Coalition urges bigger discretionary funding for fast-growing Asian community

The 15% & Growing Coalition comprising at least 45 member organizations

The 15% & Growing Coalition comprising at least 45 member organizations

The 15% & Growing Coalition gathered community members, local leaders, and advocates on March 5 at City Hall to demand equitable funding for the Asian Pacific American (APA) community.

Despite the growth, the APA community does not receive sufficient resources, the coalition said in a statement.

“In FY 2015, APA organizations received only 2.9 percent of all discretionary funding despite the communities’ growth and vast needs,” it said. “This lack of resources serve as barriers to education, health care, employment, civic participation, and other factors critical for the APA community to become fully contributing members of New York City.”

The coalition is led by the Coalition for Asian American Children & Families (CACF) and the MinKwon Center for Community Action. It has more than 45 Asian-led or serving organizations in New York City, including three Filipino organizations, Damayan Migrant Workers Association, the Filipino American Human Services, Inc., and Kalusugan Coalition, Inc.

“Even as the APA population has grown, the needs in the community have not been met with adequate financial resources and services,” said CACF Executive Director Sheelah Feinberg. “We urge the city council to continue allocating more discretionary funding and initiative funding to Asian-led community based organizations, so we can continue to provide unique culturally competent and language accessible services.”

Members of the coalition met with over 20 city council members and urged them to provide resources for the most vulnerable APA New Yorkers including children and youth, women, seniors, immigrants, and low-income families.

“Despite its contributions to the growth and dynamism of New York City, the Asian Pacific American community has the highest rate of poverty and language isolation,” said Grace Shim, executive director of the MinKwon Center. “APA New Yorkers continue to lack the critical resources needed to overcome these barriers. Today we renew our call for the city council to create opportunities for our communities through a fair and equitable budget.”

“Asian and Pacific Americans are a growing and important community that merits our support,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “In the last year alone, this community has grown by 2 percent. A community that makes up 15 percent of the population of New York City deserves more than a single-digit percentage of the city’s budget.”

Chinatown, NYC: The Asian community makes up 15 percent of the population of New York City.

Chinatown, NYC: The Asian community makes up 15 percent of the population of New York City.

“Asian American Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing population in our city,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz. “It is very gratifying to know that so many of these families have chosen my council district to make their home.”

The city council discretionary funding is a crucial resource for small community-based organizations and often the first city funding organizations can access.

In FY 2015, the New York City Council allocated $2.5 million to launch the Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund, which addresses the need for capacity-building funding for nonprofit organizations in communities of color. For FY 2016, the coalition is urging the city council to continue this initiative and increase the allocation to $5 million.

Helen Kim, Executive Director of YWCA, said, “Since its founding in 1978, the YWCA of Queens has grown to become a trusted leader and provider of choice for the Queens Immigrant community, serving over 3,000 families annually. The Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization fund is the first initiative of its kind that truly invests in the nonprofit sector (so it can) provide quality services to our communities.”

Additionally, the 15% & Growing Coalition is calling on the city council to support the new Access Health NYC initiative to help our communities access health options in New York City.

“Before the ACA, one out of five Asian Americans did not have health insurance, and of those that lacked insurance, over 71 percent were foreign-born. The Asian American community greatly benefited from plans on the Marketplace and the expansion of Medicaid – however, there are still large segments of the population that still do not have coverage,” explained Noilyn Abesamis-Mendoza, Health Policy Director of CACF. “The lack of adequate language assistance and targeted culturally competent marketing to the Asian American community led to considerable misinformation and confusion and in some cases deterred them from enrolling in the marketplace, Medicaid, or CHIP even if they were eligible.”

City Council Member Julissa Ferreras joined colleagues Dromm and Koslowitz in calling for greater funding equity to the APA community.

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One Comment

  1. RobDH wrote:

    Perhaps you should try assimilating into other communities, and not limit yourself to “ethnic only” communities.

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