Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment

Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan, community-based organization founded in 1993 with a mission to advance the political and civic empowerment of the Asian American and  Pacific Islander (AAPI) community through nonpartisan voter outreach, training, and education as well as leadership development. CAUSE’s network includes committed professionals, business, community, and political leaders.

Here's the Issue:

The diverse needs of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities were brought to light during the Covid-19 pandemic. Informing hard-to-reach communities in multiple languages often fell to under-resourced nonprofit organizations to translate and help communities navigate complex application processes in a culturally relevant way. Amidst challenges directly related to Covid-19, AAPIs were also the target of anti-Asian hate incidents creating an increased fear across the United States.  With so much change and uncertainty, AAPI students and families began falling through the cracks as inequities revealed themselves nationwide, and hard-to-reach communities missed out on relief opportunities because of a lack of information.

Our Solution:

Moving forward, how do we ensure that AAPI communities are connected to the resources that are available to them? Who are the leaders who can relay that information? What are the ways that AAPI communities’ needs can be met through policy and civic engagement?

CAUSE has partnered with Teach For America AAPI Alliances to create a program and framework that empowers AAPI educators to assume leadership positions through civic engagement and advocacy. Through AAPI K-12 teachers, this project will:

  • Connect AAPI students and families with direct services that provide language access and are culturally sensitive
  • Inform communities about how legislation impacts education and how they can shape policy through voting and civic engagement
  • Provide opportunities to collaboratively build solutions that meet the diverse needs of AAPI communities.

By collaborating with AAPI teachers, hard-to-reach AAPI students and families will connect to existing resources and advocate for their needs through civic engagement.

We're the right people to do the work because:

CAUSE has partnered with Teach for America – Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Alliances to mobilize a connected, thriving, culturally competent, civically engaged, and community-responsive AAPI leadership coalition working to advocate and bridge students, school systems, and communities. CAUSE will use its knowledge and resources on civic engagement and advocacy alongside TFA’s national pipeline of educators to empower AAPI teachers with resources for children and families.

Leaders of this collaboration include CAUSE Executive Director, Nancy Yap, who has over 20 years of experience facilitating leadership development training for the AAPI community and has partnered with TFA for over 7 years, and Soukprida Phetmisy, National Senior Managing Director of TFA AAPI Alliances, who has over a decade of experience building the Diversity Equity and Inclusion capacity of educators, organizers, and youth leaders within education as well as developed strategies for teacher retention.

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