Cathay Bank Foundation: Grants for Mental Health

OVERVIEW: The Cathay Bank Foundation supports many different sectors of need and community development in the geographic areas its banks serve.

IP TAKE: This funder prioritizes Health, which includes specific funding for mental health. Within Cathay Bank Foundation’s geographic interest areas (based on where its banks are), the foundation supports established organizations that can show several previous years of programmatic, organizational and financial successes.

PROFILE: Founded in 2002, the Cathay Bank Foundation is the nonprofit affiliate of Cathay Bank. It seeks to “enhance the growth and success of communities in which the bank serves” and to “create opportunities in areas of affordable housing, community and economic development, and education.” The foundation lists arts and culture, health and welfare, environmental issues, human services needs, and “programs that benefit the communities at large” as second tier priorities.

The history and organizing principle of this bank illuminates its nonprofit grantmaking. 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.”           

Cathay supports communities 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 past grantmaking shows that health is considered 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 has moved beyond its connectivities to China and the rest of Asia, those racial, ethnic, and immigrant groups remain priorities for the foundation.

Most grants fall in the $1,000 - $10,000 range, though a past 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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