Cathay Bank Foundation: Grants for Mental Health

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: Health is a stated focus for this foundation, and mental health is one specific call-out. Within Cathay Bank Foundation’s geographic interest areas (based on where its banks are), the foundation emphasizes 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.


The Cathay Bank Foundation is the nonprofit affiliate of Cathay Bank. The history and organizing principle of this bank also illuminates its nonprofit giving.

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.

While the Cathay Bank Foundation lists health as a secondary interest, its recent giving shows health receiving treated as a high priority, with direct mental health services one of the specific program areas the foundation seeks to support.

All programs supported by the Cathay Bank Foundation, including those in the realm of mental health services, should focus on at-risk and low/middle income (LMI) populations. And while the foundation does give beyond its connectivities to China and the rest of Asia, there’s no question those racial ethnic, and immigrant groups are priorities for the foundation.

Most grants fall in the $1,000 - $10,000 range, though a recent grant to Pacific Clinics (Arcadia, CA) was made for $23,000.

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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