Our Mission

API Forward’s mission is to develop, through education, civically-engaged, socially-responsible Asian American and Pacific Island leaders and professionals.

Our Vision

API Forward believes in a world where Asian American and Pacific Islanders have equal opportunities and are contributing to the well-being of their local communities.

Why Asian Leaders are Needed

As our population grows more diverse, people in high-level positions remain overwhelmingly white.


According to a 2011 study by the Center for Talent Innovation, Asian Americans are far more likely to have a college degree than the average person, and while they make up just five percent of the population, they constitute 18 percent of the student body at Harvard and 24 percent at Stanford. They have little trouble getting hired, yet they struggle to reach senior management. Asian Americans account for just 1.4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs and 1.9 percent of corporate officers overall.


The story is the same at educational institutions. According to the American Council on Education, nearly seven percent of tenured faculty members in American universities are Asian American, but make up just less than one percent of presidents and chancellors, compared with Hispanics (3 percent of faculty and 4.6 percent of presidents) and African Americans (4.5 percent of faculty and 5.8 percent of presidents).


In national politics, there are 11 Asian Americans in the House (4%) and one in the Senate (1.8%). Currently, there are no Asian Americans in the Obama cabinet. In Oregon, Asians represent 4.3 percent of the population, yet there hasn’t been an Asian to serve in the 90-member Oregon State legislature since Senator John Lim left office in 2009.


The disparity is important. It means API voices are not being heard, leading to policies that fail to take their needs into account. Diversity in leadership helps us better connect with an increasingly multi-ethnic community and enhances inclusiveness.  

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1125 SE Madison St, #103C 

Portland, OR 97214


2019 © API Forward. All rights reserved. API Forward is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.