Cathay Bank Foundation: Grants for the Southwest

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 primary region of focus, the Southwest makes the geographic cut for this foundation because of its connections to Texas, especially where programming there coincides with the foundation's emphasis 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.


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.

As is clear from that list of states, it's Texas that qualifies the Cathay Bank Foundation's southwest attention, primarily the Houston and Dallas areas. Texas grantees span all of the foundation's focus areas, with community centers and multi-service organizations 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 populations. 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 recent Texas grantees including:

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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