Cathay Bank opened in 1962, “with the mission of providing financial services to the growing but underserved Chinese-American community,” starting in Los Angeles as the first Chinese-American bank in Southern California, and expanding from there with a “rapid expansion. . . fueled by successive waves of immigration, burgeoning trade between America and Asia, and the economic development of the surrounding community.”
By extension, the Cathay Bank Foundation's mission is “to enhance the growth and success of communities in which the Bank serves.” The foundation lists affordable housing, community and economic development, and education as its three largest priorities, with additional consideration given to arts and culture, health and welfare, environmental issues, human services needs, and “programs that benefit the communities at large.”
That is, so long as those “communities at large” are in the states of California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington, which are currently where its banks are located.
Within many of these giving sectors, the Cathay Bank Foundation has shown specific interest in programs targeted to women and girls, with health and housing leading the way.
No matter what issue your program is designed to tackle, be sure that low and middle-income (LMI) populations are your targeted benefactors, a requirement for this foundation. And while the Cathay Bank Foundation does give beyond its connections to Chinese and Asian Americans, there’s no question those racial, ethnic, and immigrant groups are priorities.
Most grants from the Cathay Bank Foundation fall in the $1,000 - $10,000 range. Recent grantees focused on girls and women include:
- $25,000 to UCLA Women's Health Center (Los Angeles, CA)
- $10,000 to the Asian Pacific Women's Center (Los Angeles, CA)
- $10,000 to All Girl Everything (Seattle, WA)
- $7,500 to The Women's Home (Houston, TX)
- $5,000 to CHETNA (Richardson, TX)
- $2,500 to Gum Moon Women's Residence (San Francisco, CA)
- $2,500 to New Women New Yorkers (New York, NY).
The Cathay Bank Foundation has an LOI open to all, inviting anyone who fits the bill to submit a traditional LOI letter on a rolling basis. From there, its invite-only grant application has an August deadline; plan your LOI submission accordingly.