Launched by Penelope Wong of Yuan Wonton, Caroline Glover of Annette and Carolyn Nugent of Ulster Street Pastry, the Better Together – Colorado for AAPI fundraiser was established to support the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in light of recent attacks targeting AAPIs.

Wong said, “This fundraiser has truly been one of the biggest and best team efforts I’ve seen from our community of chefs, restaurateurs, small businesses and local talents.”

More than 50 local businesses participated in the cause by donating items for prize raffles to help drive the fundraiser.

The fundraiser ran throughout the month of May and hit multiple goals. In less than four days, the initial fundraising goal of $10,000 was reached.

Seven days later, the fundraiser reached their new goal of $20,000. All in all, the fundraiser raised more than $25,000 by the end of May.

Funds raised will be donated to the AAPI Community Fund to help empower, uplift, and protect AAPI communities and those who have been directly impacted by hate crimes, as well as to the new organization, TAAF (The Asian American Foundation) which is focusing on a more direct initiative to advance equity, opportunity, and justice to the AAPI community.

According to Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition that has been tracking anti-Asian hate during the pandemic, there have been more than 6,000 incident reports to the coalition from March 19, 2020 to March 31, 2021. In March 2021 alone, 2,808 hate incidents were reported which make up 42% of all reports over that period.

For Wong, working on this fundraiser has been a much needed catharsis.

“With the increase in hate crimes, I found myself going out in public with trepidation and anxiety. I was thoroughly concerned for my elderly aunties who are all very active and go out all the time,” She said. “Being able to help raise awareness is the ultimate goal. And having the ability to use our platforms to help raise awareness has been amazing.”

She continued, “I know there are some businesses out there who have chosen not to express or share viewpoints on societal and humanitarian issues on their business social media pages for fear of backlash from their customer base. But our belief is that it is time the parallels between business and personal intersect once again.”

Connect with the businesses involved with Better Together – Colorado for AAPI fundraiser via Instagram: @yuanwonton, @ulsterstreet_pastry and @annette_scratchtotable.