Rini is Executive Director for the Foundation for a Just Society. Previously, she serves as Sr. Program Officer at the Overbrook Foundation, where she oversaw grantmaking for human rights, youth development, reproductive rights, trafficking and progressive movement building. From 1998 to 2002, Rini held the position of Program Director at the New York Women’s Foundation, where she directed and managed the Foundation’s grantmaking and technical assistance programs. In addition to previous posts with the UN Development Program and the UNICEF, Rini has worked with grassroots and community organizations both in the U.S. and abroad. A current trustee at the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Rini’s prior board experiences include board chair, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy;; board member South Asian Youth Action;; and member, Funders Collaborative on Youth Organizing. Rini is a founding member of the Giving Circle. She received a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Economic Development from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a Bacherlor’s degree in Finance from NYU, Stern School of Business. In her free time, she loves to take family hikes and play sports with her two boys.

Lisa is a communications consultant and writer. She was formerly senior vice president at Fenton Communications, a national communications strategy firm for progressive causes. Previously, she was a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News. She received a BA in English from UC Berkeley and an MFA from the University of Iowa. She is the author of a book of poems, Mouth, and co-­author of The She Spot: Why Women are the Market for Changing the World and How to Reach Them. You can find her (and maybe her books too) at a used bookstore.

Angela is a Grants Manager at NYU School of Law where she seeks institutional funding for the law school’s on-­campus institutes. Before NYU Law, she was a Portfolio Manager at the Fund for the City of New York, where she provided financial management and development support to nonprofit organizations under the Fund’s fiscal sponsorship and advised nonprofits on operational issues including compliance and human resources. Prior to the Fund she was a Program Associate at the Open Society Foundations. As part of the U.S. Programs’ Criminal Justice Fund, she helped to implement grantmaking strategies that reduce mass incarceration, eliminate harsh punishment, and secure an equitable justice system that eliminates racial disparities. Before OSF, she worked at Lawyers Alliance for New York, which provides free or low-­cost legal services to nonprofits serving low-­income communities in New York City. Angela received an MPA from the Wagner School of Public Service at NYU and a B.A. in Politics from NYU. Angela grew up in Taiwan, Ohio, and Tennessee, but having lived in New York City since 1999, she now calls NYC her home. Angela lives in Brooklyn and she volunteers with a NYC rabbit rescue organization.

Aiyoung consults to nonprofits on strategic planning and organizational development. She is a board member of Korean American Family Service Center in NYC, Asian Women Giving Circle, and Jezebel Films, and board alumna of the New York Women’s Foundation, Asian Americans for Equality, and Manhattan Country School. She is fluent in Korean and Spanish, and recently helped produce a film on Koreans in Cuba. She graduated from Knox College and attended NYU Business School, and is an advisor to the Korean American Community Foundation, White Wave Dance Company, and NetKAL. Among her passions are cooking, travel, and salsa dancing.

Amy is a freelance writer of comics and co-­founder of Alpha Girl Comics. She was formerly Executive Director at the Asian American Arts Alliance and ran the Management Assistance Program at the United Way of NYC. Amy holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS and BA from MIT and Wellesley College.  She enjoys traveling the world and trying new comfort foods.

Melinda works in the Time inc. legal department as a paralegal. She is on the Steering Committee of the Asian American Association of Time Inc, is on the board of the Girls and Boys Projects (Institute for Labor and the Community), volunteers for New York Cares, and served on the Grants Advisory Committee of the New York Womenn’s Foundation. She is a graduate of Grinnell College.

Urvi hales from California, where she attended Cal State Fullerton, after which she received a Masters in Public Health from Houston, Texas. Professionally, Urvi has trained teachers and helped to develop curriculum, all focused on health education. She currently lives in the West Village with her husband and two elementary-­ aged children. She makes a mean green juice and has a killer forehand.  aged children. She makes a mean green juice and has a killer forehand.

Aditi serves as a consultant in the nonprofit sector, working with a wide range of issue areas and in strategic management. Previously, Aditi worked in program and fund development at the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, and most recently at Philanthropy New York in program development.  She received a Master’s degree in Public and Nonprofit Management and Administration from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Before attending NYU, Aditi worked in the corporate sector managing the sales operations for luxury hotel brands. Presently, she serves on the advisory board of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine and volunteers with Sadie Nash Leadership Project. A mother to 3.5 year old twins, in her spare time, Aditi loves to read and cook. 

Tuhina is Director of Donor Services, New York at the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors where she helps individuals, foundations and corporations strategically use their charitable dollars for the most effective use. Most recently, Tuhina worked at the Robin Hood Foundation, a large public charity in New York City whose mission is to fight poverty in the five boroughs. Tuhina received the Governor’s Award to End Domestic Violence in 2002 and the Robin Hood Hero Award in 2003 for her work at the Center.

Danielle is the Chief Corporate & Securities Counsel at Synchrony Financial, and was previously a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. She has a JD from Harvard Law School and an AB in English from Harvard College, but she is still working on getting a passing grade from her six-­ and three-­year old children in their master class on how to be a good Mom.

Patricia is a social change optimist. She is the founder of the New York Asian Women’s Center, the first organization on the East Coast working to change social conditions within Asian immigrant communities around domestic violence and expand women’s roles in the community. She has also served as Senior Vice President at Safe Horizon where she launched a city-wide domestic violence grants initiative and managed a portfolio of anti-violence programs. Within philanthropy, Pat served as the Ms. Foundation’s first Program Officer for Safety and later stepped into the role of Vice President of Programs.  She also worked as Program Director at Bolder Giving, working to inspire individual donors toward a lifetime of giving to their fullest potential. Presently, Pat is the Vice President of Programs at the New York Women’s Foundation and the NY Chapter Co-Chair of AAPIP. She has a BA in Politics from Princeton University and an MSW degree from Hunter College School of Social Work. When not working, Pat can be found watching Harry Potter movies and eating ice cream.

Shinhee is one of the founding members of AWGC. Professionally, she is a psychotherapist who divides her time between the New School university’s Counseling Service, private practice and as an adjunct professor at the Center for Study of Ethnicity and Race, Columbia University. Her passions focus around Asian American mental health, literature, research, art and social activism. At home she is an avid cook who is channeling Ottolenghi recipes.

Taryn is the Executive Director of Unbound Philanthropy, a private foundation that works to ensure that migrants and refugees are treated with respect and engage with their new communities in the United States and United Kingdom. From 1997 to 2008, Taryn managed the migrant and refugee rights portfolio at the Ford Foundation and served as Deputy Director of the human rights unit from 2001-2008. Taryn has also served as a Program Officer at The New York Community Trust, a staff attorney and program coordinator at Safe Horizons in New York City, and an associate at the law firm O'Melveny & Myers. She was the co-chair of the board of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) from 1999-2005 and a GCIR Board member through 2008. Taryn is a co-recipient, with Geri Mannion of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, of the Robert V. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking from the Council on Foundations. Taryn currently serves on the advisory board of the International Migration Initiative of the Open Society Foundations, the managing board of the International Refugee Assistance Project, and the steering committee of the Asian Women’s Giving Circle. Taryn resides in New York City with her husband and son.

Jennifer is General Counsel to Child Education International, Inc., a nonprofit that supports secondary education programs in developing countries. Previously, she worked at a firm that specializes in nonprofit law, Perlman & Perlman, LLP and has also worked in corporate, litigation, and academic positions in law. Jennifer has been a life-­long supporter of the arts and was a flamenco dancer who spent substantial time in Spain learning the art form. She has a B.A. in Political Theory and Cultural Anthropology from Cornell University and a J.D. and L.L.M. in International and Comparative Law from Duke Law School.

Trista Huang is a IT project manager for Tishman Speyer, where she helps the firm to deploy complex IT related projects. She earned a MBA degree from Long Island University and a BA degree from Pace University. Trista was born and grew up in China. She is now living in Brooklyn with her husband, son and a white french bulldog.

Bomsinae has been an active member of the Korean-­American community in New York for many years, including as Executive Director of the Korean American Community Foundation. She also worked as a staff reporter for the The Korea Central Daily (Joongang Ilbo), a Korean language newspaper serving the Greater New York area. In her previous life, she was a business interpreter for foreign executives in Korea. Bomsinae has an undergraduate degree from Yonsei University and a graduate degree for interpretation from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, Korea. She also has a graduate degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Bomsinae currently serves on the board of the Korean American Family Services Center.

Julie is the Founder & CEO of TechFinance, a financial and accounting consulting firm which provides strategic and financial advisory services to venture capital and private equity backed Technology companies. Julie holds a B.A. in Economics from Washington University and an MBA in finance from Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. Julie is passionate about improving the lives of under-­privileged women and children and has been involved with UN Women, New York Asian Women’s Center, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, among others. She is an avid skier & golfer and loves to travel to exotic locations. She lives in Scarsdale, NY and has two wonderful teenaged children, Nicole and Eric.

The Asian Women Giving Circle (AWGC) is the first and largest giving circle in the nation led by Asian American women.  We believe culture is an essential part of any strategy for social change. We raise funds to support Asian American women-led projects in NYC that use arts and culture to:

  • Bring about progressive social transformation

  • Raise awareness and catalyze action around critical issues that affect Asian American women, girls and families

  • Highlight and promote women’s central role as leaders, creators, developers and managers of these projects

Sunny is a Senior Director of Development at The New School managing and implementing a strategic fundraising plan for The New School for Public Engagement and the Eugene Lang College at The New School for Liberal Studies. Before The New School she was an Associate Director of Major Gifts for the MBA Program at New York University (NYU) Leonard N. Stern School of Business. She previously served as a Senior Development Officer at NYU School of Law, where her primary responsibilities focused on major gifts and working with reunion classes. Prior to joining NYU, she was the Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Women In Need, Inc. where she raised funds as a grant writer to provide housing and comprehensive services to homeless and disadvantaged women and their families in New York City. Sunny began her nonprofit career as the Executive Director of APEX from 2000 to 2004. She first joined APEX as a High School Mentor and its mission, focused on Asian youth, continues to be a priority for Sunny. As a result, she is now a member of the APEX board. Sunny holds a Masters in Public Administration from the Robert F.  Wagner School of Public Service at NYU and a BA in English Literature and East Asian Studies from NYU.

Pat is the Chief Operating Officer at The Century Foundation which undertakes timely and critical analyses of major economic, educational, governmental, and social inequality issues. Prior to that, she served as interim executive at nonprofits undergoing transition. Previously, she was Executive Director, Ascend; Managing Director, National Employment Law Project; and Vice President, Finance & Administration at the F.B. Heron Foundation. She also held executive positions at Citibank, American Express, and several entrepreneurial ventures. She serves on the board of directors of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York and is a member of the US-­Japan Council. She also mentors Baruch College students. Pat earned a B.S. degree from the University of Washington and an M.S. from New York University. Pat is an avid sailor, a quilter, and enthusiastic cook/baker.

Hali was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in Kansas City. She graduated from Princeton University, studied Buddhism at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, and received a Masters in Social Work from NYU. Professionally, Hali has worked in many capacities, often combining a love of learning, the arts & social change. Hali lives in Brooklyn, along with her dear husband, three teenage children and two cats (and hopefully soon, a dog!). Hali is thankful for her loving and supportive family, and for the community of progressive and FUN women (and men) she has found in NYC. In her free time, she loves to travel, play tennis, read and on her rooftop, she keeps honeybees.

A member of the “386 Generation,” Young grew up in Korea with generous and loving parents, and four very close sisters. Young came to the U.S. about twenty years ago and has lived in Deleware and Westchester, NY. An active person, she was a fencer who competed at the national level in Korea. Young holds a brown belt in Kenpo and enjoys dancing and singing (despite what observers may think). In college, she wanted to be a piano bar singer but was strongly dissuaded by friends and family. When she is not glued to her desk, she enjoys listening to music, walking in the park, visiting the Met Museum and cooking -­ even more so when someone else does it! Young currently lives in Manhattan with her business and life partner, Erik. Young’s son, Martin, a student at NYU, describes his mom as his “rock and best-­est friend.” Young is a long-­time advocate of humanitarian and environmental issues.

Jiming is Associate Director of the Charles B. Wang International Foundation, a family foundation which focuses on children’s health and education programs in the Asian American community. Previously she was a civil engineer at the NYC Department of Design and Construction working on technology and policy analysis.  She is currently on the boards of the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center and the World Childhood Foundation and volunteers for other local organizations. Jiming received a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from Cooper Union. She enjoys helping her three young children test toys for her friend’s blog.

Susie is a super cool native New Yorker working at the ASPCA as an Administrator of Grants Technology and Training. In past years, she worked for ALIGN, Change.org, Center for Working Families, Citi Foundation, Tides Foundation, the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), New York City Council Member Eva Moskowitz and Habitat for Humanity. She holds over ten years of extensive experience in managing grant-­making processes and operations as well as having a programmatic background on HIV/AIDS, education and housing. She graduated from Wellesley College with a BA in Political Science. Susie loves animals, unconventional art, science fiction, running, mac & cheese pancakes, drinking scotch and volunteering for good causes in her spare time.


Ellen is director of women’s health at the Ms. Foundation for Women where she oversees grantmaking and programs to support reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations. She previously worked as program officer at Open Society Foundations Public Health Program on international public health and human rights issues. She is a second generation immigrant and the daughter of Taiwanese florist entrepreneurs. Ellen has lived in China, Taiwan, and Italy and has traveled extensively in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Southern Africa. She enjoys making jewelry and going to the zoo with her toddler son on weekends.

Brigette (BJ) joined the Compliance Division of Goldman Sachs & Co after taking an 8 year career break from practicing law. During her time out of the corporate workforce she focused on raising her three daughters, joined the boards of the NY Asian Women’s Center and the Korean American League for Civic Action, and co-­headed a music production company, Chaos Theory Music. Her law experience included working at the American Civil Liberties Union and providing pro-­bono services to asylum seekers and domestic violence victims. She received a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and her M. Phil and J.D. from NYU. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching Korean dramas and spending time with her family.

Jackie is a foodie and avid eater. She loves exploring NYC neighborhoods in search of the next restaurant or café. Jackie studied at Columbia College and Northwestern Law. She is also a real estate broker who can help you find your ideal home, if you are not too picky! She lives downtown with her family.

Shalini is the Deputy Director at Sakhi for South Asian Women, a nonprofit committed to ending domestic violence in the South Asian community in New York City. Previously, she served as Co-­Executive Director at Tapestri in Atlanta. She has a BA in Child Development from Tufts University and a JD from Emory University School of Law. During her off time, she enjoys hanging out with her family, looking for the best vegan meal, or writing a story based on her grandfather’s life—who first inspired her to do good without expecting anything in return.

Born and bred in Manhattan, Raquel works in the travel industry on the development, strategic positioning and negotiations of products in the tour market for Asia, Africa and the US. She holds an M.A. in cultural policy from Columbia University and a B.A. from Fordham University. Alongside travel, Raquel’s other loves include theater, dance and cupcakes.​

Vivian is the vice president, program, at the William T. Grant Foundation. Vivian leads the Foundation’s grantmaking and spearheads its initiatives on the use of research in policy and practice and research-­practice partnerships. Since joining the Foundation in 2004, she has served in multiple capacities, most recently as senior program officer. Vivian has a deep interest in mentoring young researchers and is committed to strengthening the career pipeline for scholars of color. Under her leadership, the William T. Grant Scholars Program has become more diverse and significantly increased its mentoring support. Previously, she was an assistant professor in psychology and Asian American studies at California State University, Northridge. She received her doctorate from New York University and her bachelor of arts from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her current speaking and writing engagements focus on leveraging research to improve policy and practice. Early research focused on understanding how immigration, race, and culture affect youth and their families. Vivian has been published in Child Development, Journal of Marriage and the Family, American Journal of Community Psychology, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and the Handbooks of Parenting, Asian American Psychology, and 21st Century Education, among others. She enjoys all things related to Star Trek, and reports never having enough time at the beach, eating, drinking wine, and being with friends!

Angie is the executive director of Peace is Loud, an organization that inspires social action through media that spotlights women peacebuilders. Angie has 15 years of experience managing and developing nonprofit and grantmaking programs focused on women’s rights, community building and social justice. She has held senior leadership positions at The New York Women’s Foundation, The September 11th Fund and Safe Horizon, and prior to Peace is Loud she led the global outreach campaign for Women War & Peace, the groundbreaking five-­part documentary series that challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men’s domain. Angie is a steering member of the Asian Women Giving Circle, the first and largest giving circle in the nation led by Asian American women. She also is a long-­time board member of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families and a founding board member of People’s Production House. She is a graduate of the University of California, Davis and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons.

Mannar Wong is an Associate Art Director of advertising and promotions for Penguin Random House since graduating with a BFA from School of Visual Arts. Introduced to the Circle by Aiyoung Choi in its second year, she happily applies her trade for the Circle’s many fun events and revamped website (check us out!). Mannar also volunteers her services and time to Reading Empowers and Read Ahead, literacy programs for public school students, as well as other various non-profit organizations. A lifelong New Yorker, she loves fried food, hiking our national parks, bingewatching tv, and doing all those things with family and friends.


Joyce is recently retired from a long career as a representative for the United Nations Development Programme, the UN’s global fund and network for development, serving in Jamaica, Malaysia and Western Samoa. She started her UN career in UNIFEM, the UN’s fund for women and working with the UN Nongovernmental Liaison Service providing a bridge between NGOs and the UN. She spearheaded work on human trafficking and the impact of structural adjustment on women. Prior to this, she served as Executive Director of the Ms Foundation for Women and as a Programme Officer at the Otto Bremer Foundation in St.  Paul Minnesota. She has been on the founding boards of Women and Foundations and Corporate Philanthropy, New York Grantmakers Association and was the founding President for the Museum of Chinese Americans. Her social activism began as a community tenant union organizer in Minneapolis and she founded the Cedar Riverside People’s Center which provides free medical, vet and legal and psychological counseling. At that time, she also organized free music concerts in vacant lots to showcase new bands and create awareness for improved urban development. Her activism also includes organizing the largest ongoing campaign on the combined issues of peace and justice, unifying the peace and civil rights movements for the National Council of Churches. Joyce is on the board of the YWCA Brooklyn. After working at the global level, the AWGC gives her the intimacy to get to know the grantees and be part of their future with a group of sisters. Joyce, her husband & their dog have just become empty nesters.​


Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial and ethnic group in New York City (comprising 14% of the population) yet our communities receive less than 1% of philanthropic dollars. Our goals are to:

  • Channel more resources into our local communities
  • Engage more people to invest in creative projects by and for our communities
  • Shine an authentic spotlight on our experiences and stories
  • Promote progressive social change
  • Raise the visibility of Asian American women doing philanthropic work

The AWGC Steering Committee is a diverse group of Asian American women who lead the grant-making and fund-raising efforts of the giving circle. We are a donor-advised fund at the Ms. Foundation for Women, which distributes our funds solely at our direction, and we are also a member of the Asian American/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) National Donor Circle Network.​

We thank these women for being part of the brave very beginnings . . .
Ruchika Bajaj, Helena Choy, Laura Hong, Pat Lian, Lena Lim, Kaberi Banerjee Murthy, Christine Nakaoka, Lisa Philp, 
Angelie Singla, Kathy Heejung Song, Sarah BJ Sung, Tani Takagi, Agnes Hsu Tang, Jonna Tiu and Ruby Takanishi

© 2016 Asian Women Giving Circle. All rights reserved.

photo: Corky Lee