Asian Americans for Equality (New York, NY)


  • Name:Douglas Lim
  • Title:Development & Communications Coordinator

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Asian Americans for Equality
  • Address:111 Division Street
    New York, NY 10002
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:2129798988

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • Asian Americans for Equality's mission is to advance the rights of Asian Americans and all those in need through advocacy for and access to civil rights, immigrant assistance, social services, affordable housing, and economic development; to empower our communities through research and publications that embody our issues and concerns; and to foster understanding and unity among diverse communities through building coalitions and forming collaborations.

  • Overview:
  • Founded in 1974 to advocate for equal rights, AAFE has transformed in the past four decades to become one of New York’s preeminent housing, social service and community development organizations. AAFE is committed to preserving affordable housing throughout New York and to providing new opportunities for the city’s diverse immigrant communities. Employing innovative approaches, the organization has preserved and developed 86 buildings, creating more than 700 units of housing. It has secured almost $250 million in mortgage financing for home buyers and disbursed $13 million in loans to hundreds of small businesses. Through a wide range of multilingual counseling services, AAFE provides education, financial assistance and training to empower people, small businesses and neighborhoods. Its research, advocacy and grassroots organizing initiatives help to shape government policy and to effect positive change. At its heart, AAFE embodies the hopes and dreams of New York’s many vibrant immigrant communities, and helps turn those dreams into reality.

    Affordable Housing Development and Preservation: AAFE has developed and preserved 86 buildings creating almost 700 units of affordable housing through the reinvestment of $88 million into low-income communities. The overall objective of AAFE’s Real Estate Development department is to provide NYC’s low- and moderate- income residents affordable rental and homeownership opportunities, consisting of multi-family and single-family housing development. Though not entirely separate, AAFE’s multi-family development projects focus primarily on rental unit acquisition, rehabilitation, and development, while its single-family development projects focus on creating homeownership opportunities for New York City’s income-eligible first-time homebuyers.

    Community Organizing and Leadership Development: AAFE empowers young people, community residents, stakeholders and supporters through grassroots education, organizing, leadership development, and policy advocacy. We mobilize the Asian American community to speak out on immigrant, housing and quality of life issues. Our work includes ongoing safe and affordable housing campaigns, voter education, registration and mobilization, and community leadership development. We participate in neighborhood and citywide coalitions to advance policies that will have a positive impact on our constituents. Objectives include:
    •Educate the broader community on four core issue areas: tenant rights, affordable housing, quality of life improvements, and environmental health for residents;
    •Train and build tenant leadership to form community membership organizations, such as tenant associations, and to mount campaigns on housing related issues;
    •Partner with local and state elected officials to engage residents directly and to organize and provide services to the tenants in their constituencies; and
    •Involve residents directly impacted by city policies, rezonings and neighborhood development by helping them to understand the impacts of these actions, and that they have a say in how the neighborhood is developed.

    Housing Legal, Immigration, and Community Services: AAFE assists over 10,000 clients annually and continues to educate residents through one-on-one sessions and weekly group workshops. We assist low-income residents with tenant rights, entitlement benefits, naturalization, and ESL. At least 20,000 clients are reached annually through our community festivals, seminars, and street fairs. We provide rental counseling and legal representation that ensure seniors, low-income adults and working families have a free, bilingual resource to protect them from illegal intimidation and eviction. Objectives include:
    •Create an informed and educated immigrant community;
    •Provide comprehensive services that include education and outreach, direct counseling, legal services, strategic impact litigation, and advocacy with a commitment to quality service;
    •Empower immigrants to assert their rights and to be active participants in American society; and
    •Promote intercommunity relations and fair treatment of immigrants and other low-income residents.

    Youth & Family Development: AAFE currently serves over 250 students and their families with one-on-one college guidance and financial literacy counseling, youth and parent leadership development and other activities that promote college readiness.

  • History:
  • In 1974, a group of like-minded residents formed Asian Americans for Equal Employment to protest discriminatory hiring practices in the construction of the federally-financed Confucius Plaza housing complex in Manhattan’s Chinatown. A private developer, the DeMatteis Corp., refused to hire Asians and other minorities. Six months of unrelenting protests in Chinatown by Asians, as well as Black and Latino groups, culminated in a stunning civil rights victory. DeMatteis agreed to hire 27 minority employees, including Asians.

    The surprising turn-of-events demonstrated the power of community engagement in Chinatown and led to the founding of Asian Americans for Equality. Following the Confucius Plaza triumph, AAFE stepped up to vigorously fight for civil liberties, not only in New York but nationwide. The organization helped lead 20,000 protesters at City Hall, after a 27-year old architectural engineer, Peter Yew, was brutally beaten by police during a traffic stop. AAFE also demanded justice for Vincent Chin, who was killed in a racially motivated attack in Michigan in 1982.

    Fresh off successes on the picket lines, AAFE’s leaders began to look for solutions to Chinatown’s most vexing problems: substandard living conditions, a lack of economic opportunity and inadequate access to social services for Chinese immigrants. In the early 1980s, the organization began providing assistance to residents facing harassment from their landlords, living in illegally subdivided rooms and facing extortion from unscrupulous building owners. AAFE served as an intermediary between existing housing organizations and people in desperate need of help. Through a campaign called “Fight Gentrification and Save Chinatown,” the organization set up tenant associations and trained tenant leaders. In 1983, AAFE won a class action lawsuit which the organization filed to stop the “Special Manhattan Bridge District,” another instrument of gentrification. While the ruling was later reversed, the case remained a major victory for affordable housing that served as a big obstacle to developers.

    Asian Americans for Equality embarked on a major transformation in 1985 in the aftermath of a fatal fire at 54 Eldridge Street. The fire was caused when the building’s outdated wiring overloaded, after residents — forced to live without heat or hot water in the dead of winter — resorted to using electric heaters. Following this tragedy, which killed two elderly tenants and left 125 homeless, AAFE realized the time had come to move beyond advocacy to the development of new housing options for those in need. The organization secured financing to purchase two buildings for temporary and permanent low-income housing. “Equality Houses” at 176 and 180 Eldridge Street opened in 1989, pioneering New York City’s utilization of the Low Income Tax Credit to create affordable housing.

    This successful project set the stage for AAFE to become one of the city’s leading developers of low-income housing. In 1997, AAFE was called to take over a nine-building rehabilitation project on the Lower East Side after another non-profit abruptly shuttered. AAFE won a Maxwell Award from the Fannie Mae Foundation for its management of the project. The collaborative effort also firmly established AAFE as a trusted partner in both the non-profit world and among city agencies.

    AAFE staff was challenged by the events of September 11, 2011 like never before. In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, AAFE served as a conduit between frightened residents and government agencies. AAFE served as the designated entity helping Chinatown residents apply for federal grants intended to stabilize Lower Manhattan. It also spearheaded the “Rebuild Chinatown Initiative,” a partnership with other downtown groups to rejuvenate a neighborhood that lost 8,000 jobs after 9/11.

    In 2009, AAFE was on the scene at 22 James Street in Chinatown, after a terrible building fire killed three residents and displaced 13 families. A year later, when an even more devastating fire swept through three buildings on Grand Street, AAFE staff was there again to help residents cope. In both cases, Asian Americans for Equality advocated on behalf of tenants, filing legal actions which eventually forced building owners to make repairs and return residents to their rightful homes.

  • Year established:1974
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:9
  • Advisory board size:
  • Staff size:85


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:None
  • Tax ID:13-3187792

Other Organization Web

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:133187792
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:
  • Organization Address:2 ALLEN STREET 7FL
  • Organization City:NEW YORK
  • Organization State:NY
  • Organization Zip:10002-5302
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):1
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Charitable Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:April, 1986
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:15
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public 170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
  • Activity Code(s):408
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):Community service organization
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:December, 2016
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:December
  • NTEE Code:
  • Asset Amount:$11,580,239
  • Asset Code:8 ($10,000,000 - $49,999,999)
  • Income Amount:$6,552,972
  • Income Code:7 ($5,000,000 - $9,999,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$6,421,181
  • Last Updated:2/18/2018 10:02:54 pm

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.