Kibei Giving Circle

January 13, 2015

by Shiho Fuyuki, member services manager, Mission Investors Exchange and co-chair, AAPIP Seattle/Puget Sound Chapter

Did you know that less than 1% of institutional philanthropic dollars go to Asian American and Pacific Islander (API) communities? While there is a gap in funding from institutional philanthropy to the API community, how can we as APIs working in philanthropy take initiative to support our community needs? This has been a longstanding question we grapple with at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP).

Gathering with a few of my colleagues in the greater Seattle area, all of whom I met through my involvement with AAPIP, we had the opportunity to launch Kibei Giving Circle in 2013. It is the first giving circle in the Northwest affiliated with AAPIP’s National Giving Circle Network. Across the country there are currently 42 giving circles thinking creatively about ways to make an impact in the API community using our own resources. The giving circle concept is quite simple: pool funds from family, friends and colleagues, have fun, eat delicious meals and make an impact.

Kibei in Japanese means “go home to America” and expresses the “transglocal” diversity that defines our community. The five members came together over brunch and mimosas to brainstorm different areas that we were all passionate about. We came up with the following criteria for potential grantees:

  1. Multi‐ethnic coalition building
  2. Leadership development
  3. Cultural work
  4. Strengthening & empowering the younger generation, especially women
  5. Impact in Washington state
  6. Budget less than $500K

Kibei Giving Circle members

In 2013, our goal was to raise $2,500 -- the minimum amount to qualify to receive a 50% match from AAPIP. We smashed through our goal, raising over $8,000 from 24 donors and four company matches, and awarded grants to Coalition for Refugees from Burma (CRB) and Tasveer.

CRB provides culturally and linguistically appropriate services to improve the living conditions and quality of resettled refugees in the Puget Sound area by offering a wide range of educational programming, connections to social services and community building events. Tasveer curates thought-provoking artistic work by South Asians through films, forums, visual art and performances that engage and empower the community.

Our $8,000 was part of a total of $400,000 raised across the AAPIP giving circle network that supported 110 API-serving organizations across the country in 2014.

We have now wrapped up our 2014 fundraising cycle and have raised $13,615 from 34 donors, company matches and AAPIP’s 50% match. We are happy to announce our two recipients for 2014.

Kinnaly Lao Traditional Music & Dance Troupe is a program of the Lao Heritage Foundation-Pacific Northwest Chapter, comprised of over 60 second-generation Lao American youth (the youngest is 4-years-old, and some have been dancing and performing for over 15 years) who come together to learn, preserve, promote, and share the art of Lao traditional music and dances. The program provides ample room for artistic exploration by introducing classic, folk, and storytelling forms of Lao dances and music, as a way to bridge the students’ American reality and their Lao roots.

Kibei is pleased to support this exercise which has proven invaluable in their search for their Lao American cultural identity, and help to develop the youth’s individuality and self-awareness.

Got Green leads community organizing efforts, public policy advocacy and leadership development programs to ensure that the benefits of the new, green economy – green jobs, access to healthy foods, energy efficient homes, and public transit – are widely available to low income communities of color in Seattle/King County and beyond. It helps to grow grassroots leaders whose voices are rarely heard on environmental issues, and works to re-frame these issues so they resonate in communities of color and lead to more people getting involved.

Kibei is pleased to assist in providing training opportunities and relationship/team building activities for grassroots leaders, and support the growth of our committees of workers, women, and youth people of color. Got Green has acquired its 501c3 status in the beginning of 2015.

We are so grateful to all of our donors and partners who have generously contributed to Kibei in 2014 and look forward to supporting more API-serving organizations in the coming year.

A special thanks and shout out to Social Justice Fund NW for hosting our giving circle!