Asian American business leaders to combat anti-Asian discrimination with $250 million fund

May 3, 2021, 5:38 PM UTC

Prominent business leaders launched a $250 million fund on Monday to fight anti-Asian discrimination and push for Asian American accomplishments to be more recognized in school curriculums.

The Asian American Foundation, a newly formed initiative, committed $125 million—donated by its board members—toward three areas of focus: anti-hate, data and research, and education. The foundation raised another $125 million from companies and organizations such as Coca-Cola, Walmart, Bank of America, and the National Basketball Association.

A priority for the foundation includes developing “common data standards to better track incidents of hate and violence targeting AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] communities.” The funds will also be dedicated to creating K–12 curriculums that highlight the accomplishments of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders throughout American history.

“AAPI communities need systemic change to ensure we are better supported, represented, and celebrated across all aspects of American life,” said Sonal Shah, president of the Asian American Foundation, in a press release.

The $250 million total contribution is the largest single philanthropic gift devoted to Asian Americans, who make up 7% of the U.S. population, according to Pew Research Center, but who receive less than 0.5% of charitable giving from foundations, according to the Asian American Foundation.

Li Lu, the founder and chairman of Himalaya Capital—a firm focused on investments in Asia—is chairman of the foundation’s board. He is joined by CNN hosts Lisa Ling and Fareed Zakaria, professional basketball player Jeremy Lin, former president of the World Bank Dr. Jim Yong Kim, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among other influential public figures. The board also includes billionaires Jerry Yang, cofounder of Yahoo, and Joseph Tsai, cofounder of Alibaba Group.

A virtual launch event featuring opening remarks by President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, and President Barack Obama will be held by the foundation on Tuesday.

The foundation was announced during Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage month at a time when violence against Asian people has increased substantially.

In the past few months, corporations and business leaders have increasingly voiced their concerns over some political issues, as well as voiced support for some social issues.

Last month, a group of Black business leaders also organized to oppose a controversial election law passed by the state legislature in Georgia.

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