Celebrate 10 Years of Arts and Activism with the Asian Women Giving Circle


Contact: Hali Lee

10-Year Birthday Party for Asian Women Giving Circle

Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 6:00pm to 8:30pm
Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, NYC

New York City, NY – The Asian Women Giving Circle, the first and one of the largest Asian American grassroots philanthropy groups in the country and the only one led by all women, turns ten this year and is throwing a party to celebrate.

The event, which is open to the public, will feature special performances, including award-winning artist and performer Kelly Tsai, a silent auction, wine, food, DJ, and tarot readings. Guests will also have a change to meet and mingle with the Giving Circle’s 2015 grantees. Proceeds from the event will go to group’s 2016 grantmaking pot.

Founded in New York City in 2005 by Hali Lee with 20 other women, the Giving Circle was modeled after the traditional Korean geh, where friends pool and share money to support each others’ ventures. Lee added a philanthropic twist to this crowdsourcing practice and the Asian Women Giving Circle was born. The group, a fiscally sponsored project of the Ms. Foundation for Women, has made more than $700,000 in grants to projects that contribute to cultural and political change, led by Asian American women artists and community-based nonprofits in New York City.
“Asian Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic group in New York City, yet our communities receive only a tiny fraction of philanthropic funding,” Lee said. “Like the artists and nonprofits we fund that are breaking new ground with their work, we realized to make change, we had to be the change ourselves as donors.”

The Asian Women Giving Circle’s 2015 grants went to: AALDEF, for a print and web-based magazine by and about undocumented Asian women in NYC; Kayhan Irani’s Muslim Women’s Story Lab, which will use oral history and improv theater to deepen Muslim women’s engagement around Islamophobia and community leadership; Kundiman, for a multimedia project in partnership with Adhikaar that will showcase work by Nepalese immigrant women at local nail salons, temples, and restaurants; Joyce Yu-Jean Lee, for an art installation/Internet cafe in Manhattan’s Chinatown that will explore censorship and gender issues in China.

Grants also went to Marisa Marquez, for Ms. Oriental, a play about the high suicide rate among Asian American women; Adele Pham, for an organizing and education effort among nail salons workers, using her documentary film Nailed It, as a centerpiece; South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!)’s workshops with young South Asian women to support peer education on body image, relationships, gender discrimination and domestic violence; Jennifer Betit Yen, for The Opposite of a Fairy Tale, a documentary film that tackles elder abuse in the Asian American community.