Emerging Philanthropists

The inaugural cohort of Emerging Philanthropists are a group of aspiring AAPI philanthropists and nonprofit leaders who are looking to change the narrative of AAPI giving. As official partners of the Gold Futures Challenge, the Emerging Philanthropists were selected based on their outstanding dedication to the AAPI community and commitment to democratizing philanthropy. As part of the cohort, participants will gain:

  • Training in community outreach and engagement
  • Knowledge on next-generation philanthropic practices
  • The opportunity to network with other AAPI philanthropic leaders and nonprofit organizers
  • Access to free workshops covering topics such as participatory philanthropy, grant-writing, and democratizing philanthropy

Sang Hoang


I got my B.S. in Management and Business Economics from UC Merced. I currently work as an Associate Accountant for a nonprofit in San Francisco focused on impact lending & donor-advised funds. My nonprofit project, Money Talk, aims to accelerate equitable access to financial literacy education to all young people.

Lauren Garces

Event Producer

Lauren Balcita Garces is a city-wide event producer and artist currently based in San Diego, California focusing on diverse community empowerment and sustainable, inclusive economic development.

Currently, she directs the marketing, outreach, and events with the Asian Business Association San Diego representing over 30,000 Asian Pacific Islander owned businesses. Her work is bridged as the Special Events Director of the Convoy District, one of Southern California’s largest pan-Asian economic hubs.

A leader and advocate in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, she serves as President of the National Association of Asian American Professionals – San Diego and as the Co-Chair for the San Diego Asian Pacific Islander (API) Coalition.

Her event production passion and engagements are dedicated to providing platforms and connections for diverse communities and cultures to be highlighted, bridged, and empowered. A few of the signature projects she has worked on include: Filipino Sun Festival, Kinda Kamayan, Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair, Asian Cultural Festival, San Diego Night Market, San Diego Ramen Festival, Asian Pacific Islander Festival Day at the San Diego County Fair, San Diego Padres Filipino Heritage Night, Seaworld Lunar New Year, Convoy Nights, and Balboa Park December Nights.

Recently, she was the Curator of Global Shapers in San Diego, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, leading highly accomplished young professional to launch community projects that promote education, equality, and civic participation.

Jessica Nguyen (she/her) is a 2nd generation Vietnamese American who is passionate about aligning her professional experience in digital media and philanthropy with her interests in social justice, movement building, and community change.

Jessica currently works as the Racial Equity in Journalism (REJ) Fund Program Associate at Borealis Philanthropy, where she helps support their mission in strengthening the capacity and sustainability of BIPOC-led organizations that provide relevant, accurate information and increase civic engagement in the communities they serve.

Prior to her role in philanthropy, she was the founder and host of Project Voice, a podcast dedicated to increasing visibility on issues of the Asian diaspora. In 2020, she led a successful crowdfunding campaign for Project Voice’s first-ever podcast scholarship program for aspiring digital storytellers and in 2021, launched the Project Voice Fund, a giving circle aimed at supporting communities of color during COVID-19 times. She is a 2022 Asian American Women’s Political Initiative Civic Impact Fellow and serves on the steering committee of the Emerging Professionals in Philanthropy (EPIP) – Boston Chapter.

Jessica graduated from Smith College with a BS in Economics.

NAOMI HORIBE is a producer from Tokyo, Japan. She was an Associate Producer for IS THIS A ROOM and DANA H. on Broadway. She has worked for various theatrical organizations in NY, including Ars Nova, Manhattan Theatre Club, and New York Musical Festival. She is currently a Producing Associate at Artists at Play. Before she moved to the United States from Tokyo, she sold musicals and plays, such as some with a Japanese cast: MISS SAIGON, LES MISERABLES, WICKED, THE LION KING, THE LITTLE MERMAID, SISTER ACT, etc., and shows while they were on international tours in Japan: DREAMGIRLS, WAR HORSE, AMERICAN IDIOT, ONCE, BRING IT ON, etc. She was a participant in the inaugural group of Theatre Producers of Color. She earned her MBA from Monroe College, King Graduate School of Business in New York, and certificates in Copyright Law, Trademark Law, Operations Management, and Marketing from the University of Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth Yang is an online business strategist and monetization expert helping purpose-driven, service-based entrepreneurs grow online for consistent revenue in repeatable marketing and sales systems with their teams. She’s the founder and CEO of Better With Company, a high-touch business coaching and consulting agency. She specializes in high ticket sales and lead generation, charging more, high performance, leadership, and talent & team optimization. She has 10 years of experience in innovation and product marketing with Fortune 10 companies. Others describe her as an energetic and passionate speaker, trainer, mentor, and powerhouse. Most recently she was called the “Monetization Queen” thanks to her ability to help clients charge 2X-25X more creating premium brands. Elizabeth champions diversity with inclusive selling to maximize visibility and impact that converts. Happy sales start with the human connection to becoming the first choice for your ideal customers, nurturing and closing faster. She is the creator of the Customer YES! Lab, a 12-month online business mentoring accelerator that helps diverse entrepreneurs scale online faster with all-in-one software you’ll ever need online and the playbooks for implementing marketing, sales, and people systems. She’s also the founder of Hmong Women Take on the World, a Global Online Leadership Summit that brings hundreds together to globally celebrate women and girls across 8 countries. She’s helped clients and companies become better leaders, build winning teams, and achieve sales growth with better customer experiences, relationship marketing, and product communities. She’s trained in Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP), Tiny Habits, Gallup’s Builder Profile 10 Talents, and Predictive Index. She lives in Minneapolis with her family. She enjoys reading, music, traveling, and hula hooping. Hearty laughs are what’s most incredible in her life and network. Connect with her at TalkWithElizabeth.com.

Hillary is the Founder & Executive Director of BOLT (Build Our Lives Together), which empowers marginalized communities to lead the change their neighborhoods want to see. She believes that building people power via proximate leaders is how we bring change. Her background is in community organizing, civic technology, local government, and business. She is a proud Philly native (class of 272 at Central High School). She holds a BA from Harvard (’17). and MBA from Stanford GSB (’22). She is also a Leadership for Society Scholar and Stanford Impact Founder fellow.

Diana Hwang

Founder/Executive Director, Asian American Women's Political Initiative (AAWPI)

Diana is the Founder/Executive Director of the Asian American Women’s Political Initiative (AAWPI), the country’s only political leadership organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women. In 2020, Diana was the first National Political and Organizing Director for She the People, a national network of women of color working to transform our democracy.
Diana was profiled as “one of Boston’s most powerful thought leaders” in Boston Magazine for her work and has been a featured speaker at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. and at several colleges, including Wellesley College, Northeastern University, Dartmouth College and Salem State University where she gave the annual convocation address.
Diana was a former candidate for the Massachusetts State Senate. She carried the city of Boston and outraised her seven opponents in the race. Diana graduated from Dartmouth College and Columbia Business School.

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Phun H

Policy Associate

As SEARAC’s Policy Associate, Phun is in charge of supporting SEARAC’s national policy activities through policy analysis, advocacy, community engagement, research, and administrative support.
Phun holds Bachelors’ degrees in public policy and Asian American studies from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Prior to joining SEARAC, Phun’s work centered on the immigrant and refugee community in North Carolina. She worked as an Outreach Lead with North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT) to civically empower the Asian American community in NC through canvassing, bridge-building, and creating culturally and linguistically appropriate materials for census and voting. Phun was also the Education and Advocacy coordinator at FaithAction International House where she expanded the FaithAction ID program and coordinated their advocacy initiatives in North Carolina, specifically driver’s licenses for all.
Phun was born in Vietnam and is a member of the Bunong community, an Indigenous and ethnic highlander group under the larger Montagnard umbrella. Phun is a co-founder of Voices of the Highlands, a virtual space that seeks to share Montagnard traditions, preserve oral histories, and connect Montagnard youth from all over the world on the shared experiences of Montagnard identity.