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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.


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