Nonprofit Organizations Support Businesses Hit by Pandemic, Recession and Anti-Asian Racism
New York, NY – RTW Charitable Foundation (RTWCF), Send Chinatown Love, Think!Chinatown, Welcome to Chinatown and local business owners today came together to showcase the community’s efforts to help Asian-owned businesses and the Asian community across New York City weather the pandemic and recession.
While all small businesses in New York City have dealt with significant challenges since the start of the pandemic, Asian-owned businesses are also facing anti-Asian racism which harms their ability to stay afloat, pay their bills and feed their families.
Founded as the charitable foundation arm of RTW Investments, LP, a leading healthcare-focused entrepreneurial investment firm with deep scientific expertise and a strong track record of supporting companies developing life-changing therapies, RTWCF partners with organizations conducting disease research and championing humanitarian causes.
While RTWCF’s initial focus is on rare disease research, last year RTWCF quickly redirected its first round of funding to combat the devastating effects that the COVID-19 pandemic had on many communities in New York City, with $1 million of gifts across 12 organizations. The lion’s share of the funding was awarded to 10 community-based organizations on the frontlines of some of the hardest-hit areas in the city. RTWCF is partnering with Send Chinatown Love to feed 2,500 hungry New Yorkers, Welcome to Chinatown to provide small business grants through their Longevity Fund and Think!Chinatown to build spaces for outdoor dining.
Today, staff and volunteers from the organizations sanded and primed such a space for Alimama Tea and Yin Ji Chang Fen, two locally-owned businesses in Manhattan’s Chinatown. It will ultimately be painted with a mural designed by the Asian American artist Chanel Miller. The project represents just one aspect of the work being done to help the Asian-owned small business community.
“All small businesses have struggled during the pandemic, but Asian-owned businesses must deal with the additional challenge of anti-Asian racism and discrimination,” said Roderick T. Wong, chairman of RTW Charitable Foundation. “They were among the first to feel the impact of the pandemic, and as early as February 2020 Chinatown restaurants in Manhattan saw sales decline by 40%. We are honored to be partnering with Send Chinatown Love, Think!Chinatown and Welcome to Chinatown to help our local Asian-owned businesses, which are an essential part of the culture and community of all New York City.”
“It’s incredible the amount of support that the community has given—back when we started to now. Send Chinatown Love has always focused on the small, unheard businesses of Chinatown, and with the support of RTW Charitable Foundation and the community at large, we’ve been able to help our merchants raise over $500,000, build websites for them, redesign their menus and diversify their revenue streams. Together we have been able to give the community a voice and assemble everyone to give hope back to Chinatown. What started as a small token of appreciation to the businesses that we all know and love has turned into a grand movement by the wider AAPI community. The existence of SCL and all the other orgs here show it, this event shows it, and all of us here talking about what we’re talking about now shows it,” said Justin McKibben, founder and president of Send Chinatown Love.
“Struggling small businesses have been the most visible segment of the Chinatown community that has suffered due to the pandemic and xenophobia directed at Asian Americans. But if you understand our neighborhood from the inside, you can also see how our cultural and social organizations that keep our community healthy and whole, especially our seniors, need attention and care. Think!Chinatown takes a holistic approach to supporting Chinatown through this incredibly challenging time with our work in storytelling, arts, and neighborhood engagement. RTW Charitable Foundation’s support is helping us build outdoor spaces that restaurants can use to serve more customers. API artist create murals to celebrate the businesses we are supporting and beautify our neighborhood… our cultural home. Today’s event, where different organizations and volunteers came together to support the community, is a true example of the spirit and vibrancy of Chinatown that we aim to preserve and uplift,” said Yin Kong, director and co-founder of Think!Chinatown.
“We’re excited to come together with fellow community organizations today to bring revitalization and energy back into Chinatown following an unprecedented year of challenges and hardships on its small businesses. Today’s event represents what Chinatown is all about — community and connection — and together, we’re helping to build a more sustainable future for Chinatown’s small businesses. We appreciate RTW Charitable Foundation’s contributions to Chinatown through its donation to Welcome to Chinatown’s Longevity Fund to enable us to serve the community further,” said Jennifer Tam, co-founder and head of marketing and communications for Welcome to Chinatown.
The day was the last in a series of events that RTW Charitable Foundation held with COVID-19 relief grantees across the city. RTWCF’s current grant cycle, which closes on April 15th, funds research into rare diseases.
About RTW Charitable Foundation
Founded in 2018 as the charitable foundation arm of RTW Investments, LP, RTW Charitable Foundation works to improve opportunities for all people to live healthier, longer lives, and was created at the intersection of scientific advancements and humanitarian efforts. The Foundation funds disease research, patient support, education and advocacy efforts to alleviate human suffering. To learn more, visit www.rtwcf.org. For grant applications please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.