Press Releases

May 23, 2016

Leilani Pimentel
Maria Phelan

Inaugural Asian American & Pacific Islander (APIA) Community Sponsorship of College Students Benefit Hosted by Downtown Project, Las Vegas Leaders, and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF)

Las Vegas Community Raises Funds to Support Local APIA College Students

WASHINGTON, DC (May 23, 2016) — The Downtown Project, in partnership with Las Vegas leaders and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), will host the inaugural Community Sponsorship of College Students benefit at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday May 25th at the Downtown Container Park's Perch Restaurant. The benefit will raise funds to help make college a reality for local Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) students. The event will convene local leaders and feature Taiko and Hawaiian music performance groups, Miss Asian Las Vegas, and keynote remarks from a Las Vegas APIASF scholarship recipient.

"With generous support from the Downtown Project, and with the support of key leaders in the Las Vegas community, APIASF is excited to convene the inaugural Community Sponsorship of College Students in Las Vegas," said APIASF president and executive director, Neil Horikoshi. "The APIA community is the nation's fastest growing ethnic group according to the U.S. Census and Nevada is a great example of our community's growth. Between 2000 and 2012, the Asian and Pacific Islander American populations in Nevada grew by 138% and 102%, respectively. Despite our growth, many are still unaware that APIA students are in need of scholarship support. Part of our goal as an organization is to challenge the 'model minority' myth, shed light on high poverty rates within our community, and increase access to higher education through scholarships."

"The Downtown Project was created as an inspirational gathering place for the Las Vegas community," said Maggie Hsu, an Advisor at Downtown Project. "We are pleased to host this gathering of community leaders who care about the future success of Las Vegas youth."

Host Committee Co-Chairs Vida Lin, Executive Director of the Asian Community Development Center (ACDC), and Evan Louie, Hawaii-native and long-time community advocate for APIAs nationwide, added, "In recognition of Asian Pacific Islander Heritage month in May, we are honored to have APIASF come to Las Vegas to help low income APIA students with scholarships. It is important to help empower our next generation of leaders by giving them access to higher education. We invite our community to help sponsor local APIA Nevada students with the APIASF event on May 25th."

"We are extremely grateful for the local support from the Downtown Project and our Host Committee who have been instrumental in making this event a success," added Mr. Horikoshi. Host committee members include Las Vegas community leaders Michelle DiTondo, Carolene Layugan, Duncan Lee, Irene Lee, Sam Lieberman, Jude Nazareth, Jim Ratigan, Allison Stephens, Sandi Herrera, Vicki Courtney, and Emily Higby.

APIASF and the Host Committee welcome members of the community to join the public event at 4:00pm on Wednesday May 25th. Community members who would like to support local APIA students but are unable to attend are encouraged to visit to make a donation.

For details about APIASF, visit APIASF's website at Also, follow APIASF on Facebook ( and Twitter (

About Downtown Project:

Downtown Project is an umbrella organization encompassing a collection of investments across small business, technology, and real estate. The mission of Downtown Project is to help make Downtown Las Vegas a place of inspiration, entrepreneurial energy, creativity, innovation, upward mobility, and discovery. Downtown Project has allocated $350 million to aid in the revitalization of Downtown Las Vegas. The community-oriented organization does this through the three Cs of collisions, co-learning and connectedness in a long-term, sustainable way.


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.