2021-2022 APIA Scholars Annual Letter from the President



Dear Scholars and Friends,

The past year was marked by changes that at times were progress and at other times were setbacks. We saw students returning to campus and staff transitioning back to the office, and we saw health restrictions loosen and tighten again as new variants and infections spread when we had to be flexible with our return plans. It was a year where we were constantly prioritizing and reprioritizing, making plans and reworking them, constantly pivoting and reacting to a changing landscape while keeping focus on our mission. Through it all, we were always clear about our commitment to student success and advocacy for diversity, equity, and inclusion for our community. We are ending the year even stronger than we started it and we are ambitious about goals in the next year.

As you read our annual report, I hope you share my pride in the programs and support that we have been able to offer our Scholars despite pivoting our in person events to virtual ranging from professional mentorship, our Story Slam, and our mental health initiative. Our Scholarship team awarded 617 scholarships with 75% going to first generation college students and 62% going to families at or below poverty line. Our Development team steered a round-up and donation campaign with Macy’s during AANHPI Heritage Month that raised nearly $1.5 million. Our Research, Policy and Advocacy team made significant progress in working with partners in the academic, policy-making, and AANHPI communities.

In the short time between when we closed  FY22 year and now, we  launched the ELS Summit, led the celebration of the 15th Anniversary of AANAPISIs, deepened our connections with the NHPI and PPEC communities, and facilitated and participated in policy-making discussions with the Under-Secretary of Education, members of Congress, the White House, and the White House Initiative on Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHAPI)

Each year-end allows us to reflect on all we accomplished, and also to look forward to what’s next. In the year ahead we will re-define the meaning of “student success” for APIA Scholars and in turn explore new ways to address student needs and challenges in this post-COVID and complex world.

I am confident in our Board, our staff, and in you- our partners and supporters– that together we will uplift our students’ stories, elevate our brand, and  more deeply explore our work across the US, including a more intentional focus on Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.

I am grateful to each of you for your commitment and generosity to APIA Scholars mission and most importantly, to our scholars. If you are new to us, we are happy that you have taken the time to learn more about our organization and we hope our mission to “Educate. Elevate. Empower.” can be yours as well. Our work, and success at APIA Scholars is a collective and collaborative effort and we ask for your help and support this Giving Season. May your holidays be filled with joy and hope, and as always, thank you for being our partner and supporter.


Noël Harmon

President & Executive Director

November 15, 2022