When the number of hate crimes against Asians in the United States began to soar during the pandemic, Bay Area nonprofit Asian Pacific Fund joined with NBC Bay Area and our parent company Comcast to do something about it.
"We are thrilled that because of the partnership with Comcast and NBC Bay Area and Telemundo, that we seeded with an initial $100,000 investment back in February that we have now reached an incredible milestone of over a million dollars for our solidarity fund," said Audrey Yamamoto, president and executive director of Asian Pacific Fund said.
The solidarity fund has already handed out some $425,000 in grants to 22 nonprofits. A second round of grants is scheduled to go out this summer.
The money is awarded to organizations that are trying to find solutions to the anti-Asian hate incidents by providing help like mental health services to victims or ensuring safety for seniors.
"It lifts our spirit to know that we’re not alone in this world and in America and that people are responding to the plight of this particular community," Shirley Gee from the Vietnamese American Community Center in East Oakland said.
Gee said they're making good use of their $20,000 grant. They're buying sirens for people in the community, putting out booklets on how to report crime, and also educating the public about the Asian community and their contributions to the country.
"We’ve become brain surgeons, we serve your food, we cook your food, we’ve been engineers,” Gee said.
Yamamoto said donations are coming from all over the world. Following the shootings at several Atlanta-area Asian spas, she said they received more than 2,000 donations from private individuals.
"The incredible outpouring of support has just been amazing," she said. "It’s really been the one bright spot during this really dark and painful time for our AAPI community."
Asian Pacific Fund hopes its investments will help not just people right now, but also future generations of Asian and Pacific Islander communities.