Norman Chen Named New CEO for the Asian American Foundation

The Asian American Foundation (“TAAF”), a convener, incubator, and funder for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) communities, is pleased to announce the appointment of Norman Chen, Co-Founder and Former CEO of Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change (“LAAUNCH”), as the new Chief Executive Officer of TAAF, effective immediately. Mr. Chen brings over 30 years of nonprofit and business experience to TAAF and has served on numerous nonprofit boards and advisory councils in the areas of social justice, children’s health, education, conservation, and sports.

Mr. Chen is an entrepreneur and investor with broad and extensive experience building leading life sciences companies and nonprofit organizations in both the United States and Asia. Most recently, he co-founded and served as the CEO of LAAUNCH, an organization with the goal of engaging and empowering Asian Americans to fight racism, increase representation, and share community resources.

Through Mr. Chen’s leadership, LAAUNCH created the STAATUS Index (Social Tracking of Asian Americans in the U.S.) in 2021 to assess the attitudes, stereotypes and perceptions of nearly 2,800 adults in the U.S. towards Asian Americans — one of the first such national studies in over two decades. Prior to that, LAAUNCH collaborated with APIAVote in the 2020 election to create digital influencer campaigns to encourage AAPIs to vote in key battleground states. Going forward, LAAUNCH will function as an incubation engine for TAAF to develop and launch new initiatives to benefit the AAPI community.

“I am deeply honored and grateful to join the visionary founders and leaders of TAAF to help to create a better future for Asian American and Pacific Islanders, who are facing record levels of hate, discrimination and prejudice in our country,” said Mr. Chen. “We look forward to working closely with other AAPI organizations, allies and partners to build the infrastructure that can promote a greater sense of belonging and prosperity across our communities. I would like to sincerely thank the co-founders, board members, partners and supporters of LAAUNCH for their tremendous contributions to our organization and am excited to expand our work and impact with the larger TAAF platform.”

TAAF launched in May 2021 to help build the infrastructure needed to better support, protect and celebrate Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by solving for the longstanding lack of investment and support provided to AAPI communities. Founding President Sonal Shah led TAAF through its historic launch, which marked the largest ever philanthropic commitment for AAPI communities. With his appointment, Mr. Chen will immediately collaborate with Ms. Shah on multiple initiatives, including the continued successful deployment of TAAF’s Anti-Hate National Network, with AAPI Action Centers in Chicago, New York City, and Oakland, and TAAF’s AAPI Emergency Relief Fund in partnership with GoFundMe to drive the quick deployment of resources to survivors of anti-AAPI hate and violence. As part of the planned transition, Ms. Shah will remain in her current capacity as TAAF’s President through December 2021, and she will continue serving as a board member and advisor through May 2022.

“Guiding TAAF through its launch and everything we have accomplished over such a short period of time has been one of the highlights of my career,” said Ms. Shah. “For too long, our communities have been under-resourced and in need of a broader effort to encourage more opportunity and prosperity. I am incredibly proud of what our amazing team has achieved already, and I couldn’t be more pleased that Norman will continue to deliver on our shared vision to promote AAPI advocacy, inclusion, and representation across American society.”

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank Sonal for her invaluable contributions to TAAF, and warmly welcome Norman as the incoming CEO of our organization,” said Li Lu, Chairman of the TAAF Board of Directors. “Sonal is a seasoned expert, and her two decades of experience in the White House, government, and the private sector proved to be invaluable in the early days of TAAF. She ensured we developed a savvy, comprehensive strategy for advancing TAAF’s mission, and all of us on the Board are grateful for her contributions not just to the organization, but to all the communities we’re here to invest in and support. We greatly appreciate her continued guidance through this transition as Norman takes the helm to drive TAAF forward in its next stage of development for our community.”

About The Asian American Foundation

The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) is a convener, incubator, and funder committed to accelerating opportunity and prosperity for AAPI communities. TAAF supports advocates and organizations committed to AAPI causes so that together we can more effectively take action against hate and violence, and build the infrastructure needed to improve AAPI advocacy, power, and representation across American society. We were founded to solve for the longstanding lack of investment and resources provided to AAPI communities and we strive to be a catalyzing force for creating a permanent and irrevocable sense of belonging for the 23 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in the United States. For additional information about TAAF, please visit

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