By Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian APA Program
On Monday, April 2, our Development Specialist, Sameen Piracha, and I attended the first National Philanthropic Briefing by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) to draw attention to Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian communities (AAPINH), the fastest growing racial group in the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, White House Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu, and Chief of Staff to the First Lady Tina Tchen attended the briefing to express their support to over 200 participants from more than 50 foundations. Participants convened around key issues important to AAPINH communities.
As Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program (APAP) and member of the WHIAAPI Inter-Agency Working Group, I, along with colleagues from the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), facilitated the focus group on culture and the arts. Our task was to explore how public-private partnerships could improve the life and opportunity of AAPINH communities through art and culture. While the Smithsonian Institution is supported by Congress, the resources that support its exhibitions and programs, especially the exhibitions and programs of APAP, come from individuals, corporations, and grants. Our capacity to tell America’s whole story relies on the generosity of our supporters; it depends on you. The Ford Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and the W.W. Kellogg Foundation’s commitment of $1 million to seed public-private partnerships was the greatest success that emerged from this briefing. We remain excited about the possibilities of this historic meeting.