Welcome our new President

Welcome On Board

“If you want to go far, fly together.” Sandy Chau, Chairman of Civic Leadership USA once said in our 2018 Leadership Retreat with over 30 civic leaders from around the country and planned the seed for this expansion.

We are excited to welcome our new President of Civic Leadership USA, Andy Li to join our team and further our two mandates: (1) Civic leadership development with a moral compass; and (2) coalition building among AAPIs and beyond.

Currently, Andy is serving as board member of the Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board, president of API Coalition and Secretary of Asian Pacific Islander Trustees & Administrators (APITA) caucus in California, in addition to the award committee of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) at the national level in community college.

A longtime local Rotary member, he is also serving as a board member of the Leadership San Ramon Valley Program, steering committee member of San Ramon Valley Diversity Coalition. In the past, he served as the PTA Committee Chair, School Site Council and as a committee member in local government, including the City of San Ramon’s Economic Development Advisory Committee, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District Parcel Tax Oversight Committee, and Contra Costa County Managed Care Commission.


New 2022 Grant Programs

Thank you for your interest in partnering with Civic Leadership USA in civic leadership development and coalition building among AAPIs and beyond. With diligent and thoughtful assistance from our Strategic Development Consultant, Julian Munoz, and our committed National Task Force Planning Committee, we have discussed and listened to many #AAPI organization leaders in developing a more relevant and comprehensive #grants guideline. The Request for Proposal (#RFP) of 2022 and appendix are truly a labor of love and teamwork. Together we can turn the tide.

For more details about RFP, check here.

Like us on FB (@CLUSAcivicleadershipusa) and follow us (@civicleadershipusa) on IG to receive the most updated information about the AAPI community and beyond!



Solidarity- The AAPI Community ~ September 24-25, 2021

On September 24-25, the community partners organize a series of virtual webinars and in-person events for all AAPI communities nationwide. They provide a wide range of opportunities for all attendees, from a government career fair to leadership development training. In addition to networking with many civic/community leaders and public servants from different city, state, and federal levels. Join us to stand up & speak out together!
Explore more about all events&webinars:

Thanks to all organizers from the community nationwide:

Asian American Unity Coalition

Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC)

Commonwealth Club of California

San Francisco Community Alliance for Unity, Safety, and Education -SF CAUSE

and more……..

Like us (CLUSAcivicleadershipusa) on #fb and follow us (@civicleadershipusa) on #Ig to receive the most updated information regarding the #AAPI community and beyond!

Change Is the Only Constant in Life

June 1st, 2021
Dear all: 
Thank you for your interest and partnership in civic leadership development and unity/coalition-building among AAPI communities. As you may know, Civic Leadership USA (CLUSA) has frozen most of its international grant-making in 2020-2021 and is in the process of re-examining our current national grant marking strategy and developing a new RFI/RFP process in response to all of these changes in the country.  
To prepare for the transition, our board decided to outsource the 2021 internship grants administration to the Civic Leadership Academy (CLA), a new nonprofit that we supported. Thus, CLUSA will be able to focus on developing new funding guidelines for 2022. Our board is expecting more comprehensive grant programs that focus on civic leadership development and unity/coalition-building among AAPIs and beyond. 
To assure a smooth transition, the 2021 internship grant program administration and monitoring will be handled by the same program team that spins off to CLA for continuity as of June 1, 2021. As the CLUSA will launch brand new grant guidelines & RFP process of 2022 this fall and will need a new infrastructure and consultant team in strategic grantmaking. In the meantime, we are conducting various Requests For Information (RFI) meetings with current and potential strategic partners around the country to listen and shape future guidelines that are more relevant and responsive. (Diverse in Leadership and Inclusive in Participation). More details will be announced this fall. Stay tuned. 
Anthony Ng 
Executive Director

Thank You to the Peer Review Committee (PRC)

Thank you to all the members of the peer review committee for the 2021 #CLUSA “Public Service Internship Grant”.
For more detailed information about each committee member, click here, then click on the “Menu” (a burger menu icon) shown on the right edge of the screen, choose the member whose name you wish to locate, and then click on it.
Civic Leadership USA is grateful for the hard work of our Peer Review Committee (PRC) in the 2021 Public Service Internship grant cycle. Our board has approved the following organizations as the recipients of this round of Internship grants.
  • Asian American Community Initiative (AACI)
  • Alliance of Chinese American San Diego (ACA SD)
  • Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA)
  • Asian Pacific Islander Community Leaders of Oregon (APICO)
  • Chinese American Parent Association of  Howard County (CAPAHC)
  • Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE)
  • Coalition for A Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC)
  • Cal State East Bay Educational Foundation
  • National Institute of Health – Future Start Program
  • Hanlin Education Foundation of America
  • Muslim Educational Trust (MET)
  • National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA)
  • OCA – Greater Houston
  • United Chinese American – Illinois 

Congratulations and thank you for your partnership in civic leadership development!


Civic Leadership USA (CLUSA) Joins Leading Chinese-Americans to Highlight Concerns Amid Rising U.S – China Tensions

CLUSA among nearly 300 leaders in science, technology, government, education, and business convening to address the human impacts of geopolitics

San Mateo, CA (OCTOBER 3, 2019) – Last weekend CLUSA joined a group of leading policy makers, legal experts, educators, business leaders and scientists in Silicon Valley to tackle the impact of rising U.S. – China tensions on the Chinese American community and American society as a whole. Brought together by the Committee of 100 (C100), a non-profit American organization of prominent and extraordinary Chinese Americans, the group detailed a heightened rise in scrutiny of Chinese Americans and people of Chinese descent, especially those who work in science and technology, and the chilling effect on civil liberties, as well as American science, technology and research initiatives.

CLUSA (Civic Leadership USA) is a 501(c)(3) incorporated in Washington DC in 2013. Our main objectives are to empower and organize the Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) communities, to create a national network of civic-minded organizations and leaders and work in unity. The principal activity of CLUSA is to sponsor Civic Leadership Forums aimed at training APIA to participate in the political process and our civic life.

At the conference, speakers detailed the negative impact of a climate of fear and suspicion on individual scientists and researchers, as well as on a wide range of industries, universities, research institutions and businesses critical to U.S. innovation and economic leadership.

“We are a nation built on immigrants, and we must not allow our fears to create an environment that erodes America’s talent pool nor America’s values of equal opportunity for all, freedom of inquiry, scientific integrity, and openness,” noted H. Roger Wang, Chairman of C100.

C100 research from 2017 shows that the percentage of people of Chinese heritage charged under the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) tripled from 2009 to 2017, and those defendants of Asian heritage convicted of espionage received sentences over twice as severe as those of other ethnicities. As an output of the conference, C100 will generate recommendations to share with congressional leaders, the scientific and educational communities, law-enforcement, businesses, and civic organizations and communities.

“It is our hope to come together and find balanced solutions that protect national security, uphold the civil liberties of all Americans, and continue to foster the welcoming environment for the development of science, technology and research that America has always been known for,” said Charlie Woo, Conference Chair and Acting Vice Chair of the Committee of 100.

About CLUSA:

MEDIA CONTACT: Anthony Ng;; (650) 484-7113


ICE Raids Have Begun- What You Need to Know

ICE Raids Have Begun- What You Need to Know

By Jennifer Ong
I recently joined a newly formed non-profit Board that will provide wraparound services for new immigrants while prioritizing training programs leading to meaningful employment. In this new Board, I have had the privilege of working with a fellow Board member who is an immigration attorney in the Bay Area. Sadly, she has confirmed that the ICE Raids have begun. Since last Sunday, a few arrests in Contra Costa County involved individuals getting into their cars to go to work in the morning.
According to a press release on July 10, 2019, ” Those affected were in the counties of Contra Costa, Santa Clara, and Sonoma, with reports indicating that at least one case involved an unlawful arrest motivated by racial profiling, while another individual was reportedly coerced by ICE into effectively signing a deportation order…(including) repeated instances in which attorneys responding on behalf of detained individuals were denied access to their clients.”
Most of us unfortunately have endured limited civil and human rights in many of our native countries of origin. I know, personally, my family looked forward to escaping martial law knowing that the respect for due process seemed almost uniquely American compared to what we have known.
Racial profiling can mean that you are here legally but because you resemble other targeted ethnicities, you may be faced with the consequences of mistaken identity and detention without access to legal counsel.
The ILRC and other CBOs are providing mass printing of Red Cards “Know Your Rights ” and they have an online toolbox for family preparedness that is very comprehensive. . As Networks continue to monitor ICE enforcement, please report ICE activity to your local hotlines to verify rumors and avoid panic in our communities.


Contacts include The Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco at 415-782-8912 and media contacts for the press release: Edwin Carmona-Cruz at 415-652-0663; Juan Prieto at 510-414-0953 and Ali Saidi at 510-928-5434.

As I have learned repeatedly in my leadership at the League of Women Voters Eden Area, democracy is tireless work and it must involve community members who stay informed and participate in government so we can all look after each other.


Civic Leadership USA – 2019 National Internship Essay Contest

Civic Leadership USA – 2019 National Internship Essay Contest

Purpose of the Essay Contest:

Although Asian Americans are high achievers in many areas, our civic participation levels are relatively low when compared to other ethnic groups. CLUSA is pleased and highly encouraged that up to 30 AAPI organizations nationwide and approximately 240 outstanding young men and women are participating in this year’s Public Service Internship program. The 2019 Internship Essay Contest by CLUSA is open to all the interns to join and share their amazing experiences and stories


The purpose of this Essay Contest is to:

  • Encourage the interns to be more civic-minded
  • Stimulate participants to observe, contemplate and to gain more from their internship experience
  • Encourage other young people to join and contribute to public service by sharing personal, first-hand stories with them



The contest is open to all 2019 CLUSA internship grant participants. Only one essay per participant(intern).


Essay Topic:

Contestants are encouraged to use their own internship experience this year to write about:

  • Why civic engagement and public service is important to our society
  • Their internship experience and their own journey towards civic engagement or public service
  • Why AAPI must be more civic engaged
  • Role models in public service/civic engagement they may have met during the internship
  • Inspirational stories and personal experiences in this year internship program


Essay Length:

Essays should be about 500 words in length.


Other Guidelines:

  • Plagiarism is not allowed.
  • Essays must be written in English.
  • Using the link provided below to submit your work in a Microsoft Word document.
  • You may include images/illustrations/diagrams in your work, mainly if they illustrate the topic or your ideas.


You can enter the Essay Contest from July 15 – August 31, 2019.

The final essay must be submitted by August 31, 2019.

The judging period is from September 1 – 30, 2019.

Winners and Prizes will be announced in early October 2019.


Judging and Essay Review Committee:

Joel Wong, Chair, CLUSA Editorial Committee

Sandy Chau, CLUSA Founder and Chair

Congressman David Wu, CLUSA Vice Chair

Diana Ding, Founder and CEO DingDingTV

Dr. Michael Chang, APALI Founder and Executive Director

Anthony Le, APALI Deputy Director

Anthony Ng, CLUSA Executive Director

Qing Bai, CLUSA Director of Admission and Education

Wen Yuan, CLUSA Director of IT and Communication

Chuck Ng, CLUSA Director of Community Outreach and Development

Other Judges invited from the grantee organizations and the AAPI community



First Prize (1) – $ 500

Runners Up (2) – $ 300

Third Prize (3) – $ 100

Merit Awards (up to 20) – $ 50

All Essay Participants will be awarded a CLUSA Certificate of Merit for participation.

Selected Essays will be published on the CLUSA website, promoted on Facebook, DingDing TV, and other public media.


How to Enter:

Please click the link below and follow the specific instructions to participate.



Please contact Qing Bai, Director of Administration & Education, CLUSA


Phone: 1-408-2508436


Targeted Census for Asian Americans in 2020

By Jennifer Ong
June 27, 2019

As I re-examined the immigrant experience of the Filipino and Southeast Asian communities incorporating information from a press conference earlier today highlighting immigrants and the census ruling by the Supreme Court, I came to a realization that this truly is a critical time for Asian Pacific Islanders in the U.S. We must come together now that we are statistically the fastest growing ethnic population in the U.S., have the highest likelihood of distrust in participating in the 2020 census and, locally, compose the majority of the populations in Santa Clara and Alameda Counties in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

The immigrant experience for different ethnic communities (and generations) can influence the degree to which a particular ethnic community will participate in the upcoming 2020 census. Services and communication methods employed to encourage participation in the census will need to be specific to the targeted generations of Asian Americans who may not have had experience with a previous census, have language and technological barriers and continue to fear and distrust government.

My Filipino Immigrant Story

It’s been 38 years since we lived in the Philippines experiencing martial law and increased lawlessness and crime during my childhood creating an urgency for our family’s migration to the U.S. It has truly been an American dream for our parents to put all four children through college with my father working as a produce clerk at Lucky’s grocery and my mother’s employment at the Oakland Coliseum concession stands. These were union jobs that allowed us four children access to health care and affordable college through student loans and part-time work.

The immigrant application process was arduous. It took over ten years of my parents’ sacrifice, including my mother’s employment in government and my father’s entrepreneurial role in his family’s grocery store business, to exchange for the promise of safety, a more transparent and fair government and better opportunities for their children.

My story is one variation of the Filipino American immigrant experience and, as we look at the Southeast Asian new immigrant, refugee and asylum seekers’ stories, the cultural challenges we face together to belong as Americans are similar in varying degrees. To understand what inspires us to overcome those barriers, to continue to thrive and to proceed to help others, we must understand each other’s past experiences.

Contrasting Histories of Southeast Asian Immigration by Jennifer Ong

Filipinos in America

Asian Americans, the group most likely to say the Census will use “(their answers) against them” have the fastest growing rate of documented and undocumented immigrants with a sizable number who are Filipinos.

Filipinos are “the fourth largest immigrant community in the U.S. perhaps as high as 3.5 million because of the unaccounted number of undocumented Filipinos or TNTs — for tago ng tago, literally in perpetual hiding.” Sadly, the current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has already declared that he will “not lift a finger” for any of undocumented Filipinos overseas who are caught and deported.

The Philippines was considered a colony of the United States with fluctuations in politics and the workforce demand leading to its commonwealth status then to the declaration of Philippine independence in 1945 followed by the reclassification of Filipinos as aliens. At the end of World War II, Filipino servicemen were promised American citizenship for fighting the Japanese but having that promise fail to come to fruition, Filipina war brides and health care workers instead contributed to the next wave of Filipino immigrants.

The majority of Filipinos who immigrated after the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 were skilled professionals and technicians. Remittances to the Philippines account for over 10 percent of the Philippines’ GDP with nearly half from the United States in 2015. The 2010 Census counted Filipino Americans as the country’s second largest self-reported Asian ancestry group after Chinese Americans and are also the largest population of Filipinos overseas.

The Immigration Experience of The Cambodian Community

Cambodian refugees began arriving in the United States in greater numbers after the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge in 1979. The 1980 Census identified nearly half of the 16,044 Cambodian immigrants as refugees followed in the 1980s by liberal refugee admission policies increasing immigration nine times to 149,047 in the 1990 Census. Language barriers, mistrust of strangers and government, ongoing challenges with refugee resettlement and unusual residence and household composition have created suspicion of repeated undercounting of Cambodian Americans by the Census Bureau.

The Cambodian community as a whole still deals with a “high poverty rate, poor English fluency (56 % were identified as “linguistically isolated”) with low levels of educational achievement (only 6 % of Cambodians over 25 y.o have a bachelor’s degree).” The Khmer Rouge genocide decimated the educated and professional classes thereby extinguishing the remaining population’s access to education resulting in Cambodians having the lowest educational level averaging 3.1 years of education before arriving in the U.S. Cambodians’ historically oppressive government developed fear and distrust of government and a detachment to civic responsibilities.

The language barrier has made it difficult for many parents from the first generation to pass the English language portion of the citizenship test. Many of the 1.5 generation of Cambodian Americans (young people raised in America since infancy or early childhood) remain non-citizens- a vulnerable status for the ever-changing U.S. policies. Even when Cambodian Americans come from highly educated backgrounds, their education is not transferable to the American workplace and they are handicapped by their language skills.

Regardless of their parents’ limited educational background, many young Cambodian Americans do well in school and dedicate themselves to acquiring more education with only 6% of Cambodian Americans 16-19 y.o. reported as high-school dropouts (vs. 10% of white Americans and 14% of African Americans in the same age group).


Civic Leadership Forum- What are challenges facing Asian Americans?

The Civic Leadership Forum is organized by Ding Ding TV and India Currents, supported by CLUSA on May 3rd at Ding Ding TV Studio.
The keynote speaker Xiaoyan Zhang, Ph.D. Data Scientist delivered and explained that Asian Americans lack a political presence, as only a handful hold elected offices at the local and national levels. He explained how “All boats are lifted when the water rises,” meaning that Asian-Americans need to work together to achieve political parity. More importantly, they must vote. He pointed out that most elections are won by 5 to 10% of votes cast; thus the participation of Asian Americans can have a significant impact.
Anthony Ng, Executive Director of CLUSA, stated that Asians have to participate to be “at the table” in national politics, even if they don’t immediately win a seat. Joel Wong, Editor for CLUSA, emphasized the importance of the presidential candidacy of Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard, who are both AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islanders) presidential candidates. Their candidacy raises the political image and awareness of Asian Americans, significant factors for the success of future Asian American candidates.
The forum closed with a performance by the top 10 Indian American dancers from the Abhinaya Dance Company, who gave an interpretation of “I Have a Dream,” the life of Martin Luther King and his leadership in the African American community. The performance reflected American multi-ethnic diversity, and the challenges minorities face in gaining civic leadership.


Thanks to our partners – Shin Shin Youth Group and Abhinaya dance company.