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.
Housing is a primary focus area. Support here flows through the Cathay Bank Foundation's commitment to “Community & Economic Development,” with the key charge to "preserve, rehabilitate and construct affordable housing in low- and moderate-income (LMI) areas," as well as to support "organizations that provide home-buyer counseling to families in the LMI communities."
As is clear from its articulation of LMI populations above, the foundation seeks to support programs that focus on communities in economic need. 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 of the Cathay Bank Foundation's grants fall in the $1,000 - $10,000 range. Recent housing grantees include:
- $25,000 to the Housing Partnership Development Corporation (New York, NY)
- $15,000 to Mutual Housing California (Sacramento, CA)
- $10,000 to the Midnight Mission (Los Angeles, CA)
- $10,000 to Neighborhood Housing Services Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
- $10,000 to New Destiny Housing Corporation (New York, NY)
- $8,000 to Congregations for the Homeless (Bellevue, WA)
- $5,000 to Kirkland Interfaith Transitional Housing (Kirkland, WA)
- $3,000 to CASA of Los Angeles (Monterey Park, CA)
- $1,000 to Ascencia (Glendale, CA).
The Cathay Bank 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, the invite-only grant application has an August deadline; plan your LOI submission accordingly.