Empowering New York’s Asian American Community Since 1989

Asian American Federation Celebrates 35th Anniversary Impact Awards  

AAF’s Impact Awards Recognized the Growing Power of the Asian American Community by Celebrating Asian American Leaders   

Funds Raised from Gala Will Help Support AAF’s Continued Mission to Empower Over 1.5 million Asian New Yorkers


NEW YORK, NY – Nearly 450 supporters gathered Friday, June 27, 2024, at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan for the Asian American Federation’s (AAF) 35th Anniversary Impact Awards. The organization’s Impact Awards honor Asian American leaders whose achievements exemplify AAF’s efforts to reshape and empower New York’s AAPI community. The event gathered supporters from the New York area and across the country, including prominent members of the business and creative communities, donors, media, elected officials, and representatives from AAF’s 70 member organizations.  

Speaking on the occasion, Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation, noted: “AAF began as three people working out of a conference room to claim a seat at the decision-making table.  Today, we are 30 staff strong —30 very loud people. Today, there is no ignoring us. We are visible in all the rooms that decide the fate of our community. This gala celebrated an important milestone of the impressive strides and achievements our Asian American community has made over the last 35 years. Through the generosity and support of this community, we continue to fight for policies and services that empower Asian New Yorkers.”  

“With AAF’s advocacy, our data, and our programs, we have the platform to shape the narrative around any issue impacting our community,” Kim Lee, Board Chair said. “Whether we are standing up against violence or demanding our fair share of state and city resources, AAF shows up. But we must do it together. Our power comes from our collective voices.”  

“We can never fall for the trap of false scarcity that any advancement of any minority in America needs to come at the expense of another minority,” said Honoree Soo Kim, Managing Partner, and Chief Investment Officer of Standard General, “The proverbial golden door at the base of the Statue of Liberty should be open for the next generation.” 

“Our purpose is simple – it is to serve the communities we are in. The whole community. Not just a portion of it. And to do that we have to hire, cultivate and empower the next generation of leaders that reflect those communities in which we serve,” said Honoree Ruth Arnauld,  Managing Director and Associate General Counsel, Bank of America.  

“In 1971, my father-in-law, Mr. Chen, and his group of student activist friends had a vision of what they called a humble friendship store that could serve as the bridge between Chinatown and the city, between Asia and America, and between neighbors who otherwise would not have the opportunity to cross paths.” said Honoree Joanne Kwong, President of Pearl River Mart, “I salute every small business owner in this room as well as the dedicated employees who choose to work for them because there is no group that is more creative, more resilient, or more hardworking.” 

“The most essential work that is remembered, that is worth doing, that will define our lives, is not the work that is for each of us, but the work that helps everyone around us.” said Honoree Bing Chen, Executive Chairman, CEO, and Co-founder of Gold House. “If we wait too long to convince ourselves that we are capable of giving anything to this world, we will wait until it’s too late.” 

“We don’t approach food in a way that fits someone else’s idea of what our food should taste like, what it should look like, and what it should feel like. There has been that change coming in Asian cuisine, our communities and culture,” said Honorees Restaurateur Roni Mazumdar, and Chef Chintan Pandya of Unapologetic Foods. “Nothing excites us more than seeing and being around new, underrepresented cuisines, chefs, and communities rising to the occasion to share their culture with everyone. Organizations like AAF empower us to do so, and we thank them for tonight and their continued work.” 

The three–hour event was hosted by emcees Cindy Hsu of CBS News and Arthur Chi’en of Fox 5 in New York and entertainment provided by Broadway performer Telly Leung, and Ajna Dance Company.   

Supported by an impressive list of sponsors and the members of the community, the celebration raised critical funds to support AAF’s ongoing work as the strongest leadership organization in New York advocating for better policies, services, and funding to create more justice and opportunity for the growing community of more than 1.5 million Asian New Yorkers.  

Below is the full list of honorees, elected officials, and performers.  


  • Bing Chen, Executive Chairman, CEO, and Co-founder of Gold House 
  • Joanne Kwong, President of Pearl River Mart 
  • Chef Chintan Pandya and Restaurateur Roni Mazumdar, Unapologetic Foods 
  • Soo Kim, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Standard General 
  • Glen A. Rae and Ruth Arnould, Bank of America 


  • Telly Leung 
  • Ajna Dance Company 

Elected Officials: 

  • Iwen Chu (Senator, D-17)  
  • John Liu (NY State Senator, D-16) 
  • Brian Kavanagh (NY State Senator, D-27) 
  • Linda Lee (Council Member, D-23) 
  • Grace Lee (Assembly Member, D-65) 
  • Amanda Septimo, (Assembly Member, D-84) \ 
  • Steven Raga (Assembly Member, D-30) 
  • Jenifer Rajkumar (Assembly Member, D-38) 
  • Gale Brewer (NY City Council, D-6) 
  • Shekar Krishnan (Council Member D-25) 
  • Brad Lander (NYC Comptroller) 
  • Mark Levine (Manhattan Borough President) 
  • Donovan Richards (Queens Borough President) 
  • Glenn D. Magpantay, (Commissioner, US Commission on Civil Rights) 
  • Ravi Reddi (Senior Advisor, U.S. Senator Gillibrand) 
  • Shawn Ma (Director of Asian American Affairs for Gov. Kathy Hochul) 
  • Sibu Nair (Deputy Director for Asian American Affairs for Gov. Kathy Hochul) 
  • Josiel Estrella (Secretary for Intergovernmental and External Affairs for NY State Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie) 
  • Ian Chan (Deputy Secretary for Intergovernmental and External Affairs for NY State Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie) 
  • Adam Chen (Director of Asian American Affairs for NYS Attorney General Letitia James).  
  • Jae Ko (Senior Advisor to NY City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams) 
  • Office of Jumaane Williams (NYC Public Advocate) 
  • Joon Yong Ahn, (Community Liaison for NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams) 
  • Hassan Naveed (Former ED, Office of Prevention of Hate Crimes) 


ABOUT AAF: The Asian American Federation (AAF) is the strongest leadership organization advocating for better policies, services, and funding that lead to more justice and opportunity for 1.5 million Asian New Yorkers. And we do this work in partnership with our 70 member and partner organizations. We represent the collective interests of Asian New Yorkers on issues of anti-Asian violence, mental health, economic empowerment, immigrant integration, and civic engagement. Our efforts ensure that the Asian community remains visible, our needs are addressed, our contributions are valued, and our stories are told. Find out more at www.aafederation.org.

Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation, welcomes guests to AAF’s 35th Anniversary Impact Awards. Photo credit: John Eng 

The Impact Awards honorees from left to right: Joanne Kwong, Soo Kim, Roni Mazumdar, Chintan Pandya, Ruth Arnould, and Bing Chen. Photo credit: Lia Chang 

Guests raise their bid cards to donate to AAF’s work during the program’s live ask. Photo credit: Lia Chang