A report released last year by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) called Seeking to Soar noted that for the past 30 years, only 20-40 cents have been specifically invested in supporting AANHPI communities for every $100 given by major funders. This newest report from CEP reveals that even those AANHPI groups with their foot in the foundation door struggle to have their communities be understood and valued by those funders.

The lack of disaggregated population data has meant that the real needs within diverse AANHPI communities are often invisible or misunderstood. The persistent model minority myth within dominant culture further exacerbates the lack of funding for our communities as so many funders still operate from a scarcity mindset, prioritize funding for the “worst” problems, and effectively continue to pit one group against another.

The time for simply framing problems is over. The time for action is now. In working with both funders and donors, we have each heard that people want to do something but don’t know where to start. We invite you to step up and join us in supporting AANHPI leaders and communities with any or all of the following actions.

Use your voice. Regardless of your formal or informal role in your job, your community, or other groups with which you affiliate, you can use your voice to note where there is a lack of funding, representation, or support for AANHPI communities. If you are part of the funding community, ask questions about how your grant budgets are allocated, or directly influence the distribution of dollars if you have that power.

Use your resources. As you think about your philanthropic resources, how are you allocating them with an equity mindset that doesn’t pit one group against another? Are you considering donations to AANHPI communities or leaders along with other donations? If you are an AANHPI leader with the power to advocate for your community within a funding organization, ask yourself how you are leveraging your power.

Use your time. As we continue in this uncertain, often hybrid in-person/virtual world, we all have opportunities to connect with events happening around the world without having to travel. Use some of your time to connect to learning events and discussions about the AANHPI communities, or to volunteer with local groups.

Use your curiosity. Among funders and donors, we often hear a sense of wanting to “something,” but not knowing where to start. Use your curiosity to connect with community groups led by and serving AANHPIs, read reports from resources like AAPIP, or ask a friend. Start your learning journey today.

Lean into authentic partnership. Don’t make this an exercise in simply trying to check a box in a diversity, equity, and inclusion scorecard. Work to create authentic partnerships with AANHPI communities and expect that this will be a journey that will require investment of both time and energy.

Read the full article about supporting AANHPI communities by Patricia Eng & Miki Akimoto at the Center for Effective Philanthropy.