Why It Matters

Korean Americans are the fifth largest Asian American ethnic group in the U.S., with a population of over 1.7 million and more than 500,000 in California alone. In the San Francisco Bay Area, we are the sixth largest Asian population with approximately 90,000 residents.

Korean Americans are often considered a “model minority” and while there is much to celebrate about our community’s accomplishments, it masks serious unmet needs of many in our community. KACF-SF raises awareness of these needs, supports community organizations that are on the frontlines addressing these needs, and helps donors maximize the impact of their contributions to help build a stronger community.


  • 22% of Bay Area Korean Americans are low-income and 11% live in poverty
  • 16% of Korean Americans in the Bay Area are uninsured
  • Nearly 1 in 5 Bay Area Korean Americans report serious psychological distress and, in California,
    Korean Americans have the highest deaths by suicide rate among all ethnic and racial groups
  • More than 3 out of 4 Koreans in California have limited English proficiency,
    affecting their ability to access basic services such as healthcare
  • More than 20% of Korean American seniors in the U.S. live in poverty

A recent survey of the health and social needs of the Bay Area’s Korean community, conducted by the Korean Community Center of the East Bay, a KACF-SF grantee partner, in partnership with Health Research for Action at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, unveiled critical unmet needs such as those above. Read the survey report’s executive summary, or access the full report & seven policy briefs here.



“For many years, I had to forego health insurance. Life was hard as is and there was no way I could afford it. Even though I heard about Obamacare, it was extremely confusing, especially because I don’t understand English very well. KCCEB came out to my church to kindly explain what Obamacare is and how I could benefit from it. Thanks to their help, I was able to enroll my family. Right after we got enrolled, my husband suddenly needed emergency medical care. This could have pushed us to bankruptcy, but now we are covered and well taken care of.”                                            – Korean Community Center of the East Bay (KCCEB) member

“Considering my age, it is very difficult to use public transportation, especially in the summer and winter. Without this outreach program, I would have to use multiple public transportation services that would take about an hour to get to KACS.”
– Korean senior living in Section 8 housing, Los Gatos

“One Korean woman [experiencing domestic violence] was referred to us by her family lawyer. When she came to us she was very confused and worried; understandably she had a lot of anxiety about her immigration status. Our women’s advocate sat down with her and helped her to think through all the concerns she had. After a few meetings, you could tell not just in terms of practical needs but also emotionally too, she felt very relieved. She was smiling a lot more. She saw a way forward.”
– Josephine Suh, Asian Americans for Community Involvement

Partner with us for Change

In the face of these needs, there is a serious dearth of resources going to address the Korean American community. For example, while Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs) are over 26 percent of the Bay Area population, less than one percent of foundation funding goes to API-serving organizations. As a “minority among minorities,” Korean Americans benefit even less from public and private resources.

KACF-SF is committed to closing this resource gap. As the first and only foundation for and by Korean Americans outside of New York, we seek to promote a culture of giving, to help Korean Americans who want to give back to strategically invest in building a stronger community through collective philanthropy.

Whether it’s by giving $5, $500 or $5,000, anyone can become a donor and make a difference. We invite you to join us to improve lives and build an empowered, vibrant, and resilient community that represents the best of American immigrants and that contributes to a stronger society in this country.