The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) this week hosted the 2023 Catalyst for Change Awards to honor leaders who are a force for positive change in the AAPI community. The event raised over $340,000 for the organization and was held at Tribeca 360° in Manhattan.
The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families is the only pan-Asian children and families’ advocacy organization in the United States which brings together community-based organizations as well as youth and community allies to fight for equity for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
CACF honored June Kwan, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and mother of Academy Award-winner Daniel Kwan, who presented her with the award, and Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Attendees included NYC Comptroller Brad Lander, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, NYS Senator Brian Kavanaugh, NYC Councilmembers Shekar Krishnan and Linda Lee, and former NYS Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. NYS Attorney General Letitia James joined via video. The program was hosted by journalist and host/reporter of CUNY-TV’s Emmy-award winning “Asian American Life” Ernabel Demillo, Sesame Street star Alan Muraoka, and Emmy-winning TV journalist Vivian Lee, in addition to auctioneer Paul Florez-Taylor.
CACF Chair Art Chang greeted the guests and thanked all those in attendance for their help in growing the work of CACF. “CACF believes in love and action. Our vision is for all children and families including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in New York to be safe, healthy, and able to reach their full potential in life. Much of our success depends on our elected officials in New York State and New York City who have championed major legislative and budgetary wins for our communities, including passing data disaggregation laws in both New York City and New York State and getting almost $75 million for AAPI-serving community groups over the past three years,” said Chang.
Co-Executive Director Anita Gundanna expressed how proud CACF is to have won $35 million from the City and State this year and to have been entrusted to fund over 120 AAPI-serving community organizations. “We continue to be motivated by the real impact our budget wins are having on communities facing bias and hate. As a unified community, we are a powerful force for action to create an equitable New York,” said Gundanna.
Co-Executive Director Vanessa Leung echoed those sentiments and added “For every organization that is able to access funds to support their communities, we know we are sustaining life-affirming services and programs on the ground,” said Leung. “We hear back from our members that CACF reminded us of the importance of building together, to continue to share our stories, to help one another address immediate needs and create long-lasting change for our communities. We are energized by our coalition-members’ desires to learn to advocate together.”
Past honorees include AAPI leaders in media, education, business, philanthropy, arts and culture, and leadership development. The evening drew over 300 diverse and influential New Yorkers, many who are leaders, innovators and changemakers themselves, who are interested in investing in the AAPI community.