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CAO K. O

cao o For the past ten years, Cao K. O has served as the executive director of the Asian American Federation of New York, a leadership organization that specializes in public policy, technical assistance, and community grantmaking. Currently, the Federation has a membership of thirty-four health and human service agencies. Since its inception in 1990, the Federation has been a unifying voice and a unique resource for New York’s Asian Pacific American communities. Under Mr. O’s leadership, the Federation has undergone rapid and dynamic growth and has gained recognition for its resourcefulness and professionalism in serving the community.

Mr. O’s vision for and dedication to the Federation have netted real gains--in financial resources and new program services--for the community. In 1991, the Federation launched the first scholarship program for social work students with Asian language ability. Established in 1993, the Federation’s Asian American Community Fund has provided nearly $1 million in grants to community-based organizations for heath and human service programs. A three-year seed grant from the Federation led to the formation in 1993 of Filipino American Human Services, Inc., (FAHSI) the only professionally staffed organization of its kind in New York City. Recognizing the unmet needs of the growing South Asian population, in 1995, the Federation awarded a similar seed grant to launch what would become South Asian Youth Action (SAYA), this country’s first program dedicated to at-risk South Asian youth. More recently, through its information technology initiatives, the Federation has paved the way for community groups to access the information highway through upgraded computer equipment, free Internet service, e-mail, web site planning, and technology planning. The Federation has secured more than $5 million in grants for its member organizations over the years.

Currently, the Federation is spearheading the Asian American Task Force on Census 2000, a coalition of sixty-five community groups that has advised the Census Bureau on outreach and operations in the Asian Pacific American community. Another major undertaking is Asian Elderly New Yorkers in the New Millennium, a groundbreaking research study on the socio-economic status and human service needs of this growing population. The results will be disseminated nationally in early 2001.

Prior to heading the Federation, Mr. O held key positions with social service agencies in New York City and New York State. From 1988 to 1990, he served as a consultant for the United Way of New York City where he helped manage a $1 million grant program and was one of the key advisors on the Asian American Initiative, which led to the formation of the Asian American Federation. From 1986 to 1988, he worked at the New York State Office of Mental Health where he participated in the development of state initiatives to improve mental health care for the refugee population. Mr. O served as the Development Director of the Hamilton-Madison House, a multi-service settlement house on the Lower East Side, from 1983 to 1986.

Mr. O serves on the boards of directors of several non-profit organizations. These include Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, Hamilton-Madison House, Human Services Council of New York City, Museum of Chinese in the Americas, Shuang Wen Academy, and United Neighborhood Centers of America. In addition, he is a member of the advisory committees of Citizens Committee of New York City, Chinatown Manpower Project, and Agenda for Children Tomorrow.

Born and raised in Vietnam, Mr. O arrived in the United States as a refugee in 1975. With only a rudimentary knowledge of English, he was undeterred in his struggle. Within five years of his arrival, he had earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Cornell University. Subsequently, Mr. O received a master’s degree from Hunter College School of Social Work and, in the late 1980’s, he pursued doctoral studies at Columbia University School of Social Work.

 
 

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