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Announcing our 2021 grant cycle

July 20, 2021

We appreciate everyone’s patience as the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle co-chairs (Stephanie and Neel) took time to regroup and set a new direction for our giving moving forward. Please continue reading to learn about our 2021 grant cycle and focus for this year.

Though racism is not new, the events of 2020 and 2021 have reinforced for us how important it is to commit and recommit ourselves to fighting systemic racism in order to create a truly equitable and just society. In the past, the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle has supported a wide range of AAPI-serving organizations and projects in the DC metro area. These organizations and projects have included youth leadership and mentorship programs, historical and storytelling projects and organizations, physical and mental health services, organizations providing economic and social support services to the AAPI community, and many more. 

For our 2021 grant cycle (and hopefully beyond), we intend to push our grantmaking to support organizations and projects that are focused on anti-racism work and advancing equity. We draw inspiration from Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), who issued a call for solidarity and collective action earlier this year. In particular, we are drawing inspiration from these commitments:

“We commit to supporting work that dismantles racist and sexist narratives and opposes efforts to pit communities of color against each other. … We commit to making the pie bigger and combatting systemic racism by working with multiracial coalitions and funding organizations in communities of color, including those led by and serving Asian Americans.”

Asian American and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy

What does this mean for prospective grantees?

We will select our 2021 grantees based on a demonstrated commitment to advance racial justice, combating racism, and dismantling systemic racism in the DMV area.

Organizations we are looking to fund include:

  • 501(c)(3) organizations or fiscally-sponsored projects that are addressing anti-Asian racism and supporting restorative and healing spaces for people impacted by anti-Asian racism
  • AAPI-led 501(c)(3) organizations or fiscally-sponsored projects that are working to stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color 
  • 501(c)(3) organizations or fiscally-sponsored projects that are building power of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities

Examples of anti-racist work that we will fund can include (and is not limited to):

  • Building civic power and protecting voting rights of the AAPI community.
  • Educating DMV residents to connect the histories and cultures of AAPI ethnicities with the historical and current policies in America that resulted in the inequities present today.
  • Raising awareness on the unique social issues that impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
  • Providing restorative services in communities with immediate needs related to anti-Asian hate crimes.
  • Promoting solidarity efforts between Asian-owned small businesses and local communities/residents

We know that organizations might be at very different stages in the work they do or want to do to combat racism and advance equity. We are looking for a sense of real commitment to the work and hope applicants will share their vision for a more equitable and just DMV area and how they want to contribute to achieving that vision.

What does this mean for donors?

We hope you will join us in this new direction and give generously to support anti-racism work and advance racial equity in the DMV area. By being a part of the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle, we hope you’ll learn more about work that organizations are hoping to do to address anti-Asian racism, build solidarity with other communities of color, and advance equity. We also hope that this new direction will encourage donors to think about how they can continue to show up every day to advance equity. 

Donate any amount to become a member of our “giver’s circle”. If you donate $250 or more, you are eligible to vote on the selection committee that selects our grantee(s) for the year. All donations are tax deductible. Donate today through the Greater Washington Community Foundation by using the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle’s donation site.


2021 Grant Cycle Timeline

  • Now through September 5, 2021 — Cherry Blossom Giving Circle will be encouraging past and prospective donors to give. September 5 will be the deadline to donate as a voting member for this grant cycle ($250 or greater).
  • September 12: Grant application period opens — We will update our website with a link to the grant application and send out an email to our mailing list. Grants will be accepted through a Google form link. You can see a draft grant application here
  • October 15: Grant application period closes.
  • Mid-October through early-November: Grant review period for voting members, with time to reach back out to grantees with any follow up questions. 
  • Mid-November: Alert applicants about grant decisions

Supporting Our Grantees and Fighting Anti-Black Racism

August 16, 2020

In April, the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle and Metro DC chapter of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) announced our COVID-19 response fund. We are grateful to share that we exceeded our $10,000 goal and raised $15,000 that is being disbursed equally to: Asian American LEAD (AALEAD), Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP), and National Korean American Service & Education Consortium – Virginia (NAKASEC-VA). 

Many thanks to the generosity of every donor, and a special thank you to gracious donors who offered matching donations; to Simone Jacobson, co-owner of DC restaurant Thamee, who provided tickets to virtual happy hours during May to encourage donations; and to AAPIP, who awarded the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle with a $5,000 mini-grant to support our COVID-19 anti-racism response fund. 

Fighting Anti-Black Racism

As this country grapples with anti-Black racism, it is imperative that the AAPI community stand in cross-racial solidarity and fight for the liberation of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. As we move forward, we encourage everyone to seek out ways we can disrupt anti-Blackness in our communities and commit to antiracism work. We have compiled some resources that we hope will grow our knowledge, start conversations, lead us to ask more questions, and examine the systems and structures around us. 

We must listen to and learn from Black leaders who have been leading the movement for racial justice. Throughout American history, AAPIs have benefited and learned from the struggles and sacrifices of the Black community. We must listen to and advocate for the systems and policy change the Black community calls for, including defunding the police to invest in community resources. These ideas may be unfamiliar to some, but they are not new. 

We must do our own homework. As members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, we have been complicit in the oppression of Black people in this country. Collectively, we need to understand the history behind the “model minority” myth and how the government has used this to deny equity to Black people in the United States. And, we need to stand with Black and Indigenous people and fight for their liberation as much as we fight for our own. 

We invite your questions and thoughts. If you are looking for peers to process with, please reach out to any of us. We look forward to continuing this work with the AAPI community to push toward collective liberation. 

In solidarity,

Cherry Blossom Giving Circle Co-Chairs (

  • Stephanie Chan
  • Justine Shome

Thank you to our 2019 Nonprofits and Donors

April 26, 2020

Please join us in congratulating our 3 awardees from the 2019-20 grant cycle and learn more about their critical work.

  • Act to Change – Works to address bullying, including in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Unfortunately, many AAPI youth who are bullied face unique cultural, religious, and language barriers that can keep them from getting help. This nonprofit empowers each of us with the knowledge and tools to help stop and prevent bullying in our communities. Act to Change is partnering with local DMV groups to host a “Be Kind” youth conference. Join the #ActToChange movement.
  • Story Tapestries – Leads arts education and social justice programming through Amplify Us: An Intergenerational Dialogue on Race and Identity. Story Tapestries partners with poet and producer, Regie Cabico, to offer workshops and performances to AAPI communities, including an upcoming Asian American Spoken Word Series. Free workshops are offered in accessible public spaces in communities including those with a high AAPI population facing high rates of bias incidents as well as in spaces that have existing programs addressing social justice issues. The
    collaboration between Story Tapestries and Regie Cabico has led to community members who feel empowered to tell their story, advocate for their needs and demonstrate the value of their culture.
  • Vietnamese American Services – Serves Vietnamese Americans and immigrants with low socioeconomic status, limited English proficiency, by promoting access to healthcare, providing direct support to vulnerable populations, providing English classes and job referral services, and hosting community events.

Supporting the AAPI community during COVID-19

April 15, 2020

While COVID-19 may be new, all forms of racial bigotry and structural inequities are not. This is true for Asian Americans, as well as for Black, Indigenous, and any person of color in this country. The Cherry Blossom Giving Circle and the Metro-DC chapter of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) have co-signed AAPIP’s open letter to philanthropy on how The Cure to Viral Racism is Within Our Hands. In doing so, we are calling on our entire DMV area to join the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle in addressing racism and advancing equity in our community.  

During this pandemic, our goal is to raise at least $10,000 through the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle by May 8 to support AAPI-led organizations. At the same time we must work together to save lives and keep each other safe, we must also use this moment to shape the future to be a more just world free from bigotry and structural inequities.  

As co-chairs of the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle and the AAPIP-DC chapter, we plan to raise money through the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle to grant out to three local AAPI organizations doing anti-racism work during this pandemic. 

We hope you will join us in supporting the critical efforts of these organizations by donating to the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle by May 8.

How to Give

Please donate to the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle through our fund hosted at the Greater Washington Community Foundation by May 8. Be sure to select “Cherry Blossom Giving Circle fund” in the fund drop down menu. We welcome donations of any amount.

Though the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle typically has a voting process involving anyone who donates $250 or more, we will not be going through our traditional application and voting process for this rapid response cycle. If you would prefer to donate directly to organizations, we hope you will do so through their websites below. 


We are grateful for the local anti-racism work the following three organizations are doing:

Asian American LEAD (AALEAD) supports low-income and underserved Asian Pacific American youth in DC; Montgomery County, MD, and Northern Virginia with educational empowerment, identity development, and leadership opportunities through after school, summer, and mentoring programs. In response to the heightened anti-Asian discrimination around COVID-19, which directly impacts the physical and mental wellness of our community, AALEAD has been conducting one-on-one and group check-ins for youth to share their experiences of discrimination and bullying and connect them to the support they need. 

Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP) provides services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, DVRP continues serving its clients and community through continuous coverage of its hotline. Given increased stigma, violence, and hate crimes API community members are experiencing as a result of xenophobia, racism, and misinformation surrounding the pandemic, DVRP is encouraging those who have experienced a hate incident related to COVID-19 but do not feel comfortable contacting local authorities to reach out to DVRP staff ( or 202-833-2233) who can record and monitor these incidents and provide peer support and system navigation.

National Korean American Service & Education Consortium – Virginia (NAKASEC-VA) organizes Korean and Asian Americans in Northern Virginia to achieve social, economic, and racial justice. Through and in response to the coronavirus crisis, NAKASEC-VA’s efforts are focused on Census outreach, meeting community members’ immediate needs, providing accessible and in-language COVID-19 resources, COVID-19 related advocacy, developing new ways for community members to be connected (and not feel too isolated), fundraising for a new national emergency fund NAKASEC national is organizing to specifically provide assistance for individuals shut out of the relief package, and scenario planning for FY 2021.

If you are an AAPI organization doing anti-racism work in the DC metro area and want to tell us about your work, please email us.

We Know It’s Not Enough

We will grant out as much as we can, with as few barriers as possible for our grantees. We also acknowledge that the dollars we give are often only a drop in the bucket and a fraction of what is needed for real systems transformation. As Hanh Le, Executive Director of the Weissberg Foundation, shared in her foundation’s statement:

The reality is that we can never fill the funding gaps and nonprofits will never meet all of the service gaps that our government should be providing for, and that it and corporations actually sustain and exacerbate. This crisis will have deep and long-lasting impacts on our country, and what we do now will demonstrate what we value.

Join us in supporting AAPI organizations fighting for a more equitable and just world.

In solidarity,

  • Rosie Abriam, AAPIP DC chapter co-chair
  • Hanh Le, AAPIP DC chapter co-chair
  • Justine Shome, Cherry Blossom Giving Circle co-chair
  • Stephanie Chan, Cherry Blossom Giving Circle co-chair

Thank You and Happy Lunar New Year!

January 24, 2020

As we prepare to celebrate the Lunar New Year, we’d like to thank all of our nonprofit applicants and donors!

Our application period for nonprofits is now closed. A big thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about this funding opportunity and to all the nonprofits that applied. We will review submissions over the coming month and follow up with prospective grantees about their applications if voting members have any questions. By early March, we will announce the 2019 grantees and award amounts.

We are still accepting donations to grow the giving circle. Make a donation by February 1 and your contribution will go towards our 2019 grantees! Many thanks to our generous donors!

Accepting Grant Applications Through January 23, 2020

December 15, 2019

Our grant application process is OPEN!

Learn about the criteria here and fill out your ONLINE APPLICATION (google form)

  • APPLICATIONS DUE: January, 23, 2020.

If you have any questions or want to join our mailing list, please email us at

2019 Donor and Volunteer Opportunity!

December 2, 2019

The Cherry Blossom Giving Circle will be publishing the nonprofit grant application soon! In the meantime, please share this great opportunity to donate and help small and local nonprofits that support the AAPI community.

We are now accepting donations for the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle’s next grant cycle! Contribute any amount to help advance the work of Washington, DC metropolitan area nonprofits working to uplift the lives of the region’s marginalized AAPI communities. Early donors that give $250 or more by January are also eligible to join the voting committee that selects grantee(s) for the year. 

All donations are tax deductible. Choose “Cherry Blossom Giving Circle” on the Greater Washington Community Foundation donation website. Visit us to learn more or donate here.  

Coming Together to Celebrate 2018 CBGC Grantees

May 4, 2019

A perspective from Rumsha Ahmed, AAPIP-DC Member

There’s nothing I love more than celebrating wonderful occasions and opportunities and I got to do just that with some of my favorite people at the 2018 Cherry Blossom Giving Circle Grantee Celebration at the flipside, a new Filipino fast fusion restaurant in DC.

Eric Paler, CBGC member, emceed the event and gave a brief history. Founded in 2009 to promote giving from AAPIs to local non-profits, CBGC has since donated over $90k to 26 organizations who assist underserved communities. For the 2018 grant cycle CGBC received 27 valid applications, the largest number ever received. AAPIP sponsored the event and Hanh Le, CBGC and AAPIP-DC member, kicked off the afternoon by sharing AAPIP’s mission. She also announced several upcoming events: AALEAD APAHM Breakfast on May 3, AAPIP-DC Racial Equity program on May 7, and the AAPIP National Convening on May 21.

Representatives from each of the grant recipients thanked CBGC for their donation and shared stories of their missions, accomplishments, and events on the horizon: Sam Mukherjee for Asian-American Inter Community Service (AICS), Cyndy Han for Family Counseling Center of Greater Washington (FCCGW), Tho Tran for Vietnamese American Services (VAS), Lauren Pires for Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (A/PI DVRP), Soyun Park for Micro Business Network, and Alya Ali for KhushDC. It was inspiring to hear about all the great work these organizations are doing and see the diversity of causes represented, from promoting well-being to developing relationships between AAPI and Black/African American communities within the context of gentrification.

This event was also a reminder for me on how close knit our community is. I ran into friends I have volunteered with in other AAPI spaces that I did not know were on the boards of the grantee organizations and said hello to folks I work with in the philanthropic sector. It was a much needed, warm space to be in.

We spent the time not just celebrating the grantees, but also reflecting on where the AAPI community has been. Song Hutchins, CBGC member and former grant recipient for Asian-American Homeownership Counseling, noted that Cyndy Han (FCCGW) was instrumental in helping establish an Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which was previously only a week. Han volunteered with other AAPIs on George H.W. Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign and after he won President Bush asked what they wanted. Their response: a heritage month. The bill was signed in 1990 and since 1992, the month of May has been Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

This year marks the Giving Circle’s 10-year anniversary and their goal is to reach a total $100k of giving. Information regarding the 10-year anniversary and 2019 grant cycle will be available later this year. In the meantime, I’ll be rejoicing in how far our community has come and where we need to be.


2018 Grantee Celebration

April 24, 2019

Thanks to all who were able to attend our 2018 Grantee Celebration on Tue, Apr 23 at The Flipside, a new Filipino restaurant on M St in NW DC. We learned more about the great work our grantees are doing for DC metro area communities, made some new connections, and ate some delicious Filipino food.

Look for future posts regarding our 2019 grant cycle which will commemorate our 10 year anniversary!IMG_20190423_172523

Congratulations to our 2018 Grantees!

February 28, 2019

After receiving a record number of applications, we are happy to announce our grant recipients:

  • Asian Indians for Community Service – Promotes the well-being of the Asian American community through advocacy, education/training, and service to eliminate disparities and promote equity in health care in the greater Washington DC region.
  • Micro Business Network – Strengthens the membership’s commitment to a strong progressive political analysis with a focus on developing relationships between the Korean, Chinese, and Asian immigrant store owner community and the surrounding African American communities within the context of rapid-fire gentrification.
  • Asian Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project – Mitigates the multiple cultural and linguistic barriers facing many A/PI residents who are silently grappling with issues of sexual and intimate partner violence.
  • KhushDC –  Supports a social and educational group for South Asian LGBTQ people in the DMV area for people to find one another and build relationships.
  • Vietnamese American Services – Serves Vietnamese Americans by addressing existing and emerging needs of this underserved population in the Washington Metropolitan Area: Promoting access to healthcare, Improving quality of life for seniors and people at risk, Offering English classes and workforce development, and Hosting cultural events.
  • Family Counseling Center of Greater Washington – Provides professional counseling for Korean-Asian families with Mental Health issues, mentoring for youth in academic achievement and leadership development, a senior outreach program with house call, and group recreational therapy/activities for seniors.