Unrestricted gift to the Women’s Empowerment Program will enable cutting-edge strategies for women’s empowerment and gender integration into Asia Foundation programs
San Francisco, August 2, 2013 — The Asia Foundation today announced a generous unrestricted gift from Gina Lin Chu, a resident of New York City, to the Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment Program. Ms. Chu, a native of Taiwan, is a trustee of The Asia Foundation and a founding member of the Lotus Circle, a community of individuals working with the Foundation to empower women and girls in Asia to help them reach their full potential. The Asia Foundation, with its unparalleled networks of local Asian government ministries and local Asian NGOs, is a recognized pioneer in the improvement of social, economic, and political opportunities for women in Asia, including their education, legal rights and economic opportunities.
“Ms. Chu is a not only a committed advocate for the advancement of women and girls, she is also a volunteer of a rare breed: one who truly understands the value of unrestricted support” said Carol Yost, senior director of the Women’s Empowerment Program at The Asia Foundation. After consulting with her program team, Yost decided to utilize Ms. Chu’s gift to launch a new ‘Gender Smart’ Initiative that will seamlessly integrate gender into the Foundation’s work throughout Asia, making The Asia Foundation truly ‘gender smart’. Matching support from the Lotus Circle will further leverage Ms. Chu’s gift. “In an organization in which the vast majority of funding is project-restricted, it is a challenge to find resources to that allow us to innovate and build our capacity internally.” Yost continued, “We are gratified by Ms. Chu’s demonstration of trust in our ability to employ her support where we know it will have the most impact.”
The new initiative will strengthen the Foundation as a whole, securing its place as one of the world’s foremost development organizations committed to the advancement of the Asia-Pacific region. Specifically, it will provide in-depth training so that local staff are well positioned to incorporate gender-specific considerations into their program design; ongoing dialogue and coordination between staff in field offices on new strategies and lessons learned; and sharing of new insights and analysis with the international community through publications and high-visibility speaking engagements. Over all, the initiative will help expand women’s participation in policymaking; increase the representation of women in legislatures; promote budgets that respond to the needs of women as well as men; and advance women’s rights.
Ms. Yost added: “Societies that discriminate against women pay a heavy price in terms of higher poverty rates, slower economic growth, and weak governance. Through the creation of a new cadre of gender specialists in Asia, Ms. Chu is enhancing our ability to promote societies in which women are full and equal participants.”
See The 3rd Annual Lotus Leadership Luncheon for images of Ms. Chu and others in New York City raising awareness and funds for women’s empowerment.