Monterey Park, CA – CAUSE held the second Leadership Institute session of 2019 at the SoCalGas Learning Center in Monterey Park.
The CAUSE Leadership Institute (CLI) is a community leadership and advocacy training certificate program for high-potential professionals with seasoned leadership experience and a passion for serving the needs of the APA community in California. Participants complete the program armed with the skills and connections vital to advocate for the APA community. Graduates of this program have gone on to change the civic landscape in the region through elected office and leadership roles in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
Our program is highly selective and each member of our cohort is selected based on their leadership abilities, public service, and passion for community involvement. All of our program fellows are identified and nominated by leading elected officials, select nonprofit partner organizations, or a CAUSE Board Member.
Read more about this year’s Leadership Institute cohort here.
The day started off with a discussion on education policy with Andrea Yamasaki, Board Member of the Orange Unified School District, and Cristina de Jesus, President & CEO of Green Dot Public Schools.
Andrea spoke on the difficulties of ensuring a quality education for our communities and the importance of community support and engagement when it comes to education policy. She emphasized, “Education is not optional, it’s a right.”
Cristina conversation on public and charter schools, and the importance of discussing education in terms of student needs. “Instead of talking about who serves, it should be about who serves best,” she stated, “Not enough people are talking about education the right way...We all need to engage.”
Afterwards, the fellows had the opportunity to hear from Ralph Barnes, General Manager of the Beverly Center and CAUSE Boardmember, for a leadership feature in the corporate sector. He highlighted his three keys to success, saying that an individual has “got to have courage, confidence, and a voice...and you have to speak up.” Ralph shared his personal story and how it was the people he knew that helped and guided him to where is he is today. Even for his current work for the Beverly Center’s massive remodeling project, he emphasized, “It was the relationships that made all the difference.”
The fellows were then given an overview of APA nonprofits and the current state of the AAPI non-profit sector. The presentation featured Chun-Yen Chen and Sylvia Kim, Executive Director and Chief Innovation Officer of Asian Pacific Community Fund (APCF), respectively.
Chun-Yen Chen introduced APCF, the only community-based fund of its kind providing philanthropists a collaborative approach to raise funds for the API community in Los Angeles County. She shared with the fellows on how building a healthy community is more than giving more money, and that the nonprofit sector is currently innovating new ways to engage the community.
Sylvia Kim expressed the many difficulties that come with serving a group as diverse and complex as Asian Americans. The demographic complexity of the APA community means that a thorough cultural competency is crucial to ensuring that the diverse needs of the community are met, and makes the community as a whole more expensive to serve. Sylvia demonstrated the importance of having a concrete understanding of the APA community’s needs, stating “Advocacy has to be backed up by data.”
The following session featured Karthick Ramakrishnan, Director at the Center for Social Innovation at University of California Riverside and his presentation on “Uplifting Asian Americans: Innovating and Building Power Through Philanthropy”. Karthick shared his research through AAPI Data and stressed the importance of data disaggregation to better understand the intricacies of community needs and for stronger credibility.
Lastly, the cohort participated in a “Making the Ask” fundraising workshop led by Deborah Ching, Co-Chairman of the Cathay Bank Foundation. She outlined the core principles of fundraising, and underscored the necessity to impassion people with one’s mission to move them and gain their support. She emphasized, “We fundraise to raise donors...to raise relationships because we cannot do it ourselves.”
After the main presentation, the fellows were invited to apply what they learned by giving fundraising pitches to each other.