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: Los Angeles (and its environs) is the epicenter of giving for this foundation, especially where programming there coincides with the foundation's emphasis on Asian American and Asian immigrant populations. This funder also prefers 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.
Though the bank has expanded its footprint, the city of Los Angeles, as well as its environs extending east to the Inland Empire and south to Orange County, remain unquestionably the primary beneficiary of its foundation. Los Angeles area grantees span all of the foundation's focus areas, with workforce/business development and education/youth development leading the way.
No matter your program area, be sure you're focusing on at-risk and low/middle income (LMI) populations, which is the foundation's target. And while the foundation does give beyond Chinese and Asian groups, there’s no question those racial, ethnic, and immigrant groups are priorities.
Most grants fall in the $1,000 - $10,000 range. Los Angeles programs are beneficiaries of greater amounts. Past Los Angeles area grantees include:
- $80,000 to Junior Achievement Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
- $30,000 to Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program (Los Angeles, CA)
- $30,0000 to Jewish Free Loan Association (Los Angeles, CA)
- $20,000 to Latino Business Chamber of Greater LA (Los Angeles, CA)
- $15,000 to Koreatown Youth & Community Center (Los Angeles, CA)
- $13,000 to International Institute of Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
- $13,000 to Irvine Chinese School (Irvine, CA)
- $10,000 to Neighborhood Housing Services Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
- $10,000 to Garden of Hope (Sylmar, CA)
- $10,000 to Boys & Girls Club of West San Gabriel Valley (Monterey Park, CA)
- $10,000 to California Council on Economic Education (Los Angeles, CA)
- $5,000 to CHIRLA (Los Angeles, CA)
- $5,000 to C5 Youth Foundation of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA).
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.
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