By Juliette Coulter
Orchid Giving Circle at Texas Women’s Foundation held a virtual Grantee Celebration on October 22 featuring its members, grantees and supporters. The Giving Circle celebrated its seventh year by distributing a record $247,500 in grants to 20 nonprofit organizations that serve the North Texas Asian community. The group also gave the first-ever leadership grants for professional development to two Asian leaders: Diana Mao with Nomi Networks and Dr. Koshi Dhingra with talkSTEM. Over the past seven years, the giving circle has granted $1,078,000 to 30 nonprofits.
Orchid Giving Circle at Texas Women’s Foundation is a group of Asian women who collaborate, pool their resources and leverage their networks to generate community grants that support social change and services benefitting the North Texas Asian community. Orchid members, representing a wide range of Asian cultures, ages, ethnicities and professions, have as their goal to increase awareness of the local Asian population, their community needs and philanthropic opportunities.
This year’s leadership includes Mylinh Luong, Chair; Radhika Zaveri, Secretary/Communications and Social Media Chair; Gowri Sharma, Grants Committee Chair; Jean Chao, Treasurer; and Arang Cistulli, Membership Chair.
Orchid Giving Circle Chair Mylinh Luong said, “We are living in unprecedented times, and while challenges remain, our commitment to step up and serve is steadfast with the help of our circle – our members, our donors and our grant recipients. The Orchid Giving Circle is grateful for the commitment of every grant recipient to lift the Asian American community in North Texas. Together, we will be the circle that continues to make a difference.”
The program included grant distributions to 20 deserving nonprofit organizations for specifically helping Asians and Asian-Americans:
- Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIA): Scholarships
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice: Demographic research
- Asian Breast Health Outreach (Methodist Richardson Medical Center Foundation) – Breast health outreach and mammograms
- Asian Film Foundation of Dallas: Asian and Asian-American women filmmakers
- Children’s Advocacy Center of Denton County: Mental health services
- Communities in Schools of North Texas: Support for Chin students in Lewisville
- Dallas Chinese Community Center: Life skills, youth leadership and inclusion programs
- Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum: Japanese/American WWII exhibit
- DFW Hub Center for Health: Access and affordable healthcare support
- Fort Worth Area Habitat for Humanity: Home construction for Myanmar refugee
- IGNITE: Building Political Power in Asian American Young Women: Political training and mobilization
- International Rescue Committee Inc.: Staff support to assist refugee women
- Literacy Achieves: Family Literacy Program for immigrant and refugee families
- Mosaic Family Services Inc. Services for those surviving family violence or human trafficking
- Richardson Adult Literacy Center: ESL and workforce readiness for low-income
- SAAVETX (Register2Vote Fund): Support for South Asian American Voter Empowerment
- The Senior Source: Foster Grandparent Program
- Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation Inc.: Peace in the Home program
- Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation: College readiness program
- Wellness Center for Older Adults: Healthcare services for low-income Plano seniors
Then, Diana Mao, founder of Nomi Networks and a Texas Women’s Foundation Young Leader Award honoree in 2021, and Dr. Koshi Dingra, talkSTEM founder, both received the Orchid Giving Circle’s first professional development grants. These grants will help Mao and Dhingra develop additional leadership skills, so that they can continue the work of fighting human trafficking (Nomi Networks) and developing future STEM learners and leaders in underrepresented populations (talkSTEM), respectively.
Roslyn Dawson Thompson, president and CEO of Texas Women’s Foundation, said, “Texas Women’s Foundation applauds the Orchid Giving Circle on raising and distributing record funds. Brava to our first Giving Circle in contributing more than $1 million to serve and support the growing Asian community in North Texas.”
Orchid Giving Circle at Texas Women’s Foundation was launched in 2015. The group has provided grants in education, housing, healthcare, arts and culture, social services and more to the North Texas Asian community. In addition, Orchid Giving Circle has an interest in organizations and programs that are led by Asian women. Orchid Giving Circle at Texas Women’s Foundation is a member of the Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), a national, member-supported philanthropic advocacy organization dedicated to advancing philanthropy in Asian American/Pacific Islander communities. Orchid Giving Circle founders include Arang Cistulli, Kim Cummings, Sejal Desai, Loh-Sze Leung, Caren K. Lock, Mylinh Luong, Lynette Payne, Gowri Sharma, Thear Suzuki, Charmaine Tang, Anne Woods, Cynthia Yung, Trea Yip and Radhika Zaveri.