Panda Express announces $1 million grant to help TAAF change the narrative of AAPI representation

·2 min read

Restaurant chain Panda Express announced a $1 million grant to The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), a nonprofit organization committed to “accelerating opportunity and prosperity for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.”

TAAF announced in a press release today that the substantial donation would support the group’s efforts in changing the narrative of AAPI representation and experiences by investing in AAPI storytelling across the arts, media and film.

According to the nonprofit, such an initiative is not only crucial to “promoting positive and diverse AAPI narratives,” but also in “dispelling misguided myths about AAPI communities.”

Panda Express was TAAF’s first AAPI Giving Challenge partner and with this donation has further established its commitment to achieving a lasting sense of belonging for AAPI communities.

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“As an American-born company founded by Chinese immigrants, we are passionate about fostering greater cultural understanding and appreciation through storytelling,” Panda Restaurant Group’s Chief Brand Officer Andrea Cherng told NextShark. “Philanthropy allows us to make strategic investments in our communities to advance representation. We’re proud to launch the Narrative Change initiative with TAAF to drive necessary resources towards strengthening and empowering AAPI creative voices and the stories they will tell of a diverse America.”

More information about how the donation will be used for TAAF’s narrative change strategy will be announced in the coming weeks.

TAAF is set to celebrate AAPI stories and storytelling on Tuesday evening by co-hosting the first annual Rise for Comedy Showcase in collaboration with Universal Pictures and Rideback Rise, a new non-profit accelerator that will support BIPOC creators in the development of film, television, digital and audio content.

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Comedian Jo Koy will be at the event to bring on the laughs with a comedy set to celebrate the upcoming theatrical release of his film “Easter Sunday” in August. The film, which is based on Koy’s own life experiences, was written and directed by AAPIs.

The program includes a panel on representation in entertainment moderated by the MacArthur Foundation’s Director of Media and Journalism Kathy Im. The panel will feature Andrea Cherng, CNN’s “This Is Life with Lisa Ling” host and producer Lisa Ling, The Los Angeles Times’ TV critic Lorraine Ali, and UTA Talent Agent Jaqueline Kim.

TAAF’s CEO Norman Chen will provide opening remarks.

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Featured Image via The Asian American Foundation

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