Advancing Justice – AAJC and Kaiser Permanente Collaborate to Support Community-Based Groups, Providing $3.6 Million in Grants

33 groups funded to counter hate crimes, hate incidents, and discrimination against Asian Americans
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins (202) 296-2300, ext. 0144

Washington, D.C. – Today, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC (Advancing Justice – AAJC), a national nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., that advocates for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and underserved allied communities, and Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated, nonprofit health system, announced that they are collaborating to distribute $3.6 million to 33 community-based organizations via grants over two years to combat the surge in violence against Asian Americans and to support the rights, health, and wellness of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.

Through the Stop Anti-Asian Hate and Violence Initiative, Advancing Justice – AAJC and Kaiser Permanente developed a framework for funding the work of AAPI-serving community-based organizations across three strategies to address anti-Asian hate and violence, encompassing 1) Community Education, Mobilization, and Coalition Building; 2) Direct Services, Mental Health, and Organizational Sustainability; and 3) Advocacy and Organizational Leadership.

“Advancing Justice – AAJC is proud to support local AAPI-serving community-based organizations on the frontlines of the rise in anti-Asian hate during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is essential to have this funding go into the local communities, with trusted organizations that are deeply rooted in their communities with the expertise to best address anti-Asian hate and meet their communities’ needs,” said John C. Yang, Advancing Justice – AAJC’s president and executive director. “Many Asian American organizations recognize the troubling escalation of hate we see today during the pandemic as a continuation of the long history of anti-Asian discrimination that our communities have faced.”

Yang continued, “Community-based organizations serving our beleaguered AAPI communities have faced the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and hate, while facing resource challenges in meeting the striking rise in community needs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank Kaiser Permanente for funding this grant initiative and their commitment to our AAPI communities.”

The grant, to be distributed through Kaiser Permanente's fund at the East Bay Community Foundation,  with guidance provided by Advancing Justice-AAJC, will support the work of AAPI community-serving organizations in meeting community needs through expansion of services, including some of the following:

  • Victim’s advocacy, legal services, mental health services, and wrap-around support services for those who have been impacted by anti-Asian hate.
  • Culturally responsive therapy to meet community mental health needs arising from and exacerbated by the pandemic and anti-Asian racism, as well as support for staff that are working with community members impacted by anti-Asian hate.
  • Bystander intervention trainings to teach Asian Americans and allies tactics to safely interrupt and stop anti-Asian harassment, tailored to local communities and offered in different languages.
  • Anti-hate/anti-racism campaigns and BIPOC solidarity meetings and public events so that community members can come together and work on shared issues collectively.
  • Building capacity of organizations and community members to engage with local agencies and government services to ensure they are responsive to the needs of the community, including the need for linguistically accessible and culturally appropriate services.
  • Increasing organizational capacity to better support underserved communities, such as Micronesians, Marshallese, and Palauans in Hawaii.
  • Community Safety Trainings in multiple Asian languages for elders, business owners, youth, and their families.
  • Partnering with and learning from LGBTQ+ and gender-based anti-violence groups on effective strategies in anti-violence work; organizing healing and support spaces to strengthen community wellness and resilience.
  • In-language community outreach and education, including narrative change work through ethnic media, to reshape public dialogue about violence and work to reimagine community safety and advance restorative justice.
  • Media arts literacy education to students from elementary school to college, including building an Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander media arts curriculum aligned with ethnic studies in public schools. 

“This past year’s disturbing increase in hostility, discrimination, and violence towards Asian Americans spurred us to further hone our strategy for community support,” said Stephanie Ledesma, interim senior vice president of community health at Kaiser Permanente. “This commitment is intended to help prevent further racist acts, provide interventions when they occur, and promote healing in communities that have been discriminated against.”

Organizations and projects funded by the collaboration were identified by local community health teams from Kaiser Permanente as well as members of the Kaiser Permanente Asian Pacific Islander Association (KPAPIA), an internal business resource group dedicated to workforce engagement, improvement of inclusive culture, identification and advancement of diverse leadership, and community volunteerism. Funding provided under the Stop Anti-Asian Hate and Violence Initiative will advance the three strategies developed jointly with Advancing Justice – AAJC. 

The grantees come from the eight regions where Kaiser Permanente  has its presence, including California, where the first spate of 2021 attacks came to national attention. For a complete list of grantees, visit this link.