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SF groups get $7.7 million to combat anti-Asian hate: ‘These nonprofits turned on a dime’

Rally attendees hold signs and posters during Asian Justice Rally, a national rally on the anniversary of the fatal attack on an 84-year-old Thai grandfather Vicha Ratanapakdee, commemorating Ratanapakdee and the victims of anti-Asian violence and racism, on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022 in San Francisco’s Anza Vista neighborhood. | Ekevara Kitpowsong

A longtime San Francisco civil rights group and a newly formed public safety group in Chinatown are among the latest groups to receive a windfall in state funding to address the rise in reported anti-Asian crimes and discrimination.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice, formerly known as Asian Law Caucus, and the Coalition for Community Safety and Justice (CCSJ), the umbrella of a coalition of Chinatown nonprofits started after the pandemic, received $2 million and $5.7 million, respectively. The money comes from the state, which continues to issue grants from last year’s record $166.5 million in funding for California’s Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

California Assemblymember Phil Ting (AD-19) speaks to the SF Chronicle Editorial Board on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017 in San Francisco, Calif. (Photo by Russell Yip/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

“I want to applaud all these organizations for being on the front line when the government couldn’t react as fast as we would like,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting, who spearheaded the historic funding drive in 2021. “These community groups turned on a dime. They put up websites, started services [and] were there for so many people.”

Wednesday’s announcement marks the second round of the statewide funding distribution, which amounts to $30 million—that’s in addition to $14 million that came in the first round this past spring.

Sarah Wan, a CCSJ leader, said thousands of people will benefit from the grant money, which “will help us continue to build on our successes.” Meanwhile, she added, it will also help the nonprofit reach upward of 20,000 people through outreach and other events.

However, some raised concerns that the funding, allocated under the name of addressing anti-Asian hate, might be used for political purposes.

“It’s sick what is happening,” Garry Tan, a venture capitalist and an outspoken critic on the city’s progressive politics, tweeted Wednesday. He cited The Standard story about the first round of the funding and slammed that “SF politicians funnel money to their favorite nonprofits that then turn around and act as shadow political arms for them.”

The East Bay’s Asian Health Services, the South Bay’s Asian Law Alliance-Asian Americans for Community Involvement and other nonprofits statewide also secured grants in the latest round of funding. 

According to Ting’s office, larger nonprofits selected in the second round can use part of their award to “subcontract out to help smaller organizations in the efforts to stop hate,” including by increasing services for victims and ramping up senior escort programs and mental health assistance as well as expanding activities that promote greater cultural understanding.