Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy

Minkwon Center for Community Action, Inc.

  • Flushing, NY
  • www.minkwon.org

Mission Statement

The MinKwon Center for Community Action (formerly YKASEC) was established in 1984 to meet the needs and concerns of the Korean American community through our five program areas: Community Organizing and Advocacy, Social Services, Civic Participation, Youth, and Culture.

 
The MinKwon Center places a special emphasis on meeting the needs of our marginalized community members who have less access to resources, including the youth, the elderly, recent immigrants, low-income residents, and limited English proficient residents. 
 
Our goals are:
To educate community members about issues that are impacting immigrant communities, including the Korean American community; 
To increase Korean American civic participation and to promote immigrant rights through long-term organizing, advocacy and education programs; 
To serve the marginalized members of our community through various social service programs; and 
To preserve our cultural roots by involving members of our community in projects that promote our ethnic and cultural heritage.

service areas

New York

Self-reported by organization

ruling year

1988

chief executive for fy 2009

Mr. Steven Choi Esq.

Self-reported by organization

Keywords

Korean American, Asian American, New York, Queens, Organizing, Advocacy, Immigrant Rights, Education, Human Services, Legal Services, Civic Participation, Culture, Community Empowerment

Self-reported by organization

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EIN

11-2710506

Physical Address

136-19 41st Ave, 3rd Floor

Flushing, NY 11355

Also Known As

MinKwon Center for Community Action

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Ethnic/Immigrant Services (P84)

Voter Education/Registration (R40)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

Since our founding in 1984, we have made a profound presence in the Korean American, Asian American, and immigrant communities through various grassroots organizing, education, and advocacy initiatives that address important community issues, including immigration policies at the national, state and city levels, voter rights, and cultural awareness.  Our recent accomplishments include:
 
·      . In 2010, we mobilized 450 community members to travel from New York to Washington D.C. for the March for America’s Future rally on March 21st, marking the largest Asian American mobilization in the country for comprehensive immigration reform. Throughout the summer and fall, we continued our efforts to shed light on the broken immigration system and urge our elected officials to introduce and pass a humane and just immigration reform bill through numerous actions and educational initiatives.
 
·      . The MinKwon Center co-founded the 12% and Growing Coalition, the first Asian American coalition of organizations and individuals to remedy a shocking disparity in resources accessible to the Asian American community, and to preserve necessary services for vulnerable community members. In 2009 and 2010, we directly engaged more than 1,500 community members, collected more than 4,300 postcards, and mobilized more than 200 persons for the second APA City Advocacy Day as part of our 2010 Coalition campaign. In 2010, these efforts resulted in the restoration of $53.14 million– nearly 76% of our budget priorities - in services for our communities. As a member of the New York Immigration Coalition, we also fought to restore critical funding for marginalized communities.
 
·      . In 2010, we provided free legal and social service assistance, education, and brief consultation – in immigration, tenant-landlord issues, foreclosure prevention, labor, and public benefits – to more than 3,300 community members, resulting in nearly $3,160,000 worth in benefits provided to our community.
 
·      . Our Civic Participation efforts recently reached several milestones by directly registering over 50,000 new voters since the 2004 elections, launching the first-ever “Voice Your Vote NY” comprehensive Asian American voter empowerment coalition, and starting the first-ever nonpartisan voter canvassing drive in Flushing by knocking on 800 doors. In the spring 2010, we ran a groundbreaking grassroots 2010 Census Campaign in Flushing, Queens – knocking on 700 doors and calling 2,000 households – to educate and urge community residents to actively participate in the Census. Our campaign was featured as the cover article in the New York Times on April 1, 2010.
 
·      The MinKwon Center’s Youth Empowerment Program is a year-round program that engages 60-75 Asian American youth in the greater Flushing area to develop academic, life and leadership skills through its main components of in-depth education, hands-on service activity, and grassroots advocacy. In 2010, YEP participants engaged in an intense 6-month campaign to advocate the restoration of funds to free and reduced MTA student MetroCards. With other city youth and community groups, the MinKwon Center organized actions including a historic march of over 1,000 students that ultimately pressured city and state governments to restore the free student Metrocards. In August 2010, YEP participants also organized the ICY (Issues for Community Youth) social justice fair for youth in Flushing.

Programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Our Education program area provides the Korean American community with the resources it needs to take advantage of societal resources, educational and economic opportunities, and participate in the civic arena. This is done through the implementation of Community Forums and Workshops, our Youth Empowerment Project and Summer Focus Group, an Internship program, a Free Job Training program, and an English as a Second Language Course. We also communicate with and educate our community members through our Publications and Resources/Media Initiatives program. Our Education programs are an instrumental tool in organizing our community and serve as the foundation of all our work. Our Social Services program area provides low-income, limited-English proficient immigrants with many services. Many of the most marginalized members of our community struggle to access the resources that are available to them because of their limited-English proficiency. Through these programs, we seek to both serve as a resource for these community members and to assist them in having full access to the resources that are offered in this country. Our four programs include our Immigrant Rights Legal Clinic, Naturalization Clinic, Low Income Tax Clinic, and Immigrant Assistance Project. These services are provided free of charge and are offered in Korean and in English. We encourage the participation of other ethnic communities to utilize our services, and we also have an extensive referral service. In 2005, we served over 1600 clients through our Social Services programs. Our Civic Participation program area mobilizes our community members to be proactive participants in the voting process. Proactive civic participation involves registering to vote, being educated regarding the issues, parties and candidates, and voting on election day. Our programs include Voter Education, Voter Assistance, Voter Research, Voting Rights Advocacy and a Get Out the Vote campaign. Through the empowerment of our community members, we seek to increase our collective voice as immigrant communities so that we will be heard on the city, state and national levels of government. In 2005, we reached over 10,000 people through our Civic Participation programs. Our Immigrant Rights program area advocates at the national, state and city levels to protect and advance the rights of immigrants. Our programs are designed to educate, mobilize and empower our community members about the issues that are having the greatest impact on immigrant communities. Our programs include a Comprehensive Immigration Reform campaign, a DREAM Act campaign, a campaign for Immigrants' Rights to Drivers' Licenses, a program to advocate for State and City Issues, mobilization and participation in Advocacy Days at the Federal, State and City Levels, and a Coalition Building initiative. Through these programs, we are empowering our community and working with other immigrant communities so that we can achieve a better society for the many generations of immigrants to come. Our Culture program area seeks to counter the loss of cultural identity among overseas Koreans by offering programs designed to recover and sustain the roots of Korean culture. YKASEC is home to BINARI-Korean American Cultural Troupe, which was founded in 1985 to cultivate the development of a new cultural awareness within the Korean American community. BINARI is best known for its performance in poongmul, an ensemble of traditional Korean drums and percussion instruments representing various elements of the Universe. The music dramatizes the work and play, joy and struggle, bounty and toil of human existence.

Category

Budget

Population Served

service areas

New York

Self-reported by organization

Funding Needs

The MinKwon Center receives a wide range of support from foundations, corporate, government, individuals, small businesses, and other grassroots fundraising sources.  We are grateful to our supporters who make our work possible and enable us to continue organizing, advocating, and empowering Korean Americans, Asian Americans, and immigrant communities in New York City.   A full list of funders can be found on our website at http://www.minkwon.org/index.php/whoweare/our_supporters

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

Minkwon Center For Community Action Inc
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Minkwon Center for Community Action, Inc.

Leadership

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CHIEF EXECUTIVE FOR FISCAL YEAR

Mr. Steven Choi Esq.

BIO

Steve Choi is currently the Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action (formerly YKASEC). He previously directed the Korean Community Law Project, which provides free direct legal services to low-wage Korean immigrants – the only such project of its kind on the East Coast. Since September 2004, the Project has filed over 25 cases in conjunction with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and represented more than 50 workers against employers who have violated the rights of Korean immigrant workers. Through active litigation, the Project has helped secure nearly $800,000 in total settlements, court victories, and awards on behalf of these workers.
Mr. Choi was formerly a staff attorney at AALDEF, and his previous legal experience includes working for the Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center in Massachusetts, Greater Boston Legal Services, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) of Los Angeles. He received his B.A. from Stanford University in History with Honors and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. Mr. Choi has received numerous awards for his work, including the Korean American Association’s “Man of the Year” Award, the Wasserstein Fellowship, the Skirnick Public Interest Fellowship, the Skadden Fellowship, the the Asian American Lawyers of Massachusetts (AALAM) Scholarship, and the Harvard Law School Asian Pacific American Alumni Award.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

S.J. Jung

Eastra, Inc.

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?