Though I had a general understanding of the challenges faced by most immigrant communities, including language barrier and employment issues, the needs within the Korean American community were still intangible until I began to work with organizations that address them on a day-to-day basis and saw the needs first hand.
In the Capacity Building program, I became aware of the challenges facing the youth in our community, such as the lack of leadership development opportunities and their lack of ability to empathize with the needs of their communities because of the societal pressure to prioritize and excel in academics.
Design thinking is a trending problem-solving tool in the nonprofit field that requires a lot of creativity and risk-taking for any audience. Though these concepts are a bit foreign to the Korean audience, translating these exercises in a culturally sensitive way and utilizing the same processes, such as empathizing, ideating, prototyping, etc., helped foster collaboration among the Korean organizations.
KACF’s Capacity Building program is unique in its ability to provide cultural and language sensitive assistance and to go deep with each client and support them through implementation. In being involved in this work, I was able to see that the Foundation’s impact on the nonprofits has a domino effect on the Korean American community. As we help various nonprofits better serve their clients who are low-income Korean Americans, we are able to increase the economic security of Korean Americans as a whole.