The ASIAN WOMEN GIVING CIRCLE (AWGC) is the first and largest giving circle in the nation led by Asian American women.  We believe culture is an essential part of any strategy for social change. We raise funds to support Asian American women-led projects in NYC that use arts and culture to:

  • Bring about progressive social transformation
  • Raise awareness and catalyze action around critical issues that affect Asian American women, girls and families
  • Highlight and promote women’s central role as leaders, creators, developers and managers of these projects

Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial and ethnic group in New York City (comprising 14% of the population) yet our communities receive less than 1% of philanthropic dollars. Our goals are to:

  • Channel more resources into our local communities
  • Engage more people to invest in creative projects by and for our communities
  • Shine an authentic spotlight on our experiences and stories
  • Promote progressive social change
  • Raise the visibility of Asian American women doing philanthropic work

The AWGC Steering Committee is a diverse group of Asian American women who lead the grantmaking and fund-raising efforts of the giving circle. We are a donor-advised fund at the Ms. Foundation for Women, which distributes our funds solely at our direction. We are also a member of the Asian American/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) National Donor Circle Network.

Chitra Aiyar is Executive Director of Sadie Nash Leadership Project a feminist social justice youth leadership program in NYC and Newark whose vision is to increase the number of young women leading lives in committed pursuit of joy and liberation for themselves and their communities. Prior to joining Sadie Nash, Chitra was Senior Staff Attorney at African Services Committee. Before becoming an attorney, Chitra worked in international development at Grameen Foundation USA, was a Fulbright Scholar in Bangladesh, and a volunteer then board member at Andolan, a Bangladeshi domestic workers organization which has received support from the Giving Circle for two awesome projects. Chitra is thrilled to have the chance through AWGC to support other amazing Asian-American women artists and activists.

A founding member of AWGC, Rini is Executive Director of the Foundation for a Just Society. Previously, she was Senior Program Officer at the Overbrook Foundation, Program Director at the New York Women’s Foundation, and worked at the UNDP and UNICEF. Currently a trustee at the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, she is the past board chair of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, and board member of South Asian Youth Action, and Funders Collaborative on Youth Organizing. She has an MA in Human Rights & Economic Development from Columbia University and a BS in Finance from New York University. In her free time, she loves to take family hikes and play sports with her two boys.

Kaberi is Vice President of Programs at the Brooklyn Community Foundation. She has 15 years of grantmaking experience in education, health, community development, civic affairs, and arts & culture at the local, regional, and national levels. She has a BA from Carleton College in History & Women’s Studies, and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. She’s had significant experience traveling and living abroad, including a year going around the world. Living in Park Slope with her husband and two sons, Kaberi loves photography, the paper arts, foodie fun, and travel adventures.

Lisa a freelance writer, editor and communications strategist based in Brooklyn. She was formerly a Senior Vice President at Fenton Communications, a public interest communications firm,, and before that, a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News. She is the author of a book of poems, Mouth (Kaya Press) and co-author with Lisa Witter of The She Spot: Why Women are the Market for Changing the World and How to Reach Them (Berrett-Koehler). Born in Taiwan, she holds a BA from UC Berkeley and an MFA from the University of Iowa.

Angela joined AWGC in 2012. She works at the JPB Foundation where she manages the Democracy Portfolio, providing grants that support immigrant rights and voting rights. Earlier, she was at NYU Law, Fund for the City of New York, Open Society Foundations, and Lawyers Alliance for New York. With over ten years’ experience in social justice philanthropy and nonprofit technical assistance, she received both an MPA and a BA in Politics from New York University. She hails from Taiwan and proudly flies the immigrant flag. She loves food, especially noodle soups, and, on weekends, can likely be found at a rock climbing gym or the farmers’ market at Grand Army Plaza.

A founding member of AWGC, Aiyoung is passionate about many things. Born in Korea, she grew up in China, Taiwan, and Japan, coming to the US to attend Knox College. Formerly a painter and sculptor, she firmly believes in the power of art to inspire, embrace, and heal. She is deeply committed to ending violence against women, upholding LGBTQ rights, highlighting women’s leadership, and building peace on the Korean Peninsula. A former teacher, editor, publicist, and human resources manager, she is a mentor, coach and consultant to nonprofits, and serves on several boards. Aiyoung and her husband Gene have ten grandkids and five great-grandkids. She loves to cook, dance, and travel.

Amy is a freelance writer of comics and co-founder of Alpha Girl Comics. She was formerly Executive Director of the Asian American Arts Alliance and ran the Management Assistance Program at the United Way of NYC. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS and a BA from MIT and Wellesly College. She enjoys traveling the world and discovering new comfort foods.

Melinda works as a paralegal in the Law Department of Time Inc. She is on the Steering Committee of the Asian American Association of Time Inc and the Asian Affinity Roundtable. She’s on the board of the Girls & Boys Projects (Institute for Labor & Community), volunteers for New York Cares, and served on the Grants Advisory Committee of the New York Women’s Foundation. A graduate of Grinnell College, she likes to work on figuring out her family’s complicated Chinese American history in her free time and relaxes by watching really bad and really good television.

Urvi hales from California where she attended Cal State Fullerton, after which she received a Masters in Public Health from University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Urvi has trained teachers and helped to develop curriculum focused on health education. Currently, she coaches and inspires individuals and families to eat healthier through her business, The Healthy Family Table. She loves living in the West Village with her husband and two children.

Aditi is Principal at Naav Advisors, a consulting firm serving nonprofit, philanthropic and private sector organizations. She received a Master’s Degree in Public Policy & Nonprofit Management from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU. Presently, she serves as board co-chair of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, and advisor to Visit.org. In her spare time, you will find her browsing the shelves of a bookstore, cooking, volunteering, or taking classes.

Co-founder of Faces of Giving LLC, Tuhina has been in the nonprofit sector for 20 years in public health, social justice, and human rights. She was Director of Donor Services at the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and in Development at Robin Hood Foundation. Before that, she was Executive Director of the NY Asian Women’s Center. With an MS and MPH from the University of Michigan, she currently serves on the boards of Lupus Research Institute and Mental Health Association of NYC. She previously served on the boards of the NY Women’s Foundation, Human Services Council of NYC, and the NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Tuhina is an oenophile and loves fine cuisine.

Danielle is Chief Corporate & Securities Counsel at Synchrony Financial and was previously a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. She has a JD from Harvard Law School and an AB in English from Harvard College but she is still working on getting a passing grade from her eight- and five- year-old kids in their Master Class on “How to be a Good Mom.”

Pat is a social change optimist. She is the founder of the NY Asian Women’s Center and served as Senior Vice President at Safe Horizon, Vice President at the Ms. Foundation for Women, and was Program Director at Bolder Giving. Presently, Pat is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at the NY Women’s Foundation, and Co-chair of the NY Chapter of Asian American & Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy. She has a BA in Politics from Princeton University and an MSW from Hunter College of Social Work. When not working, Pat daydreams about ocean waves.

Shinhee is a founding member of AWGC. She is a psychotherapist who divides her time among the New School University Counseling Services, her private practice, and her work as an adjunct professor at the Center for Study of Ethnicity & Race at Columbia University. Her passions focus around Asian American mental health, literature, research, art and social activism. At home, she is an avid cook who channels Ottolenghi recipes.

Courtney Harvey is the Executive Director of Women Moving Millions, a non-profit whose mission is to catalyze unprecedented resources for the advancement of women and girls. She has broad experience in the non-profit sector, in corporate philanthropy, program development, humanitarian aid, fundraising, communications, and operations. The common thread in her work is her commitment to resourcing the movement for gender equity with greater financial and intellectual capital. She joined Women Moving Millions in 2013 as the Director of Operations. Prior to that she worked at the Thomson Reuters Foundation where she helped establish their NY office, build their women’s rights reporting site, and launch their conference on women’s rights and trafficking issues in partnership with the New York Times International. Courtney has an MSc in Gender Development and Globalisation from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Taryn is the Executive Director of Unbound Philanthropy. Previously, she managed the Migrant & Refugee Rights portfolio at the Ford Foundation and served as Deputy Director of the Human Rights unit. She serves on the board of the International Refugee Assistance Project and the Advisory Board of the International Migration Initiative of the Open Society Foundations. Taryn is an avid matcha tea drinker and enjoys spending time with her husband and son.

Jennifer is Director of Philanthropy & Donor Relations at the Westchester Community Foundation. Previously, she specialized in nonprofit law and worked in corporate, litigation, and academia. She has been a life-long supporter of the arts and was a flamenco dancer who spent substantial time in Spain learning the art form. She has a BA in Political Theory & Cultural Anthropology from Cornell University, and a JD and LLM in International & Comparative Law from Duke Law School. She loves hanging out with her family and thinking about how philanthropy can be used to change the world.

Bomsinae is Executive Director of the Korean American Family Service Center serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and, earlier, served on its board. Previously, she was Executive Director of the Korean American Community Foundation where she had also served first on the board. She earned a BS in Journalism from Yonsei University and a Master’s Degree in Translation from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, both in Seoul, Korea, and subsequently received a MA in International Affairs from Columbia University. She loves to do good and have fun at the same time.

Julie is the Founder & CEO of TechFinance, a consulting firm that provides strategic and financial services to VC-backed technology companies. She has a BA in Economics from Washington University and an MBA in Finance from Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. She is passionate about improving the lives of women and children and has been involved with UN Women, NY Asian Women’s Center, and the Coalition for Asian American Children & Families, among others. She is an avid skier and golfer, and loves to travel to exotic places. She has two kids in college.

Pat is Chief Operating Officer at The Century Foundation, which undertakes time and critical analyses of social inequality and security issues. Earlier, she was interim Executive Director at various nonprofits undergoing leadership changes. Previously, she was Managing Director at National Employment Law Project, and Vice President for Finance & Administration at the F.B. Heron Foundation. She has also held executive positions in the corporate/entrepreneurial sectors. She is currently on the board of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of NY and is a member of the US-Japan Council. Pat is an avid sailor, quilter, and adoring baachan (grandmother).

Hali was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in Kansas City. She graduated from Princeton University, studied Buddhism at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, and received a Masters in Social Work from NYU. Hali has worked in many capacities, often combining a love of learning, the arts, and social change. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Peter, has three teenage children, two cats, and a big dog. She is thankful for her loving and supportive family and for the community of progressive and FUN women—and men—she has found in NYC. In her free time, she loves to travel, play tennis, read, and raises honey bees that make delicious honey which she shares with her AWGC friends.

Michelle came to US as a child and lived in the Bronx for the first 10 years, went to High School of Art & Design and then Parsons School of Design. She has lived in New York since then, except 9 years in DC. She considers herself a New Yorker, as she certainly has the walking speed and temperament of one. Michelle worked as a womenswear designer after graduation. She picked up jewelry design because she loves playing with colors, shape and texture and she has been making jewelry for the past 14 years. Michelle is a boardmember of KAFSC, Korean American Family Service Center, which works with domestic violence victims in Flushing Queens, an issue very close to her heart. Michelle is a married empty nester, with one son in college and one dog still at home. She loves watching scary and science fiction thrillers. Her drink of choice is bourbon and she enjoys silence.

Victoria was born in San Antonio, Texas shortly after her parents moved from New York City. She is the youngest of nine children and, along with five of her siblings, a first generation native born American. Victoria attended the University of Texas in Austin and graduated with a B.F.A. She immediately moved to New York City and got a job in Advertising as an Art Director at BBDO. She worked in Advertising for 15 years making print ads and commercials for branded products that everybody uses everyday. Now, with both of their children working in NYC, Victoria and her husband, Jonathan, are really enjoying being empty nesters. They are enthusiastic supporters and participants in any events involving their favorite things: Art, Music and Food.

A member of the “386 Generation,” Young grew up in Korea with loving parents and four sisters, and came to the US in 1992. In Korea, she competed in fencing at the national level and earned a brown belt in Kenpo. Her family and friends dissuaded her from pursuing her dream to become a piano bar singer. When not glued to her work, she enjoys dancing, singing, walking in the park, visiting museums, and cooking (especially someone else’s). She currently lives in Manhattan with her business/life partner, Erik, and her filmmaker son who calls her his “rock & best-est friend.” She is a long-time advocate of humanitarian and environmental causes.

Susie is a super-cool native New Yorker working at the ASPCA as Administrator of Grants Technology and Training. Previously, she worked for ALIGN, change.org, Center for Working Families, Citi Foundation, Tides Foundation, International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), NYC Councilmember Eva Moskowitz, and Habitat for Humanity. She has over ten years’ experience in grantmaking and operations, and programs in HIV/AIDS, education and housing, and has a BA in Political Science from Wellesley College. In her spare time, she enjoys animals, unconventional art, science fiction, mac & cheese pancakes, drinking Scotch, running, and volunteering for good causes.

Ellen is Director of Women’s Health at the Ms. Foundation for Women where she oversees grantmaking and programs to support reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations. She previously worked as Program Officer at Open Society Foundations’ Public Health Program on international public health and human rights issues. She is a second-generation immigrant and the daughter of Taiwanese floral entrepreneurs. Ellen has lived in China, Taiwan, and Italy, and has traveled extensively in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Southern Africa. She enjoys making jewelry and going to the zoo with her toddler son on weekends.

Amita Nagaraja serves as a consultant and coach to clients in the nonprofit, public and private sectors, advising in a number of areas including strategy, program design and organizational efficiency. Prior to starting her consulting practice, Amita spent much of her career working in Corporate Responsibility, managing strategic giving portfolios and global employee programs for AXA Financial, S&P Global and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Earlier in her career, Amita worked for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection and led a workforce readiness program at a small nonprofit n Jersey City. Amita has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from CUNY Baruch College and a BA from Tufts University. She lives in Jackson Heights, New York with her husband and two children.

After a long break from practicing law, BJ briefly joined the Compliance Division of Goldman Sachs & Co. but recently left to give more attention to Chaos Music Theory, a music production company she co-founded and leads. She worked at the American Civil Liberties Union and helped asylum seekers and domestic violence victims. She has raised three daughters and served on the boards of the NY Asian Women’s Center and the Korean American League for Civic Action. She has a BS from MIT, a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard, and her M.Phil and JD are from NYU. In her spare time, BJ enjoys Korean TV dramas, reading, and spending time with her family.

Jackie is a foodie and an avid eater. She loves exploring NYC neighborhoods in search of the next restaurant or café. She studied at Columbia College and received her JD from Northwestern Law. She is an awesome real estate broker who can help you find your ideal home . . . if you’re not too picky! She lives at the southern end of Manhattan with her family.

Shalini is Executive Director at Sakhi for South Asian women, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending domestic violence in NYC’s South Asian community. Previously, she served as Co-Executive Director at Tapestri in Atlanta. She has a BA in Child Development from Tufts University and a JD from Emory University School of Law. During her time off, she enjoys hanging out with her family, looking for the best vegan meal, or writing stories based on the life of her grandfather—the first person to inspired her to do good without expecting anything in return.

Born and bred in Manhattan, Raquel works in the travel industry on development, strategic positioning, and negotiations of products in the tour market for Asia, Africa, and the US. She holds an MA in Cultural Policy from Columbia University and a BA from Fordham University. Alongside travel, Raquel’s other loves include theater, dance, and cupcakes.

Vivian is Vice President, Program, at the William T. Grant Foundation, leading its grantmaking and initiatives that connect research, policy, and practice to improve child and youth outcomes. Deeply committed to mentoring young researchers and strengthening the career pipeline for scholars of color, her leadership of the Foundation’s Scholars Program extended its racial diversity. She was Assistant Professor in Psychology and Asian American Studies at CSUN, and has a Ph.D. from NYU and a BA from UCLA. She is a fan of Star Trek (new, old, new versions of old) and reports never having enough time at the beach, eating, drinking wine, and being with friends!

A founding member of AWGC, Angie has over 18 years’ experience in women’s rights and social justice. She is Chief of Staff for Abigail E. Disney and her media and philanthropic initiatives, which include a documentary film production company Fork Films, a grantmaking entity The Daphne Foundation, and a nonprofit called Peace Is Loud. She has held senior positions a The NY Women’s Foundation, The September 11th Fund, and Safe Horizon, and serves on the board of the Coalition for Asian American Children & Families. A graduate of the University of California, she lives in Brooklyn and loves to spend most of her free time with her husband and two sons.

One of the earliest members of AWGC, Mannar is an Art Director of advertising & promotions at Penguin Random House. She has a BFA from the School of Visual Arts and has designed numerous logos, invitations, and web graphics on a pro bono basis for the many good causes and organizations she supports, including AWGC. She has volunteered for literacy programs such as Reading Empowers and Read Ahead; as well as other NYC non-profit organizations. A life-long New Yorker, she loves fried food, hiking our national parks, while away hours in bookstores, binge-watching TV, and doing all those things with family and friends.

For over 15 years, Joyce represented the UN Development Programme in Jamaica, Malaysia, and Western Samoa. Previously, she was Executive Director of the Ms. Foundation for Women and Program Officer at the Otto Bremer Foundation in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was a founding board member of Women, Foundations & Corporate Philanthropy, NY Grantmakers Association, and President of the Museum of the Chinese in America. A long-time organizer for community social services, urban development, and the peace and civil rights movements, Joyce is on the board of the YWCA Brooklyn and, now with their daughter off to college, lives in Brooklyn with her husband Ed and their big dog.

We thank these women for being part of AWGC’s brave very beginnings:
Ruchika Bajaj, Helena Choy, Trista Huang, Laura Hong, Pat Lian, Lena Lim, Christine Nakaoka, Lisa Philp, Angelie Singla, Kathy Heejung Song, Sarah BJ Sung, Tani Takagi, Agnes Hsu Tang, Jonna Tiu and Ruby Takanishi.