Giving Gap? Connecting Asian-American Philanthropy and Community Needs
On October 30, leading foundation and fundraising experts gathered to discuss new trends in Asian-American philanthropy and whether there is a “giving gap,” where the community is giving less than it could or should. The panel was moderated by Buck Gee, an ASNC board member and Co-Founder of the Chinese American Community Foundation.
The consensus of the panel is that there is not, with long traditions of giving in Asian cultures, even if it is not always recognized as philanthropy per se. Giving among first-generation Asian Americans in particular is often private, through family, fraternal organizations, and home-country communities, and not reported to government or tax authorities. There is relatively less giving to large, established non-profits like the United Way, though that is changing fast among American-born Asians.
New tools like giving circles and crowd-sourcing are proving effective in instilling “habits of giving” among younger Asian Americans, but over the long haul, as Naren Gupta of Nexus Venture Partners noted, “it is personal ties that matter most.”
It is clear, however, that there is a significant “getting gap,” where Asian American communities benefit from only a tiny share of community grants and services. Why? One cause, several panelists suggested, is the enduring stereotype that all Asian Americans are well off economically, when there remain stubborn pockets of poverty, low levels of education, and other disadvantages. Even in San Francisco, Audrey Yamamoto of the Asian Pacific Fund said, over one quarter of Asian Americans lack a high-school education.
The program was the latest in Asia Society Northern California’s Asian America Now program series. The series provides an open forum to explore the latest trends, issues, and debates facing the Asian American community today and the topics span arts & culture, business, politics, and society.