Asian American Communities

Click on the photograph to reach the Pew Research Center report, "The Rise of Asian Americans."

Click on the photograph to reach the Pew Research Center report, “The Rise of Asian Americans.”

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 a helpful report everyone should read, “The Rise of Asian Americans” (June 19, 2012).

“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.”

"Meet the New Immigrants" (click for more).

“Meet the New Immigrants” (click for more).

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.

On a personal note, our local newspaper in Austin, Texas, the Austin American-Statesman produced a telling article by Marty Toohey, “As Asian American Community Grows, Austin Looks at Diverse Needs” (September 28, 2015). “Between 1990 and 2012 … Asians grew from 3.3 percent of the population to 6.5 percent — making Asians the fastest-growing racial or ethnic segment of the city’s population, and one that will soon exceed the black population, according to City Demographer Ryan Robinson.” Asian American have long been a part of the Greater Austin community, but we need to better understand and appreciate them, and integrate them more fully into community philanthropy and in solving some of our City’s unique challenges.

Additional Resources

  • Asian Philanthropy Forum provides insights on a variety of philanthropic tops. Follow this link to access a compilation of articles about Japan.
  • Bain & Company produced an insightful study, “India Philanthropy Report 2015” – “The focus of this year’s report is the evolution of philanthropy in India to date and some recommendations for how to sustain and build on its recent momentum. Our report identifies areas for change and offers insights into how stakeholders can address new opportunities.”
  • 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).
  • Alex Nowrasteh, Immigration Policy Analyst of the CATO Institute wrote, “The Rise of Asian Immigration” (July 9, 2012). “Asian immigration is pushed by some factors that are different from those that encouraged Hispanic immigration. Fast growing economies in Asia have lifted hundreds of millions of people from abysmal poverty to more comfortable poverty and many even to prosperity. Their increased income has made emigration an affordable prospect for millions.”
  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • I was recently introduced to the Model Majority Podcast, “A podcast about politics, culture, and life through an Asian-American lens, by Tony Nagatani and Kevin Xu–former blue-collar workers of presidential campaigns (aka Field Organizers), former inside-the-beltway staffers, news junkies, writers, editors, entrepreneurs.” Follow the link to subscribe and listen!
  • Kirk Semple wrote an insightful article for the The New York Times, “Asian-Americans Gain Influence in Philanthropy” (January 8, 2013). “Members of a new class of affluent Asian-Americans, many of whom have benefited from booms in finance and technology, are making their mark on philanthropy in the United States. They are donating large sums to groups focused on their own diasporas or their homelands …. And they are giving to prestigious universities, museums, concert halls and hospitals — like Yale University and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The institutions, in turn, are increasingly courting Asian-Americans, who are taking high-profile slots on their governing boards.”

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