When many people think about non-profit charities, they may only think about organizations that raise money to help others. While millions of people rely on financial support from various charities, some organizations devote their time and resources to empowering others and fighting for civil rights. One such organization is Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC).

Whether you’re an Asian American or want to know how to get involved in an organization that strives for equal rights, we will tell you everything you need to know about Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

What Is Asian Americans Advancing Justice?

Like similar human and civil rights organizations, Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity established in Washington, D.C. in 1991. One of the primary goals of the organization is to fight for the rights of and to advocate for the Asian American community through education, legal action, and public policy.

Through their actions, Asian Americans Advancing Justice strives to ensure that Asian Americans have a voice and can participate in democracy. (It’s worth noting that while AAAJ may seem like the correct abbreviation for this organization, it is not).

How Important Is AAJC?

Many people who are unfamiliar with a civil rights charity are unaware of its importance, the need for its services, or how it works. While each organization has different missions and outcomes, the primary purpose is often to empower a group of people (usually a minority) and advocate by educating the community.

The history of Asian Americans in the United States is longer than many American citizens may realize. Many Americans are also unaware of how large and diverse the Asian American population is or how fast it’s growing.

Research reveals that approximately 20 million Asian Americans can trace their roots to more than 20 countries throughout East and Southeast Asia as well as the Indian subcontinent. While the Hispanic population has been the fastest growing minority for decades, Asians are the largest and fastest growing minority in the US.

The History of Asian Americans in the US

Aside from the Asian American population growth since around 2000, Asian Americans play a significant role in American history and helping to create the country we know today.

In the late 1800s, men came to the US from China to take on jobs as miners, factory workers, farmers, and even as fishermen. Without them, the railroad would cease to exist. Despite their hard and invaluable work, the men weren’t allowed the right to citizenship; the refusal of citizenship for various men and women from Asian countries continued well into the 1960s.

In the mid to late 1970s, Southeast Asian refugees came to the US to escape war-torn countries. While many of these refugees found a welcome with open arms, it’s important to note that every immigrant (past and present) has a different story; while some were treated like American citizens, others are treated poorly and like a second-class citizen.

Since the history of Asian Americans is long and diverse, Asian Americans Advancing Justice works hard to let every immigrant tell their story and to educate many communities about the differences between Asian Americans and how we cannot cluster them into one experience.

Programs Available Through Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Asian Americans Advancing Justice provides a variety of services and programs to members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Here’s what they are working on and offer:

More visibility in the US Census

While Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing groups in the US, it’s difficult to know how accurate the statistics are, especially since Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are often clustered together and may not be part of a precise count.

Why is accuracy important? If you are not an Asian American but rather identify yourself as a Caucasian, you may feel that you are accurately and adequately represented (and you probably are). By pushing for accuracy, more Asian Americans might have a chance to have their voices heard and to be part of a bigger democracy.

Accuracy is essential because programs and other services can be improved to meet the needs of all Asian Americans regardless of their proficiency in the English language, their age, or their sex.

Seeking American Justice for Asian Americans

Even though Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing groups in the US, they are still often treated and viewed as a minority. Like many minorities, Asian Americans face a variety of prejudices on a daily basis.

Read about Asian Americans in the news, and you will realize that many face obstacles that prevent them from advancing or being treated as equal. Today’s political climate makes it difficult and even dangerous for many Asian Americans to live and enjoy their daily lives without becoming a target of discrimination and hate.

Rather than addressing and facing discrimination alone, AAJC works closely with the Asian Law Caucus, the Asian Law Alliance, and other affiliates, such as Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta. This way, every Asian American can share their experiences in a safe and non-judgmental space, as well seek support, advice, and allies.

Fighting for rights

From fighting against voter discrimination to tackling immigration issues, the AAJC pays close attention to issues that directly affect Asian American communities. By watching these topics closely, Asian Americans Advancing Justice is not only able to better inform individuals in Asian American communities but to also act as advocates and provide legal advice to those who are in need.

How Does AAJC Rate as an Organization?

With hundreds of charitable organizations that devote their services to human rights, it can be difficult to know if some organizations are as good as they seem or if they fall short in some areas. Here’s how Charity Navigator, an online organization that evaluates a variety of charities, rates Asian American Advancing Justice.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice receives an overall score of 88.70 out of 100 and a three-star rating out of a possible four stars. A three-star rating means that an organization exceeds or meets industry standards and typically does better than other similar charities.

The financial score for AAJC is 84.54 out of 100, with an accountability and transparency score of 96 out of 100. A financial health score is based on several components but primarily on the financial information that Asian Americans Advancing Justice provides on tax returns.

Charity Navigator bases their accountability and transparency score on a large number of specific factors. One of the most important factors is whether or not the AAJC website is easy to use and the information is easy to find.

In 2015, Asian Americans Advancing Justice’s revenue was $2,404,225 in and about 83 percent of the contributions went directly to the programs and services provided to Asian American communities.

AAJC’s financial record

Tax-exempt organizations, nonexempt charitable trusts, and section 527 political organizations are required to file a Form 990 or 990EZ with the IRS.

Asian Americans Advance Justice’s most recent IRS Form 990 or 990EZ available is for 2017. The following financial data was extracted from the organization’s most recent publicly available tax filing for their fiscal year ending December 2017. This financial statement can give you a clearer picture of how they utilize funds donated to the organization.

Percentage of donations spent on services

  • Total donations and grants: $12,274,092
  • Spent on services and grants: $11,940,619
  • Percentage of donations toward grants and services: 97.28 percent

Percentage of revenue spent on fundraising

  • Total revenue: $13,156,042
  • Fundraising expenses: $823,496
  • Paid to professional fundraisers: $0.00
  • Percentage of total revenue spent on fundraising: 3.97 percent

Administrative and overhead costs

  • Overhead expenses: $1,069,852
  • Property assets: $2,864,164
  • Investment assets: $7,393,611
  • Paid to officers/directors: $502,497
  • Highest paid officer/director: President $210,587
  • Percentage of total revenue spent on officers/directors salaries: 3.81 percent

How to Donate to Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Most human rights organizations rely on generous contributions from individuals from a variety of backgrounds to help with a number of services and programs. Financial support can help AAJC work to continue conversations that “determine the policies that shape our lives” and that strengthen Asian American communities and their visibility.

If you are interested in making a financial contribution, you can make a one-time donation or sign up to make a monthly contribution. You can also give a monetary gift to Asian Americans Advancing Justice as an honor or memorial to someone in your life.

Another easy and convenient way to donate to the organization is by selecting AAJC as the non-profit charity of your choice on AmazonSmile; a portion of your eligible purchase goes directly to the charity.

Getting involved beyond contributions

If you want to do more for Asian Americans Advancing Justice than give a financial contribution, you may be an ideal candidate for one of their paid positions or as an intern. Check the website for job postings and internship opportunities.

Staying “in the know”

You don’t need to work for the AAJC to be an advocate for Asian American communities throughout the US. One of the best ways to be supportive and become an advocate is by staying up-to-date on current events and all issues that directly affect Asian Americans.

The AAJC keeps their website up-to-date and frequently posts news articles. An easy and convenient way to stay connected and support Asian Americans Advancing Justice is by signing up to be on the email list.

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