Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | The Center for Pacific Asian Family needs your vote
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The Center for Pacific Asian Family needs your vote

Many of my fellow Asian American bloggers have mentioned this already, but time’s running out so I thought I better get a word in too. The Center for the Pacific Asian Family, a Los Angeles-based provider of support and services for women who are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, is trying to get enough votes on Facebook to receive $1 million from the Chase Community Giving campaign. To help out CPAF, an all-star group of Asian American personalities including artists, performers, musicians and yes, bloggers in the LA area took the time to be part of the video above.

Here’s how it works: You click to the “Vote CPAF” page on Facebook (you’ll have to approve the Chase Community Giving app) and just vote for CPAF by THIS FRIDAY to try and boost their tally to the top of the list. You can see the leaderboard of all the non-profits across the country vying for this funding (the Chase Trust is giving away a total of $5 million, with $1m going to the top organization and the rest being spread out in smaller amounts).

So vote today, right now.

Having said all that, here’s why this Chase Trust program bugs me: It reduces charitable giving to a popularity contest, and forces hundreds (perhaps thousands) of non-profits to scramble and try to get votes from people who already support them, and people who who’ve never heard of them. I’m sure all the groups on the leaderboard are worthy causes. And I’m sure CPAF is deserving of the $1, or any smaller amount.

But I worry that because CPAF is an AAPI organization, it already has a smaller base of supporters than, say, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which is right up there on the list (do they really need more money?). Fuindraising for non-profits is a perilous, scary process. It’s one thing to ask for support fomr individuals. But when you’re asking for funding from a corporation or a foundation or other entity like the Chase Trust, you usually apply, hope you wrote a good grant proposal, and put your fate in the hands of some unseen board to approve or disapprove your request.

So maybe this process is more democratic — letting citizens decide who should get the bucks. But it still feels like a cop-out on the part of Chase, and the results will be a popularity contest. Non-profits who have the highest profiles and largest supporter base already are the ones who will most easily get lots and lots of votes. The big dogs get bigger. For me, voting for one non-profit above another is a little bit like Sophie’s choice.

For a couple of months, I’ve been contacted about voting and getting the word out for a bunch of AAPI organizations, and frankly, I feel bad having to choose among my many community affiliations, much less voting for organizations I don’t know but whose mission I believe in. Everyone gets five votes to uswe by Friday, but that still leaves out a lot of fine organizations in my book.

BUT: In the current round of voting, CPAF is #16 on the leaderboard, so they may have a good chance of getting some funding, though. So vote for them. I did. You should too.

Let’s get one Asian American org on the funding map!