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Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP)
Noelle Ito, Senior Director, Community Philanthropy
T: 415-273-2760
Based in the United States
Chapters throughout the United States
Additional Contacts:
: 415-273-2760

Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP)


Founded in 1990, AAPIP, is a national member-supported philanthropic advocacy organization dedicated to advancing philanthropy and Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. Our members include foundations, staff and trustees of grantmaking institutions, and nonprofit organizations in ten regional chapters across the United States. AAPIP engages communities and philanthropy to address unmet needs; serves as a resource for and about AAPI communities; supports and facilitates giving by and to AAPI communities; and incubates new ideas and approaches to building democratic philanthropy.


AAPIP leverages, builds and accesses philanthropic capital for our communities to develop their capacity to meet community needs and solve systemic inequities. To achieve these goals, AAPIP uses two key strategies:

  1. To advocate for more philanthropic resources from institutions.
  2. To build philanthropy within our communities.

These two strategies translate into our targeted campaigns and innovative programming.

National Giving Circle Campaign: In 2011, AAPIP launched a five year National Giving Circle Campaign to build a movement of giving circles to increase investments to the AAPI community, strengthen the leadership and capacity of AAPI young professionals, and attract and engage new donors.

1st STEP Campaign: In 2012, AAPIP launched a campaign to increase grantmaking to AAPI communities across the nation. Looking at detailed grantmaking data in ten regions where AAPIP chapters currently thrive, the campaign uses data to inform a fuller picture of where philanthropy has -- and has not -- made investments in the AAPI community.

What Makes Us Different:

AAPIP is the leading organization working to develop Giving Circles in AAPI communities. Giving Circles are a culturally rooted and extremely personal way to encourage philanthropy in our communities. Small groups of people pool their resources to effect positive change. They meet. They eat. They make plans and then go about making the world a better place. Right now, all across our nation, dreamers and doers in AAPIP's National Giving Circle Network are providing scholarships, fostering racial harmony, promoting creativity, aiding immigrants, preserving cultural heritage and empowering communities.

Inspirational Stories:

“Giving Circles are more about building leaders than about raising money.  If we can build a movement of philanthropic leaders through giving circle involvement, then we are making an impact in our communities that will last for years to come.”

— Asian Mosaic Fund member in Philadelphia 

"The Red Envelope Giving Circle (REGC) is a safe space to become a philanthropist. This scale of philanthropy feels comfortable. I know that my contribution goes directly to community stories that inspire others to speak up, write a story, make a film, and teach others about our very diverse and changing demographics. REGC is a group of the most dynamic women in our community. Honestly, I was terrified at the invitation to hash out organizational guidelines. But their collective skills created a whirlwind of ideas, thoughts, and opinions that culminated into divided tasks, shared responsibilities, fellowship and of course, an elaborate dinner complete with take home boxes full of leftovers and various surprises. We've come a long way from the initial AAPIP Giving Circle presentation by Alice Hom. Red Envelope Giving Circle is an expanding social and political experience for me. If even one person is inspired by what we do, then we have ensured lasting change."

— Red Envelope Giving Circle member in San Francisco

"When I walked into the Welcome Dinner for the 3rd Annual AAPIP National Convening, strangers I had never met were cheering and hugging me. It can only be described as a wonderful combination of pep rally, family reunion, and blind date. The enthusiasm in the room was contagious. There is a magical bond that occurs between people in giving circles and it crosses political, cultural, gender, sexual preference, and generational lines. We broke bread, shared stories, advice and cheered on our fellow giving circle members as one by one we stood up and introduced ourselves to our new family. Over 50 giving circle members from across the U.S. arrived in San Francisco that weekend to meet their counterparts and learn how to improve their own giving circles back at home. What we weren't prepared for was AAPIP Executive Director Peggy Saika's call to action to start off the day-long conference. 'We are part of a movement,' she said. And this changed everything. Our little giving circles we started with friends back home were put into a context larger than we ever imagined. AAPIP's vision is to change the way people think about philanthropy. We do not have to depend on large corporations and foundations to fund the causes we care about. If there's something bothering us, something we care about, something that we want to change - we have the power to do it. I realized at that moment we've already started the process."

— Asian American Giving Circle of Greater Houston member

Success Stories:

"Everyone at Devata Giving Circle has given me strong, beautiful Khmer women role models to look up to. And they have helped the organization I work for with funding. And while that funding, of course, had the practical benefit of sustaining our program, it did so much more. It gave us a sense of pride and courage, because we knew it was not a gift of charity from people who simply pity the plight of Cambodian people. It is a gift of self-reliance, of empowerment."

— Grant recipient in Oakland, CA

"MataHari is one of the best success stories for Saffron Circle. Saffron Circle was the first funder of MataHari. Before our grant, MataHari operated for several years without receiving a grant. However, our meager grant went a long way with this organization, helping to provide stipends to workers and defraying the costs of their work. Additionally, the support of Saffron Circle showed the community support for MataHari's work. Our grant gave a nod from the community that the work of MataHari was needed and valuable within our community."

— Saffron Circle in Boston

"Our first grantee is a group of Native Hawaiian 8th graders who will be traveling to Washington DC to learn more about the National Government. Over the last year this group along with their parents and number of school staff members have been fundraising to help raise money to cover the cost of travel, transportation, and lodging. Through their efforts which has included car washes and selling various food items they were only able to raise about ¾ of the amount that Pōʻaha was able to grant the group, for far less time and effort. This really helped us to show the impact a giving circle can have on a project and community and helped families to better understand that philanthropy is not for the rich and the how they can more readily support causes of interest."

— Pōʻaha Giving Circle in Hilo

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