Community service award honors brothers

By Allana Rivera

Jonathan Lee ’12 and Robert Lee ’14 won the Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy Award, created especially for them by The Asian Pacific Community Fund and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.  

Kristin B. Ramos, marketing associate of the APCF said that the award would continue to be given to individuals aged 14-18 who “have displayed exceptional philanthropic leadership and service through volunteer activities to help further the Asian Pacific Islander community,”

Three years ago, the brothers began evaluating non-profit organizations on behalf of a foundation to decide whether to award them monetary grants. Since then, they have evaluated over 50 non-profit organizations and over $350,000 has been awarded. In addition, they integrated other students into this process through Foundation Boys, a group set up at Windward School, the boys’ middle school.

“The teams work under the guidance of the boys to determine the target organization; they learn the legal definition and structure of a nonprofit, and formulate an interview process of management/board to understand fundraising, financial and programmatic complexities of the target. The team goes out for a site visit and interviews the organization. The information is compiled into a full research report that is orally presented to me, the director of the upper school, senior management of the nonprofit, and the boys,” Ethel Gullette, Coordinator of Community Service Learning at Windward School, explained.

The brothers have duplicated this system at the university level to extend their knowledge to graduate students.

They also got their club basketball teammates to package food crates during the Christmas holiday for distribution to needy families, and they are an integral part of the Annual Westside Children’s Center Thanksgiving Dinner for the children and their families, Gullette said.

The Lee family also supports Operation Mend, a project that helps wounded soldiers.