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Overview

AAPI LIFT is a new leadership program that supports Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the private sector who are curious about entering public service as an elected official or serving on a local board or commission. This six-month training and mentorship program, delivered by AAPI political professionals, offers practical insights about setting policy, building coalitions, communicating your agenda, running winning campaigns, and then governing effectively. No matter if you are called to public service right now or in years to come, every participant will receive individualized support and advice to help them succeed, a peer network to lean upon, and a powerful set of skills they can use every day.

Key Benefits for Participants

  • Learn how you can help your business, family, and community thrive by getting involved in the political process
  • Get the inside track on how to get your voice heard and increase your influence
  • Demystify what it takes to run for elected office today, or how to land a position on a local board or commission
  • Learn directly from AAPI political pros and elected officials who have come from the private sector about their journey and lessons learned
  • Get 1:1 coaching and mentorship to help you achieve your goals
  • Equivalent training costs thousands of dollars to enroll and leaves out AAPIs. This program is FREE to well qualified program candidates* and is delivered by California-based AAPI experts.

Be part of our first cohort.

Applications are now open for our January 2023 program.

The deadline to apply is Friday, December 30, 2022.

Program Information

Program Details

The program will take place in 3 regions within California: Northern California, Bay Area, and Southern California

  • Phase 1: Informational launch event to learn more about this premier program
  • Phase 2: 2-Day weekend seminar with knowledgeable workshop speakers, interactive activities, and thoughtful resources
  • Phase 3: 6 Months of 1 on 1 mentorship, meeting monthly, with experienced professionals based on a curated plan created specifically towards individual’s goals (goals will impact length of program commitment)

Ideal Candidates

Ideal candidates for AAPI LIFT are self-starters, have strong fundamental core values, and have an interest improving in the community. They have a commitment to the greater good and a passion for working with stakeholders to address and find solutions to concerns and issues.

Sample Workshops

  • The Call to Public Service
  • Addressing Systemic and Cultural Barriers to AAPI Participation
  • Building Support through Effective Communication
  • Marketing and the Branding of You
  • Fundraising

Sacramento Grow Green:
Cannabis Social Equity Incubator Program

The CalAsian Foundation has created a business incubator program for those facing tremendous hurdles to entering the cannabis industry due to cultural and language barriers, arrest records, and limited resources. We work with local jurisdictions to provide training, mentorship, business plan development, and support needed to ensure that the emerging cannabis market is accessible to all, regardless of economic status, gender, race, or criminal history.

We currently operate programs in Sacramento and Los Angeles and are actively seeking more partner jurisdictions.

Program Details

Since March 2019, we have worked with the City of Sacramento’s Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity (CORE) program to provide business and job training to individuals in the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. Our Sacramento Grow Green program helps business owners and entrepreneurs start and expand operations through a five-phase approach.

  • Phase 1: 5-week training
  • Phase 2: One-on-one business assistance and consulting
  • Phase 3: Source property and begin business application process
  • Phase 4: Submit City and State applications and prepare for business launch

The job training program was piloted in 2020 with two cohorts that participated in a four-day “cannabis specialist” job training series. Participants were connected to job fairs with strategic partners and received job placement assistance. For program information, qualifications or to apply, visit SacramentoGrowGreen.com

Cannabis Talks

AAPIs are increasingly starting cannabis businesses and moving up the ranks in cannabis corporations. In addition to the stereotypes, perceptions, and culture barriers, many AAPIs must combat the cannabis stigma that is prominent within their own families and communities, and recently have had to address an increase in anti-AAPI discrimination.

​​Join the CalAsian Foundation and other leaders for a wide-reaching conversation on the AAPI experience in the cannabis industry. Hear stories from successful AAPI leaders and entrepreneurs, discuss the growing opportunities within the sector, the ongoing industry challenges, and how we can normalize cannabis within our own communities.

Past Topics

  • The Future of Fundraising, Investment, and Banking
  • The Impact of the Pandemic on California’s Cannabis Industry
  • Cannabis 2.0: Adapting to the New Normal
  • AAPIs in the Cannabis Industry

Check back for updates on upcoming Cannabis Talks.

Cannabis Talk Sponsors

Series & Technology

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Event

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Vertosa

Program

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Partner

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Class II | 2021 Program Roster

Brian Aguilar

Adam Allen

Position

Company Name Here

Monica Coleman

Giovanni Davis

Alexis Dumonchelle

Adriana Jones

Judah Joslyn

Carter Noguchi

Seth Patterson

Jayda Preyer

David Rangel

Rudy Rises Regalado

Christopher Reynaga-Brown

Trayzell White

The CalAsian Chamber Foundation has done a great job over the years in supporting and engaging the diverse cannabis stakeholders of California. Meadow and CalAsian have enjoyed a strong partnership in educating and assisting the diverse entrepreneurs through their roundtable series, Cannabis Talks. Cannabis Talks brings together operators, legislators, and regulators for important and educational conversations. The diversity in speakers provides a unique shared perspective helping everyone navigate the industry more effectively.
David Hua
Co-Founder/CEO, Meadow

City of Los Angeles’s Cannabis Opportunity
Reinvestment and Equity (CORE) Program

In 2021, we were part of a group selected to help the City of Los Angeles build and manage their Business Licensing and Compliance (BLC) Program. BLC is the educational and training arm of the City’s Department of Cannabis Regulation Social Equity Program, which aims to “decrease disparities in life outcomes for marginalized communities, and to address the disproportionate impacts of the War on Drugs in those communities.”

Working with the city and our partners, we are building a program that will help aspiring cannabis businesses navigate the licensing process, understand cannabis business operations and compliance, acquire business savvy to discern predatory practices, and increase workforce development and job placement knowledge.

For more information on this program, contact Frank Louie, COO/Business Development, at flouie@calasiancc.org.

Cannabis External Study Missions

Each year, we lead a delegation of California leaders on a multi-day study mission to engage with and learn best practices from a city leading the industry. The trip is packed with tours, panel discussions, and meetings with key stakeholders.

CalAsian Foundation are staunch advocates for social equity and minority communities within California’s cannabis industry. It was an absolute pleasure working with them and engaging with their network on cannabis issues. I will always remember our trip to Canada with fond memories. It was such a valuable and informative experience. It was one of the highlights of my tenure with the Bureau.
Lori Ajax
Former Chief California Bureau of Cannabis Control

Our Program Staff

Frank Louie

COO, CalAsian Pacific Chamber of Commerce

Frank Louie brings a very diverse business background to the chamber’s management team. He led a very successful 22-year career in management leadership positions in sales and operations for Xerox Corporation. Most recently, Louie served as General Manager for the Public Sector Northwest Region focusing on the state, local and education markets. He also has extensive experience working for start-up technology companies in the Internet payment and billing space, and the Alternative Energy industry.

Brandon Lewis

Program Manager, CORE Program

Brandon Lewis joined the Sacramento Asian Chamber of Commerce in April of 2019 as a project manager for the CORE program. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Business Management. Previously he worked for the state government for three years implementing and managing numerous tax and assistance programs, mainly on special projects, collections, accounting and working directly with the public. Brandon is very well equipped in managing programs using his analytical and technical skills. Prior to attending graduate school he worked for one of the top local land use law firms as a clerk where he assisted the attorneys with research, presentations, exhibits and fundraisers.

Wesley Brown

Intake Coordinator, CORE Program

Wesley Brown has been with the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce and the Sacramento Grow Green program since 2019. He is an intake coordinator and is focused on equity and diversification of the cannabis space. Previously, He worked in the Bay Area and Humboldt as a private consultant for cannabis businesses.

Additional Resources

Cannabis in AAPI History

Cannabis has an extensive history in AAPI cultures. Despite this, the cannabis industry is often stigmatized in AAPI communities, and misconceptions are spread. Our partners at Weedmaps shared information about the history of cannabis in AAPI cultures and what AAPI representation in the industry means.

AAPI Cannabis Collective

The AAPI Cannabis Collective is an AAPI-led education movement that strives for a more inclusive and accessible cannabis community among AAPI. 

While global acceptance of cannabis is growing globally, there is still a need to destigmatize, educate, and guide AAPI, especially older generations and non-English speakers, about the wellness benefits of cannabis. 

This initiative is just the start of a massive movement to mobilize and have our own community support a plant with boundless potential. Learn more below.

Partners

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UOP
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Cannabis Programs and Activities

For updates on our work in the cannabis industry, our programs and upcoming events, sign up for our Cannabis mailing list.