Asian American Communities
This article is one of a series I have posted on WordPress, “Connecting with Diverse Communities.” I began the article back in 2012, and have continued to add information.
Pew Research Center produced an insightful report in June, 2012 that everyone should read, The Rise of Asian Americans.
“Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success, according to a comprehensive new nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center.”
An important precaution is given by Pew Research against approaching Asian Americans as one monolithic group. Similar to other ethnic groups, “Asian Americans trace their roots to any of dozens of countries in the Far East, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Each country of origin subgroup has its own unique history, culture, language, religious beliefs, economic and demographic traits, social and political values, and pathways into America.”
Asian Americans have strong family values and they believe in the rewards of hard work. Their religious affiliations vary widely. Their educational attainment is higher than the overall U.S. population. Asian Americans are more satisfied than the general public with their financial situations and standard of living.
More Asian Americans favor marriage equality than do not. Overall, they tend to affiliate politically more with the Democratic party than the Republican. The largest Asian groups in terms of their populations are (in order): Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese.
There is not a great deal of information in the report about Asian Americans from a philanthropic standpoint, although in the “Homeownership, Career Success, Altruism and Leisure” section of the study, it is noted:
“When it comes to helping others in need, 28% of Asian Americans say this is one of the most important things in their lives. An additional 44% say this is very important to them but not the most important thing, and 26% say this is somewhat important. Only 2% say this is not important to them. Compared with the general public, Asian Americans are somewhat more likely to place a high priority on helping others in need (20% of all American adults say this is one of the most important things in their lives).”
Nonprofit organizations need to be paying attention to the rise of Asian American communities in the United States, and to their unique characteristics. By taking the time to understand the unique perspective of Asian Americans, the philanthropic sector could make significant headway in terms of seeking and obtaining donations.
Locally in Austin, Texas, you might enjoy reading the website of the Asian Chamber of Commerce. “Asians in Austin are the fastest growing demographic group, doubling roughly every 12 years. Asian Americans comprise 8% of the City of Austin’s population and this ranking puts Austin 9th in the country.”
Asian American have long been a influential citizens in Texas and across the nation, but we need to better understand and appreciate them, and integrate them more fully into community philanthropy and in solving some of our region’s unique challenges.
One resource devoted specifically to this purpose in Central Texas is The New Philanthropists, which is creating a “leadership pipeline for a diverse and inclusive Austin.”
- Bain & Company produced an insightful study, “India Philanthropy Report 2019” – “Based on our research, most Indian philanthropists are naturally inclined to give back to society, and they believe in uplifting those who are less privileged. This inclination stems from long-standing ideals and cultural values, including the Gandhian principle of trusteeship and a belief that we are simply custodians of our accumulated or inherited wealth.”
- Grace Chung for Forbes, “Asia’s 2018 Heroes Of Philanthropy: Putting Wealth To A Good Cause” (November 12, 2018).
- Christina Larson wrote for Bloomberg Businessweek, “Chinese Nonprofits Survive and Thrive” (June 19, 2013). “In the past, Chinese grassroots groups were almost entirely supported by grants from foreign foundations and governments—such as the Ford Foundation, Open Society Institute, and embassy grants. Funding from overseas remains significant, but in the past few years, a handful of private foundations have arisen in China and begun to support local nonprofits. Last year, China’s central government also announced the launch of a 200 million renminbi ($32.5 million) fund for social initiatives—and it invited nonprofits to submit applications.” You might also enjoy an update about China’s top philanthropists, “The Faces of China’s New Philanthropy” by Katia Savchuk for Forbes (January 27, 2016).
- Juliana Liu for BBC News, “Is philanthropy catching on with China’s super rich?” (June 9, 2017).
- Center for Arab American Philanthropy discusses many important topics, under the umbrella mission of, “Uniting and empowering the Arab American community by demonstrating the impact of giving together.”
- CivilNet, “Philanthropy in Japan and Asia” (ongoing).
- Regarding Chinese philanthropy, I was inspired by a speech given during the 2011 Charity Channel Summit/Grant Professionals Association in Las Vegas by Bradford K. Smith of The Foundation Center, regarding Asian philanthropists who are creating new foundations, and for whom he has been consulting. Read The Foundation Center’s, “Charity and Philanthropy in Russia, China, India and Brazil.”
- Sucheta Rawal wrote for Khabar, “The Charitable Indian American” (2011).
- Mark Sidel for Alliance, “The State of Asian Philanthropy” (May 15, 2018). “Individual and corporate giving is growing rapidly in some countries, and steadily in most others, even if we can’t always measure it effectively. Bill Gates’s comment in Ingrid Srinath’s excellent recent article on Indian philanthropy that ‘a miracle of domestic resources coming out of the lower middle-income countries like India’ applies to a range of other countries and areas in the region.”
- Penta, “A New Generation of Philanthropy in China” (March 26, 2019).
- Zhang Xin wrote for The New York Times, “The Rise of the Chinese Philanthropist” (December 4, 2014). For a more recent update about philanthropy in China, you might enjoy reading, “The Big Winner in China’s Philanthropy Game: Schools” by Eva Dou and Laurie Burkitt, with contributions by Ned Levin, in The Wall Street Journal’s ChinaRealTime section (January 28, 2016).
- Pew Research Center, Key Facts About Asian Americans, a Diverse and Growing Population (September 9, 2017).
- Philanthropy News Digest of The Foundation Center published, “More Needs to Be Done to Boost Philanthropy in China, Report Finds” (June 1, 2016).
- Third Sector Foundation of Turkey provides a number of helpful resources. On a personal note, with one of my college degrees in Middle Eastern Studies, it is important to understand that citizens in countries we broadly label the “Middle East” do not necessarily think alike. Caution advised.
- Teresa Watanabe wrote for the Los Angeles Times, “Donors of Chinese descent vastly increase philanthropy, mostly to higher education” (September 6, 2017).