Cathay Bank Foundation: Grants for Science Education

OVERVIEW: The Cathay Bank Foundation invests in community and economic development, education, civic and community, and health and welfare.

IP TAKE: While the foundation funds math education, it does not prioritize it in contrast to other areas of support. Within Cathay Bank Foundation’s geographic areas, the foundation emphasizes Asian American and Asian immigrant populations. This funder also prefers fairly established organizations that can show several previous years of programmatic, organizational, and financial successes.

PROFILE: The Cathay Bank Foundation is the nonprofit affiliate of Cathay Bank. Established in 1962, the Cathay Bank first opened to  provide "financial services to the growing but underserved Chinese-American community.” It began operating in Los Angeles as the first Chinese-American bank in Southern California, and expanded with a “rapid expansion [...] fueled by successive waves of immigration, burgeoning trade between America and Asia, and the economic development of the surrounding community.” Its foundation seeks “to enhance the growth and success of communities in which the Bank serves.” The foundation invests in affordable housing, community and economic development, and education as its three largest priorities, with additional consideration given to arts and culture, health and welfare, environmental issues, human services needs, and “programs that benefit the communities at large.”

The Cathay Bank Foundation's grantmaking for science education aims to provide "[s]tudent scholarship programs focused on finance-related studies" as another emphasis. Other educational goals include English language literacy, financial literacy and college readiness. However, tax filings reveal the foundation's actual giving patterns prioritize youth development and entrepreneurship, rather than traditional educational programming, serving at-risk and low/middle income (LMI) youth. While the foundation gives beyond its historical connection to Chinese and Asian organizations, its giving predominately supports the former. Grants support 501(c)(3)s, but not directly schools. The foundation also funds “communities at large” in  California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington - currently where its banks are located.

Most grants range between $1,000 - $10,000. The Cathay Bank Foundation has an LOI open to all, which invites anyone who meets its requirements to submit a traditional LOI letter on a rolling basis. From there, its invite-only grant application has an August deadline; plan LOI submissions accordingly.