Non-profit

Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE)

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

13-3187792

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $6,421,181
Expenses: $5,854,488
Assets: $11,580,239

Formation:

1974

Type:

Left-Wing Asian American-Interest Group

Co-Executive Directors:

Jennifer Sun

Thomas Yu

Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) is a left-of-center Asian American-interest advocacy organization that promotes low-income housing and immigration policies. The group was founded in 1974 and allegedly had early associations with radical Maoists. [1]

AAFE is currently led by co-executive directors Jennifer Sun and Thomas Yu. The group has criticized the Trump administration over its approach to illegal immigrants and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama administration policy that gave legal status to certain illegal immigrants. [2]

Background

AAFE was created in 1974 in New York City. It has been asserted by Emory University political science professor Harvey Klehr that AAFE’s founders were associated with the Communist Workers’ Party, a far-left group that advocated for Maoism. [3] The two groups reportedly “shared an office and phone number,”[4] though AAFE’s former executive director, Christopher Kui, has denied such connections. [5] Nevertheless, the early history of the group was marked with its inclination to start protests and rally against perceived injustices. [6]

In more recent years, AAFE has sought to create housing for low-income Asian Americans by helping them apply to affordable housing programs[7] and by purchasing building units to rent out at a lower price than equity firms would. [8] [9]

AAFE also seeks to bring down the cost of living of community members, such as by helping them apply for government assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemptions (SCRIE). The group assists individuals with large medical bills by helping them sign up for government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. [10]

AAFE became a member of NeighborWorks America in 2008, a nonprofit organization which works closely with the federal government and is chartered by Congress. [11] At that time, NeighborWorks presented AAFE with a grant of about $250,000 for their urban planning and development projects. [12]

In March 2017, AAFE partnered with the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce (an organization it had helped create) by investing $1.5 million to aid small businesses in Flushing, Queens, a predominantly Asian-American community. [13] [14] [15] [16]

Political Activities

In October 2017, AAFE demonstrated at Trump Tower in New York City along with the Asian American Federation of New York and several other left-of-center Asian-American advocacy groups to criticize President Donald Trump’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was created by the Obama administration to halt deportation of illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. [17] [18]

Leadership

Founders

Margaret Chin, a Democrat elected to the New York City Council in 2009 for the 1st District of the New York City Council, helped create AAFE and worked at the organization for over a decade. Some of her work focused on affordable housing and bilingual ballots. [19] Chin was the president of AAFE’s Board from 1982 to 1986, she has been a member of the Manhattan Community Boards 1 and 3, and was twice elected to the New York State Democratic Committee, serving from 1986 to 1990. The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University named Chin as a Fannie Mae Foundation Fellow in 2003. [20] [21]Chin’s radical associations cost her the endorsement of the New York Times in a 1991 primary election. [22] [23]

Co-Executive Directors

In 2017, former executive director Christopher Kui resigned from the position after 25 years to work for the Asian Pacific American Task Force, a caucus in the New York State Assembly that aims to “focus exclusively on advancing an agenda for Asian Americans statewide.” [24] [25] In 2010, Kui had served on the Housing Transition Team for Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY). [26] AAFE’s 2016 IRS filing reported his compensation as $190,422. [27]

Currently, AAFE has two co-executive directors, Jennifer Sun and Thomas Yu.

Jennifer Sun formerly worked at the New York City Economic Development Corporation where she oversaw large investments into lower-income neighborhoods and the development of projects in poor areas. [28]

Thomas Yu had worked in AAFE for many years before rising to his current position, having received awards in the past for his work with the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and his role in creating of low-income housing in Chinatown and Queens. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Yu to the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. [29]

Board of Directors

AAFE’s border of directors includes, according to the IRS filing for 2016, (now former) president, Stephen Davey from Valley National Bank; vice president Po Yuen, from the law firm Yuen & Yuen; vice president Marie Pedraza; treasurer Owen Lau; secretary Jacqueline Huey, retired from New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation; Director John Leo, from Con Edison; director Wendy Takahisa from Morgan Stanley; director Lynn Roque Alley, corporate relations and housing outreach at Freddie Mac; director Lydia Tom, senior advisor at Enterprise Community Partners Inc.; director Heidie Joo Burwell, who is listed as a consultant; former director Mitchell M. Wong; and former director Suki Terada Ports, a life-long left-wing activist. [30] [31]

Staff

Chief operating officer Ernesto Vigoreaux was paid $112,895 in 2016. [32] Vigoreaux previously worked as director of housing development for Comunilife, Inc., a provider of housing and healthcare services to low-income New Yorkers where he established a 60-unit residence for people with HIV/AIDS and senior citizens. [33]

Director of finance and administration Chris Mallios had compensation of $139,159 in 2016. [34]

Isabelle H. Leighton, former director of the Equality Fund (a project of AAFE), was paid $100,673 in 2016. Leighton has since left AAFE to join Political Research Associates, a left-wing group which attempts to conflate mainstream libertarian and conservative organizations with far-right extremists. [35] [36] [37]

Funding

Between 1999 and 2017, AAFE received $3,136,000 in 68 grants, including $250,000 from the Brooklyn Community Center, $100,000 from the left-of-center Carnegie Corporation of New York, $475,000 from the Robin Hood Foundation, and $170,000 from the North Star Fund for environmental activities. [38]

In its IRS filing for 2016, AAFE reported that it had loan transactions with the Community Homes Housing Development Fund Company totaling $229,233. The company performed services or fundraised $75,000 worth for Stanton Norfolk Inc., which they list as one of their offices. [39] AAFE leased $57,073 worth of facilities, equipment, or other assets from the East Chinatown Housing Development Fund Company Inc. and $50,500 from the Renaissance Economic Development Corporation, a low-income housing group originally founded by AAFE. [40] [41]

In 2016, AAFE had total revenues of $6,421,181. Its total expenses came out to $5,854,488. Their net assets were $7,581,265. [42]

In 2015, AAFE had total revenues of $5,406,201. Its total expenses came out to $5,137,500. Their net assets were $6,777,361. [43]

In 2014, AAFE had total revenues of $5,043,982. Its total expenses came out to $5,227,374. Their net assets were $6,508,660. [44]

According to AAFE’s 2016 tax returns, it received $1,095,666 in revenue from government grants. [45]

References

  1. Jacobs, Andrew. “What a Difference Two Decades Make.” The New York Times. January 12, 1997. https://www.nytimes.com/1997/01/12/nyregion/what-a-difference-two-decades-make.html. ^
  2. “AAFE Statement Regarding Federal Government’s “Public Charge” Proposal.” Asian Americans for Equality. https://www.aafe.org/2018/09/aafe-statement-regarding-federal-governments-public-charge-proposal.html. ^
  3. Jacobs, Andrew. “What a Difference Two Decades Make.” The New York Times. January 12, 1997. https://www.nytimes.com/1997/01/12/nyregion/what-a-difference-two-decades-make.html. ^
  4. Brookhiser, Richard. “The Resistible Rise of Margaret Chin.” City Journal. January 26, 2016. https://www.city-journal.org/html/resistible-rise-margaret-chin-12762.html. ^
  5. Jacobs, Andrew. “What a Difference Two Decades Make.” The New York Times. January 12, 1997. https://www.nytimes.com/1997/01/12/nyregion/what-a-difference-two-decades-make.html. ^
  6. “Our History.” Asian Americans for Equality. https://www.aafe.org/who-we-are/our-history. ^
  7. “AAFE Housing & Community Services Holds Affordable Housing Workshop.” Asian Americans for Equality. https://www.aafe.org/2013/11/aafe-housing-community-services-holds-affordable-housing-workshop.html. ^
  8. Miller, Shane. “Off the Market for Luxury Housing.” Queens Ledger – Breaking News, Classifieds, Businesses, Events in Queens, New York. http://www.queensledger.com/pages/full_story/push?article-Off the Market for Luxury Housing- &id=215492-Off the Market for Luxury Housing-&instance=lead_story_left_column. ^
  9. “AAFE Housing & Community Services Holds Affordable Housing Workshop.” Asian Americans for Equality. https://www.aafe.org/2013/11/aafe-housing-community-services-holds-affordable-housing-workshop.html. ^
  10. “Community Services.” Asian Americans for Equality. https://www.aafe.org/2016/10/aafe-helps-people-improve-their-lives.html. ^
  11. “NeighborWorks America CEO Receives Dream of Equality Award from Asian Americans for Equality.” NeighborWorks Press Releases – NeighborWorks America. March 27, 2012. Accessed April 26, 2019. http://www.neighborworks.org/Media-Center/Press-Releases/2012-Archive/NeighborWorks-America-CEO-Receives-Dream-of-Equali. ^
  12. Litvak, Ed. “Asian Americans for Equality Joins NeighborWorks | The Lo-Down : News from the Lower East Side.” Down. August 06, 2014. http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/2009/11/asian-americans-for-equality-joins-neighborworks.html. ^
  13. NYC.gov. https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/data-maps/nyc-population/census2010/t_pl_p3a_nta.pdf. ^
  14. Haller, Vera. “Downtown Flushing: Where Asian Cultures Thrive.” The New York Times. January 19, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/realestate/downtown-flushing-where-asian-cultures-thrive.html. ^
  15. “AAFE, Flushing Chamber, Flushing BID Kick Off Small Business Program.” Asian Americans for Equality. https://www.aafe.org/2017/04/aafe-flushing-chamber-flushingbid-kick-off-small-business-program.html. ^
  16. Flushing Chamber of Commerce. http://flushingchamber.nyc/tag/asian-americans-for-equality. ^
  17. Rodriguez, Salvador, and Jeffrey Dastin. “Tech Companies to Lobby for Immigrant ‘Dreamers’ to Remain in U.S.” Reuters. October 20, 2017. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-dreamers/tech-companies-to-lobby-for-immigrant-dreamers-to-remain-in-u-s-idUSKBN1CP03Z. ^
  18. King, Ariana. “Asian ‘Dreamers’ Speak out in Trump’s America.” Nikkei Asian Review. November 22, 2017. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/The-Trump-effect/Asian-Dreamers-speak-out-in-Trump-s-America. ^
  19. “Biography.” Margaret Chin. Accessed April 23, 2019. https://council.nyc.gov/margaret-chin/. ^
  20. Brookhiser, Richard. “The Resistible Rise of Margaret Chin.” City Journal. January 26, 2016. https://www.city-journal.org/html/resistible-rise-margaret-chin-12762.html. ^
  21. “About Margaret | Margaret-chin.” Margaret. https://www.margaretchin.nyc/aboutmargaret. ^
  22. “For City Council From Manhattan.” The New York Times. September 06, 1991. https://www.nytimes.com/1991/09/06/opinion/for-city-council-from-manhattan.html. ^
  23. “About Margaret | Margaret-chin.” Margaret. https://www.margaretchin.nyc/aboutmargaret. ^
  24. “Longtime AAFE Executive Director Chris Kui to Retire at the End of 2017.” Asian Americans for Equality. https://www.aafe.org/2017/11/longtime-aafe-executive-director-chris-kui-to-retire-at-the-end-of-2017.html. ^
  25. “Asian Pacific American Task Force.” New York State Assembly | Asian Pacific American Task Force. https:/yassembly.gov/comm/?id=149&sec=story&story=82245. ^
  26. “Cuomo Names Housing Transition Team.” Cuomo Names Housing Transition Team | Metropolitan Council on Housing. http://metcouncilonhousing.org/news_and_issues/tenant_newspaper/2010/december/cuomo_names_housing_transition_team. ^
  27. Asian Americans for Equality. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Section A. 2016. Accessed April 25, 2019. ^
  28. “Jennifer Sun.” Asian Americans for Equality. Accessed April 23, 2019. https://www.aafe.org/jennifer-sun. ^
  29. “Thomas Yu.” Asian Americans for Equality. https://www.aafe.org/thomas-yu-2. ^
  30. Japanese American National Museum. “An Unusual Childhood – A Profile of Suki Terada Ports.” Discover Nikkei. http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/2014/12/8/unusual-childhood/. ^
  31. “Executive Staff.” Asian Americans for Equality. https://www.aafe.org/people. ^
  32. Asian Americans for Equality. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Section A. 2016. Accessed April 25, 2019. ^
  33. “Building for Everyone.” RUPCO. https://rupco.org/rupco-expands-executive-leadership-adds-chief-strategy-officer/. ^
  34. Asian Americans for Equality. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Section A. 2016. Accessed April 25, 2019. ^
  35. Asian Americans for Equality. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Section A. 2016. Accessed April 25, 2019. ^
  36. “Challenging the Right, Advancing Social Justice.” Political Research Associates. https://www.politicalresearch.org/. ^
  37. “Staff and Board.” Political Research Associates. https://www.politicalresearch.org/about/staff-and-board/. ^
  38. Data from FoundationSearch: Asian Americans for Equality. www.FoundationSearch.com. ^
  39. “For Reporters.” Asian Americans for Equality. https://www.aafe.org/contact-us-2. ^
  40. “Our Mission.” Renaissance EDC. https://renaissance-ny.org/our-mission/. ^
  41. Asian Americans For Equality. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Schedule R, Part V. Line 2. 2016. Accessed April 25, 2019. ^
  42. Asian Americans For Equality. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2016. Part I. Lines 12, 18, 22. 2016. Accessed April 25, 2019. ^
  43. Asian Americans For Equality. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2015. Part I. Lines 12, 18, 22. 2015. Accessed April 25, 2019. ^
  44. Asian Americans For Equality. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2014. Part I. Lines 12, 18, 22. 2014. Accessed April 25, 2019. ^
  45. Asian Americans For Equality. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2016. Part VIII Line 1e. Accessed April 26, 2019. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 1986

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $6,421,181 $5,854,488 $11,580,239 $3,998,974 Y $3,252,289 $2,152,453 $100,695 $436,631
    2015 Dec Form 990 $5,406,201 $5,137,500 $10,247,806 $3,470,445 N $3,852,711 $1,206,103 $58,643 $542,974 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $5,043,982 $5,227,374 $10,497,600 $3,988,940 N $3,774,736 $911,600 $60,818 $404,736
    2013 Dec Form 990 $4,173,052 $3,616,414 $9,729,351 $3,037,299 N $3,030,426 $752,405 $80,218 $391,959 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $3,764,625 $3,266,506 $7,501,466 $1,366,052 N $2,977,749 $633,895 $74,037 $476,531 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $3,682,045 $3,522,932 $7,175,012 $1,537,717 N $3,320,791 $185,856 $70,681 $284,246 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $3,078,247 $2,718,595 $6,662,256 $1,183,986 N $2,454,656 $407,966 $128,094 $268,910 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE)

    2 ALLEN STREET 7FL
    NEW YORK, NY 10002-5302