Let’s think expansively about this country’s future and support a path to finding our full humanity based on trusted relationships.  In this pandemic, it is abundantly clear that we are one people with a shared destiny.  Let’s close this country’s chapter on the tired and harmful stereotypes along with this novel virus.  Our collective health is strengthened by our shared humanity and our best allies are common sense and good will.  Through every such crisis and every day in between, solidarity matters.


This letter is signed by the following foundations and philanthropic organizations alongside individuals listed below.  Please note that individuals have added their names, with titles and affiliations for identification purposes only and this does NOT constitute institutional endorsement (that is recorded in the institutional section).

While these types of letters are typically signed by the heads of foundations and philanthropic entitities, we felt it was important for AAPI voices at all leadership levels in philanthropy to be included, alongside our powerful allies.  Some foundation executives and trustees selected to also include their names as individuals alongside their institutional endorsements for additional emphasis and expression of personal solidarity.  This includes more than 50 AAPI top level executives and trustees of foundations and philanthropic serving organizations. Many individuals listed have multiple connections and touchpoints in philanthropy, but chose a specific identification for the purpose of this letter. 

The people behind these signatures hail from points all across the country, from coast to coast and points in between.  They are not simply perfunctory sign-ons. They represent a heartfelt urgency to continue the hard work of moving beyond racial bias during crises like this, to come out more fully whole as a country.

The people behind these signatures hail from points all across the country, from coast to coast and points in between.  They are not simply perfunctory sign-ons. They represent a heartfelt urgency to continue the hard work of moving beyond racial bias during crises like this, to come out more fully whole as a country.

FOUNDATIONS & PHILANTHROPY SERVING ORGANIZATIONS (list in formation – request to sign on here.)

 AAPI Civic Engagement Fund (national)

ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities (national)

Akonadi Foundation (national)

Alexandria Area Community Foundation (MN)

Amalgamated Charitable Foundation (national)

APIs Rise Giving Circle (CA)

Arizona Grantmakers Forum (AZ)

Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (national)

Asian Giving Circle (IL)

Asian Mosaic Fund Giving Circle of Greater Philadelphia (PA)

Asian Pacific Community Fund (CA)

Asian Women Giving Circle (NY)

Barr Foundation (MA)

Bayanihan Foundation Community Power Giving Circle (CA)

Beyond Two Cents: LGBTQ AAPI Giving Circle (national)

Biodiversity Funders Group (national)

Blue Sky Funders Forum (national)

Blue Shield of California Foundation (CA)

BMPP Giving Circle (MN)

Borealis Philanthropy (national)

Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation (MN)

Brooklyn Community Foundation (NY)

California Wellness Foundation (CA)

Center for Effective Philanthropy (national)

Central Minnesota Community Foundation (MN)

CHANGE Philanthropy (national)

Cherry Blossom Giving Circle (DC)

Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy (IL)

Chinook Fund (CO)

Colorado Health Foundation (CO)

Common Counsel Foundation (national)

Community Foundation for Northern Virginia (VA)

Community Giving (MN)

Connecticut Council for Philanthropy (CT)

Council of NJ Grantmakers (NJ)

David Bohnett Foundation (national)

Devata Giving Circle (CA)

Dinner Guys Giving Circle (NY)

Donors of Color Network (national)

East Bay Community Foundation (CA)

Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (national)

Environmental Grantmakers Association (national)

Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr Fund (CA/national)

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation (CT)

Florida Philanthropic Network (FL)

Ford Foundation (national/global)

Forefront (IL)

Foundation for Child Development (national)

Four Freedoms Fund (national)

Friends Doing Good Giving Circle (CA)

Funders Concerned About AIDS (national)

Funders for LGBTQ Issues (national)

Funders for Reproductive Equity (national)

Funders Network for Smart Growth & Livable Communities (national)

Funders Together to End Homelessness (national)

Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrant & Refugees (national)

Grantmakers for Education (national)

 Grantmakers in Aging (national)

Grantmakers in the Arts (national)

GRANTMAKERS of Oregon and Southwest Washington (WA)

Greater Tacoma Community Foundation (WA)

Group Health Foundation (WA)

Health & Environmental Funders Network (national)

Hella Heart Giving Circle (CA)

Hispanics in Philanthropy (national)

Hyams Foundation (MA)

Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation (national)

JustFund (national)

Kenneth Rainin Foundation (CA)

Kibei Giving Circle (WA)

Korean American Community Foundation (NY)

Korean American Community Foundation of San Francisco (CA)

Lacuna Giving Circle (CA)

Liberty Hill Foundation (national)

Lincoln Community Foundation (NE)

Los Angeles Asian American & Pacific Islander Giving Circle  (CA)

Lumina Foundation (IN/national)

Maine Philanthropy Center (ME)

Marguerite Casey Foundation (national)

McKnight Foundation (national)

Meyer Memorial Trust (OR)

Minnesota Council on Foundations (MN)

Ms. Foundation for Women (national)

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (national)

Native Americans in Philanthropy (national)

Neighborhood Funders Group (national)

Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NE Region)

NEO Philanthropy (national)

New Breath Foundation (national)

New Hampshire Charitable Foundation  (NH)

New Mexico Association of Grantmakers (NM)

North Star Fund (NY)

Northern California Grantmakers (CA)

Northside Funders Group (MN)

Northwest Area Foundation (NW region)

Open Society Foundations (national/global)

Orange County Grantmakers (CA)

Orchid Giving Circle at Texas Women’s Foundation (TX)

Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (national)

Philanthropy California (CA)

Philanthropy Colorado (CO)

Philanthropy Massachusetts (MA)

Philanthropy New York(NY)

Philanthropy Ohio (OH)

Philanthropy West Virginia (WV)

Proteus Fund (national)

Race Forward (national)

Resource Generation (national)

San Diego Grantmakers (CA)

San Francisco Foundation (CA)

Satterberg Foundation (WA & CA)

Seattle Foundation (WA)

Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation (WA)

Silicon Valley Community Foundation (CA)

Silicon Valley Giving Circle (CA)

Skoll Foundation (national/global)

Solidaire Network (national)

Southeastern Council of Foundations (southern region)

Southern California Grantmakers (CA)

Southwest Initiative Foundation (MN)

Stupski Foundation (CA)

Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders (national)

Tarsadia Foundation (national/global)

The Boston Foundation (MA)

The California Endowment (CA)

The Communications Network (national)

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (CT)

The Lenny Zakim Fund (MA)

The Libra Foundation (national)

The New York Women’s Foundation (NY)

Tides (national)

Tides Advocacy (national)

Tufts Health Plan Foundation (MA)

Unbound Philanthropy (national/global)

United Philanthropy Forum (national)

W.K. Kellogg Foundation (national)

William T. Grant Foundation (national)

Willmar Area Community Foundation (MN)

Wisconsin Philanthropy Network (WI)

Women’s Foundation of California (CA)

INDIVIDUALS  (request to sign on here.)

For the list of individuals who have signed on to this open letter, click here.