Press Releases

March 31, 2016

Joy Yoo
Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund

APIASF Strengthens Ties with Pacific Islander American Community by Incorporating the Pacific Islander Access Project's Work into Its Own Efforts

Washington, D.C. (March 31, 2016) — Today, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) and the Pacific Islander Access project (PIA project) announced they will jointly promote higher education access and information among America's growing Pacific Islander community. APIASF will incorporate the critical work that the PIA project has been executing into its own initiatives. To maintain relevance and sustainability, PIA project's leadership will advise and assist APIASF in its engagement with the Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander communities.

The PIA project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has, over the last five years, focused on addressing the issue that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (NHPI) are underrepresented in higher education and excluded from applying to many underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships. The PIA project has raised awareness and engaged thirteen underrepresented minority programs to open their doors to NHPIs — opening at least an additional $1.1 million in additional financial aid to one of America's fastest growing racial groups. This new partnership will allow this work to continue under APIASF's services, and the PIA project intends to cease operations this year.

APIASF is the nation's largest non-profit provider of college scholarships to the Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) community, distributing over $100 million to date. As the nation's singular voice for APIAs in higher education, APIASF has worked to meet the needs of the NHPI community through scholarship and support programs.

"We are very excited to partner with the PIA project, as we continue our work to increase support for students within Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. The PIA project, led by Kawika Riley, has done outstanding work to expand educational opportunities for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) students. We are proud to continue this important work to ensure NHPI students have access to opportunities that will provide the financial support that is needed to start and complete their secondary education," said Neil Horikoshi, APIASF President & Executive Director.

"I want to thank Neil and the team at APIASF for their commitment to continue the good work of the Pacific Islander Access project. It's refreshing to see a major national APIA organization step up to address education access issues faced by America's growing Pacific Islander community," said Kawika Riley, Board President and co-founder of the Pacific Islander Access project. "Mahalo nui loa to all of the PIA project's supporters. We can and will do even more through this partnership with APIASF."

APIASF will promote the PIA project's research on its website, including an inventory of underrepresented minority programs currently open to Pacific Islanders. The PIA project's leadership will also work with APIASF to help foster closer connections with Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander groups. Additionally, APIASF will sponsor a Pacific Islander paid internship in the summer of 2016.

To learn more about this new program, please visit APIASF's website at Also, follow APIASF on Facebook ( and Twitter (

Based in Washington, D.C., the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) is the nation's largest non-profit organization devoted to providing college scholarships for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (APIA). APIASF works to create opportunities for students to access, complete, and succeed after post-secondary education; thereby developing future leaders who will excel in their career, serve as role models in their communities, and will ultimately contribute to a more vibrant America. Since 2003, APIASF has distributed over $100 million in scholarships to APIA students. APIASF manages three scholarship programs: the APIASF General Scholarship, the APIASF Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander - Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) Scholarship, and the Gates Millennium Scholars/Asian Pacific Islander Americans funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.