Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Asian American Women’s Coalition Supports the Advancement of the Community through Leadership and Scholarships
educating-myself | Read Time: 3 minutes
By Kyle Babcock | Published: May 2021
Co-founded in 1987 by community leader and the “Godmother of Chinatown,” Cecilia Moy Yep, the Asian American Women’s Coalition (AAWC) is dedicated to the advancement of Asian American women through leadership and mutual support.
“AAWC members are diverse in age, race and ethnicity, religion and professional backgrounds,” said Margaret Chin, AAWC Treasurer. “Our organization consists of all volunteers – we have no paid staff – and our members are active in their communities, serving on civic boards, in municipal government, church and other volunteer organizations.”
From its roots nearly 35 years ago, the organization has grown to support the community through a variety of initiatives, including the Cecilia Moy Yep Scholarship Fund. Established in 1994, the scholarship fund raises funds to assist Asian American female high school students to pursue their educational goals.
“AAWC is grateful for the continued support WSFS Bank has provided for more than a decade,” said Chin. “The annual contribution goes directly to support our scholarship program, which benefits students who have made a positive and lasting impact in their communities through their sustained service and leadership.”
To date, AAWC has awarded more than $690,000 in scholarships to 267 students, with many of the scholars being recent immigrants, English language learners and the first in their families to attend college.
“Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AAWC recognized the hardship and struggles faced by the Asian communities, and worked together to raise the funds needed to support 27 students with four-year scholarships, as well as one-time scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $6,000,” said Chin. “We look forward to continuing to support deserving students this year at our virtual 34th Annual Fundraising Banquet on June 3, 2021.”
In addition to scholarships, AAWC has a variety of outreach programs such as the SMARTIES series to address the challenges, changing needs and issues facing the Asian American women population, including multi-lingual financial literacy classes, business support, health workshops, cultural and social programs, mentoring and professional development.
Other programs include ongoing mentorship for AAWC scholars, an Annual Holiday Party for children and the AAWC Annual Meeting, each of which are put on in collaboration with AAWC’s sponsors, donors and community partners.
“With the current situation on Anti-Asian hate crimes, AAWC has also worked in partnership with the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) to advocate for safety in Asian communities, as well as with the School District of Philadelphia to ensure the wellbeing of Asian students, and established self-defense courses for community members,” said Chin. “We are thankful for the support of WSFS and welcome continued collaboration and support in these efforts and our other programs.”
“WSFS is proud to partner with AAWC in support of its important initiatives for Asian American women,” said Vernita Dorsey, Senior Vice President, Director of Community Strategy, WSFS Bank. “AAWC’s work providing scholarships to hundreds of deserving students through the years is truly commendable. We look forward to continuing to partner with them to support the community, especially during these times of increased need.”
About the Author – Kyle Babcock
Kyle Babcock is Integrated Communications Strategist at WSFS Bank. He has more than seven years of experience in product and professional services marketing, communications and advertising.
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