OVERVIEW: The Cathay Bank Foundation seeks to “create opportunities” for the geographic areas its banks serve, with those opportunities touching upon many different sectors of need and community development.
IP TAKE: While not its foremost region of focus, New York City makes the geographic cut for this foundation, especially for programming that 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.
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.
As is clear from that list of states, New York gains the Cathay Bank Foundation's attention, primarily in New York City. Grantees span all of the foundation's focus areas, with housing, education/youth development, and arts and culture leading the way.
No matter your program area, be sure you're focusing on at-risk and low/middle income (LMI) populations, the foundation's target. And while the 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 fall in the $1,000 - $10,000 range, with past New York City grantees including:
- $25,000 to the Housing Partnership Development Corporation (New York, NY)
- $10,000 toHenry Street Settlment (New York, NY)
- $10,000 to the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (New York, NY)
- $10,000 to the Child Center of NY (Woodside, NY)
- $10,000 to New Destiny Housing Corporation (New York, NY)
- $10,000 to the Flushing Council on Arts and Culture (Flushing, NY)
- $10,000 to the Museum of Chinese in America (New York, NY)
- $2,500 to New Women New Yorkers (New York, NY).
The 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.
- Peter Wu, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer
- Deborah F. Ching, Co-Chairman of the Board