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Foundation launches with $125 million to combat anti-Asian hate

The foundation says it is the "largest philanthropic commitment in history by Asian Americans fully focused on supporting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders."

WASHINGTON — A new foundation launched Monday with the goal of solving a longstanding lack on investment in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, which have recently faced a growing number of racist attacks. 

The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) said it has already raised $125 million among its board members to support Asian American and Pacific Island organizations and causes. The foundation described the initial funding as the "largest philanthropic commitment in history by Asian Americans fully focused on supporting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders."

According to Reuters, several major companies including Coca-Cola, Walmart, Amazon and the National Basketball Association have contributed another $125 million. 

The foundation said it plans to use the initial investment to focus on three areas: research, education and supporting groups who are working to combat violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 

More than 3,000 incidents of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been reported to Stop AAPI Hate, a California-based reporting center for such crimes, and its partner advocacy groups since mid-March 2020.

The fatal shootings of eight people - six of whom were Asian women - at three spas in the Atlanta area prompted rallies in several cities around the country to confront anti-Asian bias. Much of the recent violence against Asian Americans have targeted the elderly.  

While there are 23 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in the U.S., historically "AAPI communities have received less than 0.5% of charitable giving from foundations," TAAF explained

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States.

The foundation is hosting an online launch event Tuesday featuring President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.

TAAF's board is chaired by Li Lu, founder of the hedge fund Himalaya Capital, and features several other prominent business leaders including Sheila Lirio Marcelo, the founder of Care.com, Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo!, and Joe Tsai, who co-founded Alibaba Group. Sonal Shah is the group's founding president. 

TAAF also announced its advisory council is made up of more than 30 community leaders and allies including actor and producer Daniel Dae Kim, basketball player Jeremy Lin, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and CEO of the George W. Bush Center Ken Hersh. 

Credit: AP
Lucy Lee, of Marietta, Ga., holds an American flag while rallying outside of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta during a unity "Stop Asian Hate" rally Saturday afternoon, March 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Ben Gray)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.