Dear Subscriber

Happy 2020! Welcome to our January newsletter.

See below for member updates, events recap, and our organizational spotlight featuring the Korean American Community Foundation (KACF) of San Francisco led by CKA Member Lina Park .

We also included a special section to recognize a few of our community's trailblazers in media and film.

Remember to like us on  Facebook  and follow us on  Twitter  for more news and updates about CKA.

Thank you.

Paul Park
Program Manager
CKA Member Updates
Daniel Aum published a piece in the North Korean Review on how Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un used the history of the Korean War as one of their policy tools to achieve various political purposes.
Ricky Choi served as a panelist at the International Diabetes Federation Congress in Busan, South Korea to talk about the role of big tech in diabetes care.
Duyeon Kim wrote about the absence of North Korea's "Christmas gift" and 2019 year-end deadline in her latest column " No Christmas Gift from North Korea? Not So Fast " for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and in an International Crisis Group Q&A " Counting Down to North Korea's Year-End Deadline ." She was quoted by CNN and Bloomberg on what to expect in the new year from North Korea.
Susan Kim was interviewed by EdSurge for an in-depth article on her leadership at Edmodo, an education technology company connecting schools and teachers across the world.
Thomas T. Kim joined the Investment Company Institute as Managing Director of the Independent Directors Council . In leading the IDC, Tom advances the education, governance, communication, and public policy priorities of independent directors on the boards of mutual funds, ETFs, closed-end funds, and other registered investment companies.  
Organization Spotlight:
Korean American Community Foundation of San Francisco
Lina Park
Executive Director, Korean American Community Foundation of San Francisco
Can you introduce the work of KACF-SF and some key initiatives under your leadership?

Korean American Community Foundation of San Francisco (KACF-SF) is a philanthropic organization going into its 6th year in the San Francisco Bay Area. Unlike other metropolitan areas with a high concentration of Koreans, the Koreans living in the Bay Area are spread out, so we lack a concentrated and unified base of services for the Korean community. In fact, the Bay Area spans approximately 6,900 square miles over nine counties with three of the largest cities (with a high population of Koreans) being Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose.  

Because of our unique landscape, our role as a philanthropic organization is not only as a funder but also as a connector, convener, and bridge to many of the community-based organizations in the Bay Area. 

Some of our key initiatives in 2020 will be to build the capacity of our nonprofit leaders and organizations, enable connections and collaborative efforts amongst our grantee partners and the greater community, and move knowledge into action in our community through collaborative efforts such as the Census. 
When did you first come across KACF-SF and how did your own Korean American experience shape your decision to lead the organization? 

I first learned of KACF-SF when I was working at an established nonprofit organization in Oakland organizing a gubernatorial candidate roundtable with other Asian American nonprofit executives. A few months after that roundtable, I joined KACF-SF. At that time, I definitely had to reflect deeply on my decision as I was thriving at the organization where I was working. KACF-SF had only been established three years at that time so I knew this would be a risky move, but I like challenges and quite honestly, the data shocked me -- more than 20% of Bay Area Koreans are low-income, approximately 20% seniors live in poverty, Koreans have one of the highest rates of linguistic isolation, and in a Santa Clara County assessment, approximately 40% of suicides were Korean.

I reflected on my own journey as a child of immigrant parents and grandparents. I reflected on the journey of my friends and families throughout my childhood living in nearly every region of the U.S. I realized that these were not isolated family issues, but a community issue we needed to face and address together. 
What were some of the challenges during your transition from the private sector to non-profit?
I will never forget being a volunteer at a nonprofit organization even before I transitioned professionally to the nonprofit sector. I was working at an international PR firm focused on high tech clients. I was asked to help a nonprofit with its communications and outreach efforts. I thought I knew it all and could ‘rescue’ the fledgling nonprofit with my expertise. I put together an incredibly thoughtful presentation on the how-tos of messaging, writing a press release, etc. I remember presenting to a group of five team members at the organization as they patiently listened. After I was done with the presentation, they politely asked if I could write a press release for them. They didn't need me to share my expertise by showing them how to do something, they needed me to share my expertise by rolling up my sleeves and working alongside of them as a volunteer. Since transitioning to the nonprofit sector, that experience reminds me of what I consider one of the biggest challenges but also one of the most rewarding aspects of the work. Many in the nonprofit sector have very big goals with very limited resources, so we rely on our volunteers, many of whom we know are busy. But what's also rewarding is working with their passion as it does fuel our work.
What is a typical day like for you at the office?

KACF-SF began five years ago. I've been in this role for two years, so my typical day continues to vary. In the first year, I focused on learning. This past year, I focused on building staff. In 2020, I look forward to further building our programs and initiatives to more effectively support our community. We are still a start-up, so my days are a bit of a juggling act - leading a staff retreat and filing a tax return in one day or physically moving our office while managing a census grants process. As Linda Lee from KCS said in the previous CKA feature newsletter, lots and lots of coffee is definitely part of a typical day!
What is your future vision of KACF-SF? Are there other areas or new issues that you would like to see KACF-SF get involved in?

As a convener and connector, my vision of the organization is to build an uplifting, inclusive, and collaborative community - one where nonprofit organizations and leaders within our community bring together our strengths for the good of our whole community. 

As a funder, we will focus on building capacity of our nonprofit organizations so that they can continue to grow their efforts to brings wellness through programs that serve the needs of seniors, families, and youth, especially in the areas of mental health, domestic violence, youth empowerment, and senior care. 

One area of focus has been increasing civic engagement efforts as a funder and convener. This past year, we worked collaboratively with the Korean Consulate General of San Francisco and Korean American Community Services of Silicon Valley to hold a first Bay Area Korean/Korean American bilingual Census convening where more than 120 community leaders attended. We spoke in Korean, English, and Konglish! This year, we also set aside and recently distributed Census grants to associations, groups, and nonprofit organizations for grassroots 2020 Census efforts, and we plan to continue convening, collaborating, and supporting our partners throughout 2020 to increase our voice as a Korean and Korean American community. 
How can CKA or the broader Korean American community further assist the work of KACF-SF?

When people ask how they can help, my first response is to get to know us. Come to an event, participate in a community grants process, or volunteer in one of our community volunteer services. I have found that when there is a connection, opportunities to work together on various needs or issues organically arise. I think CKA members have so much to offer to one another and to the greater community. I look forward to connecting with many of you.
Any upcoming KACF-SF events or programs you'd like to share?

We are preparing for our biggest fundraiser of the year now! If you are in the Bay Area, I invite you to attend our 5th Annual Gala on May 16, 2020 at Hyatt San Francisco. More information will be coming soon.
For more information on the Korean American Community Foundation of San Francisco, you can find us at   

Upcoming Events

Security Risks and Challenges on the Korean Peninsula
January 30, 2020

Asia Society Texas Center
Houston, Texas
6:15 - 7:30pm CT

In partnership with the Asia Society Texas Center , CKA is hosting an event on January 30 with CKA Member Jean Lee and Scott Snyder of the Council on Foreign Relations to discuss the security challenges and associated risks on the Korean peninsula.

Register here to attend
Share Your Opinion about
the Korean American Community
The Network for Korean American Leaders (NetKAL) and Dr. Jehoon Lee (Executive Director Emeritus) invite you to participate in a survey project, entitled KORUS Voice 2019 Survey , to assess the Korean American community's level of civic engagement and community members' attitude toward the Korean peninsula.

Please take a few minutes to fill out an online questionnaire to help this NetKAL project. Your responses to this survey will be kept anonymous. Thank you for your participation.
Celebrating Trailblazers and Heroes
The months of December and January have been a momentous time for Korean and Asian Americans in the entertainment world. We want to highlight a few recent stories of trailblazers and heroes in our community. If you see Korean Americans doing amazing things, please make sure to let us know ( email us ). and we will share the news.
  • The 2020 Golden Globe Awards was a historic evening. Asian American actress Awkwafina became the first performer of Asian descent ever to win a lead actress Golden Globe Award for a film. Furthermore, South Korean film Parasite directed by Bong Joon Ho won the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film, becoming the first-ever Korean movie to receive the award.
  • CKA commends the courage of Kellee Kim, a Korean American contestant on the CBS reality series Survivor, for speaking up against sexual misconduct of a fellow male cast member. Despite initially not being taken seriously, Kellee's brave actions and persistence later helped to prompt CBS to remove the male cast member and apologize publicly for the harassment case. Read more about the story here.
  • On January 13, Sophie Kim, daughter of CKA Member Andrew Kim, will make her acting debut in the new Netflix family comedy series, The Healing Powers of Dude. Sophie plays Amara in the series. Read more about the show here and be sure to check out the premiere on January 13!
December Holiday Gatherings
On December 13 and 15 , CKA members hosted holiday parties in San Francisco and Orange County, respectively, for members and their guests. Special thanks to our hosts and organizers Michelle Rhyu , Suzan Lee Paek , and Gloria Lee .
On December 15 , CKA Board Chair, Paul Kim , and CKA Member, Lucy Lee , graciously hosted a holiday dinner for our Public Service Intern (PSI) alumni where they were invited to connect and converse about politics, mentorship, family, and leadership within the Korean American community. Thank you to Paul and Lucy for their hospitality and mentorship towards our next generation of Korean American leaders.
December Events Recap
Eugene, Oregon: On December 11 , CKA and Holt International co-hosted a forum at the U niversity of Oregon where CKA Executive Director Dr. Abraham Kim moderated a conversation with former Ambassador Kathleen Stephens and CKA Member Kee Park on the current security and geopolitics of the Korean Peninsula. Special thanks to CKA Member Susan Cox and Sy Kim at Holt International for organizing the great discussion.
San Francisco, CA: On December 12 , the World Affairs Council , in partnership with CKA, hosted a panel to discuss the current status of U.S.-North Korea relations. CKA Member Kee Park of Harvard Medical School and Kathleen Stephens , President of KEI, were invited to speak about the key issues surrounding nuclear talks and how certain outcomes may impact the lives of people living in the region. Special thanks to Philip Yun , CKA Board Member and President & CEO of the World Affairs Council of Northern California, for moderating the panel. Click here to watch the full discussion.
The Council of Korean Americans (CKA) is a national nonprofit organization. Our mission is to advance the national voice, interest, and influence of the Korean American community through education, collaboration, and leadership development.
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