NEW YORK and SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Stand with Asians (SWA), a grassroots organization driving awareness of the challenges facing the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, today released a report documenting the widespread impact of its $600,000 SWA Community Fund allocated in May to underserved AAPI nonprofit and grassroots organizations. Distributed by blockchain-based non-profit Endaoment as $25,000 grants to 24 organizations, the funds – raised via a non-fungible token (NFT) auction – have positively impacted over 93,000 AAPI nationwide by funding programs such as prisoner support, mental health services, deportation pardons, low-income immigrant worker advocacy, domestic violence survivor support, emergency food pantries, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) solidarity projects and more.
With the intersection of the rise in anti-Asian hate and COVID-19, the AAPI community has been devastated by the pandemic, with many low-income AAPI losing work or disproportionately being forced to shut down small businesses while Asian American families suffer from drastically higher COVID-19 mortality and hospitalization rates. Armed with this funding, SWA grantees were able to meet this sharp increase in community needs, distributing 21,980 meals, fielding 7,700 helpline and wellness checkup calls, vaccinating 1,300 against COVID-19, providing 1,370 youth with educational/development opportunities, conducting 3,000 mental health counseling sessions, distributing 3,400 emergency whistles for self-defense against anti-Asian violence and much more.
The organizations funded span a range of fields across civic engagement, female empowerment, health and wellness, youth and education, senior care, special needs and community safety. The grantees are API Rise, Asian Prisoner Support Committee, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, CAUSE, Hmong Innovating Politics, Think!Chinatown, VietLead, Asian Immigrant Women Advocates, Jahajee Sisters, Delta Chinatown Initiative, Sakhi for South Asian Women, Sapna NYC, Asian Americans United, Family Touch, BeChinatown, Friends of Boundary Waters Wilderness, Immigrant History Initiative, Chinese Culture and Community Service Center, India Home, Integrated Resources Institute, Korean American Special Education Center and Send Chinatown Love.
For many, the grants came at a time of intensified need with many nonprofits grappling with limited staffing and volatile financial resources due to the pandemic while also experiencing unprecedented demand from AAPI community members for basic needs, such as food security, housing assistance, healthcare, domestic violence counseling, public safety, mental health services and more.
In addition, AAPI organizations are historically underfunded, with only 0.2% of philanthropic dollars going to organizations serving AAPI communities – meaning for every $100 awarded by foundations in the U.S., only 20 cents is designated for AAPI communities. More alarmingly, according to Asian Americans / Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, this percentage has not changed since 1983 – even as the AAPI population has since more than doubled and overall philanthropic giving has grown. However, with prevalent stereotypes such as the model minority myth – which positions Asian Americans as successful, affluent, well-educated professionals – the population’s unique struggles are often overlooked or minimized in the mainstream. Meanwhile, difficulties such as language barriers, lack of digital literacy and a dearth of culturally appropriate services often result in low-income and immigrant AAPI communities receiving the least help.
“The AAPI community is facing unprecedented pressures with the continuing pandemic and wave of anti-Asian sentiment taking a toll on our most vulnerable,” said Tian He, co-founder of Stand with Asians. “We’re proud to learn of the far-reaching impacts of the $600,000 we distributed to these deserving organizations – with our grants helping keep doors open, feed low-income immigrants and the elderly, support deportees, refugees and domestic violence survivors, build solidarity across racial lines and more. Even so, these grants are just a drop in the bucket – we hope this report will spotlight the AAPI community’s dire needs, these underserved organizations’ pleas for more resources and the important work that lies ahead.”
The funds were raised via a collaboration with influential AAPI digital artist Emily Yang, known as pplpleasr, alongside decentralized cryptocurrency exchange Uniswap with the goal of immediately deploying assistance to AAPI populations affected by pandemic and surge in discrimination. Pplpleaser created a one-of-a-kind art piece, an animated video featuring abstract 3D imagery of unicorns, constellations and prisms, which sold at auction for 310 Ethereum as a NFT minted on the blockchain – with funds distributed via Endaoment’s on-chain giving platform. The NFT was purchased by PleasrDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization consisting of 30 members of the Ethereum community collecting digital art representing and funding important ideas and movements memorialized on-chain as NFTs.
Notably, the grants enabled nine organizations including API Rise, VietLead, Korean American Special Education Center, Immigrant History Initiative to either hire staff for the first time, fund paid internships for students or pay organizers for their work.
Other key accomplishments of these SWA-funded organizations in the nine months since the grants were issued include:
- Allowed Asian Prisoner Support Committee’s formerly incarcerated staff and community members to conduct 14 educational events on topics including criminalization, alternatives to incarceration, racial solidarity and more, reaching over 540 people
- Provided Hmong Innovating Politics funds to host COVID-19 focus groups to address vaccine hesitancy in the Hmong community and better inform its COVID-19 work
- Enabled Asian Immigrant Women Advocates to educate Chinese and Nepali immigrant and refugee women on anti-Asian hate and the importance of Black-Asian solidarity, resulting in attendees voicing a desire to see these communities unite
- Provided VietLead the ongoing resources and staff needed to support pardon applications for deportees to Cambodia and Vietnam
- Allowed Sakhi for South Asian Women to keep its doors open, responding to 1,500 helpline calls from survivors of gender-based violence, distributing $415,000 to support basic needs including food and rent (3x the funding distributed in 2020), and providing 245 survivors with housing assistance, career readiness training, English classes and more
- Enabling Delta Chinatown to install high-speed internet and security cameras in key locations in San Francisco Chinatown, where there has been an alarming uptick in anti-Asian crime and robberies of small businesses, both enhancing safety in Chinatown as well as closing the digital divide between Chinatown and the rest of the city – as many residents and merchants lack the resources to install high-speed internet
- Enabled Sapna NYC to extend its COVID-19 emergency food pantry for five weeks to provide culturally appropriate food (177,800 pounds over 16 months) to working-class immigrants heavily impacted by the pandemic. The organization also connected them to resources such as food stamps, vaccines and unemployment insurance
- Helped Family Touch provide its culturally sensitive Grief Share counseling program in Korean for immigrants who lost family members due to COVID-19, sickness or accidents. The grant enabled them to provide over 1,390 sessions this year – a 69% increase from the prior year – and expand its services to seven additional states
- Enabled India Home to open four new centers to support the increased pandemic needs of its South Asian and Indo-Caribbean senior immigrants, supplying 5,230 meals, 5,000 wellness check-up calls and 1,690 remote case management and mental health services
- Allowed Immigrant History Initiative to pilot a program to develop K-5 lesson plans on AAPI studies and history in New Jersey (reaching 1,000 students) – with plans to distribute these lesson plans to school districts across New Jersey, reaching up to half a million elementary school students. The state recently passed a bill mandating public schools teach Asian American history, becoming the second state to do so
- Enabled BeChinatown to increase the scope of its Chinatown Winter Wonderland event, which provided toys to children who live in San Francisco Chinatown single room occupancies and other challenging housing situations. They distributed over 1,000 toys this year (up from 600 last year) and converted the event from a no-frills toy handout to a full-blown block party with holiday activities, entertainers and COVID-19 vaccinations
Endaoment, a community foundation aiming to decentralize finance by enabling charitable giving of cryptocurrency, facilitated the movement of the funds to grantees via Stand With Asians’ Endaoment Community Fund. Endaoment Community Funds are designed to function as more collaborative giving structures within the blockchain industry, empowering grassroots organizations closest to the causes at hand, such as SWA, to collectively decide on the organizations best fit to receive donations and drive social impact.
Following on the heels of its first successful foray into NFTs with pplpleaser, Stand With Asians has since partnered with AAPI creators James Jean and Arnold Tsang (also known as Steamboy33) on additional charity NFT auctions, bringing the total funds raised for the SWA Community Fund up to $779,495 – with plans to distribute these additional funds at a later date.
Quotes from Grantees
“This grant from Stand with Asians was essential to allowing us to compensate our hard-working organizers in our fight against the detention and deportation of Southeast Asians,” said Nancy Nguyen, executive director at VietLead. “These much-needed funds gave us the runway to move this critical work forward and provided a welcome relief for our typical mode of nonstop fundraising, ultimately allowing us to better dismantle systems of oppression.”
“As a small but mighty nonprofit, this grant was indispensable to better serving our community, especially as the pandemic has exponentially increased the basic survival needs of our community, ” said Kavita Mehra, executive director of Sakhi for South Asian Women. “With these resources, we were able to continue our important work of supporting South Asian survivors of gender-based violence, helping hundreds with food, rent, education, emergency funds and more.”
“This grant, the largest we’ve ever received, had a transformative impact for us,” said Kathy Lu, co-founder of Immigrant History Initiative. “It allowed us to hire our first employee and dramatically expanded our ability to pursue long-term solutions tackling the systemic roots of racial injustice, rather than only its effects. We’ve been able to support New Jersey in its work to mandate Asian American history in public schools via launching a curriculum that will impact up to half a million students. This will fill a critical gap – especially as this wave of anti-Asian ignorance has highlighted the need for stronger awareness of our community’s struggles and history.”
“Our South Asian immigrant community are the restaurant workers, taxi drivers, domestic workers, and grocery workers most deeply impacted by the pandemic – with many disconnected from resources due to low English and digital literacy,” said Diya Basu-Sen, executive director at Sapna NYC. “This grant provided a much-needed injection of funds to meet their evolving needs, allowing us to provide over 177,800 pounds of culturally appropriate food, connect members to over $143,000 in emergency assistance, and aid an unprecedented influx in domestic violence survivors.”
About Stand With Asians
Formed to protest the wave of anti-Asian hate crimes, Stand with Asians (SWA) is a global grassroots organization with members in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Shanghai, and Taipei. The organization drives awareness of the challenges facing the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. It was founded after a friend of a co-founder was brutally stabbed in the back multiple times while in Manhattan’s Chinatown, losing his kidney in the process. SWA drives awareness of AAPI issues through grassroots efforts, including fundraising for nonprofits serving underserved AAPI communities, driving BIPOC solidarity efforts, increasing civic engagement, supporting rallies, promoting AAPI media representation, distributing self-defense resources, and more. For more information, please visit https://www.standwithasians.com/
Endaoment is a California Public Benefit Corporation based in San Francisco, federally tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3). Endaoment serves as the decentralized finance industry’s Community Foundation. Endaoment provides Donor-Advised Funds through its web application and will also steward a Community Endowment Fund powered by a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). By creating a robust Community Foundation entity for the DeFi industry, Endaoment hopes to encourage the charitable giving of cryptocurrencies and the adoption of cryptocurrency technologies by nonprofit organizations. For more information visit https://endaoment.org/.
Uniswap is a protocol for trading ERC-20 tokens on Ethereum. It removes intermediaries and unnecessary forms of rent extraction, allowing for fast, efficient trading. Uniswap prioritizes decentralization and security above all. The protocol has facilitated over $135bn in trading volume, and is the most popular application on Ethereum (by transaction count). Uniswap ranks as one of the largest cryptocurrency spot exchanges in the world.For more information, please visit uniswap.org
Emily Yang or pplpleasr is a digital artist known for her collaborations with DeFi protocols such as Aave, Sushiswap, Yearn Finance and more. In the past, she has worked on movies such as Batman v Superman, Wonder Woman as well as the Diablo IV cinematic. Most recently, she is known for her work on the Uniswap v3 animation which sold for 310 ETH.
About James Jean:
James Jean is a multidisciplinary visual artist whose works explore imagination and reality through narrative-driven, layered compositions. Jean’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, among others. In 2019, Eternal Journey, a major retrospective of his work, was hosted by Lotte Museum of Art in Seoul.
About Arnold Tsang:
Arnold Tsang is a Canadian concept artist, illustrator, and animator. He’s best known for his work on Udon Entertainment’s Street Fighter comic series, as well as being the Character Art Director of Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch. Most recently, he is known as the co-creator of AZUKI, an emerging web3 brand.
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