Cathay Bank Foundation: Grants for the Bay Area and Los Angeles

OVERVIEW: The Cathay Bank Foundation supports community and economic development, education, civic and community, health and welfare in the Bay Area and beyond.

FOCUS AREAS: Community and economic development, education, civic and community, health and welfare

IP TAKE: The Bay Area is a primary geographic hotspot for this foundation across all of its giving areas, which coincides with the foundation's emphasis on Asian American and Asian immigrant populations. This funder also focuses on fairly established organizations that can show several previous years of programmatic, organizational and financial successes.

PROFILE: Established in 2002, the Cathay Bank Foundation is the nonprofit affiliate of Cathay Bank. The history and organizing principle of this bank illuminates its nonprofit giving. Cathay Bank opened in 1962, with the mission of providing financial services to the growing but underserved Chinese-American community. It launched in Los Angeles as the first Chinese-American bank in Southern California and expanded from there. By extension, the Cathay Bank Foundation aims to “enhance the growth and success of communities in which the Bank serves.” Foundation interests are community and economic development, education, civic and community, and health and welfare.

Community and economic grants focus on affordable housing, seniors, people with disabilities, job skills, and job creation. Education grants focus on preparing low-income and middle-income youth prepare for higher education. Civic and community grants focus on neighborhood development and voter registration, while health grants address homelessness and prevention efforts. Past support in the Bay Area includes grants to Asian Health Services in Oakland, Project Vision in Berkeley, and Self Help for the Elderly in San Francisco.

Most grants fall in the $1,000 to $10,000 range. Review the funder’s recent tax records to learn more about its local giving. The funder supports organizations in California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington, which are where its banks are located. Within California, the Bay Area receives a lot of giving attention, second only to the bank's original Los Angeles home.

The foundation has a rolling letter of inquiry process that is open to eligible organizations throughout the year. It invites selected nonprofits to submit full applications upon review. Grantseekers should sent a completed application form and supporting documents to the foundation’s El Monte, California address. Direct general questions to the foundation staff at


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