San Diego Business Journal AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has awarded $150,000 to the Asian Business Association of San Diego as part of the corporation’s effort to support California’s Asian American and Pacific Islander community during a challenging time. Dallas-based AT&T announced the donation on June 21.


Jason Paguio, CEO, Asian Business Association

The association, based in Kearny Mesa, is part of the San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC), and will use the funds to further its aid to the Asian and Pacific Islander business community.
The business association has more than 500 members and provides services to approximately 400 businesses at no cost.
“The funding helps us build capacity, in short,” said Jason Paguio, president and CEO of the association. As part of that capacity increase, the organization plans to hire staff, expand services and conduct additional marketing and outreach. For the latter effort, the association plans to add culturally competent business advisers to reach underserved communities.
AT&T called its donation a way to take a stand against anti-Asian hate. In addition to feeling the effects of COVID-19, Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the United States have experienced harsh rhetoric and violence since the start of the pandemic.
The news of 2020 and 2021 has not been completely bad for the Asian Business Association. The pandemic has brought new volunteers, new board members and general growth to the organization, Paguio said, and the demand for the association’s services has grown.
The executive said the amount of the AT&T donation was a surprise.
“It feels amazing [that] we’re able to do even greater work for our community, especially in a time of need,” he said.
The association helps businesses work with government and financial institutions, through language translation and interpretation services as well as other services that bridge the cultural divide. The association also helps small businesses get access to capital and offers technical assistance. For example, businesses applying for government funds might need help submitting the correct documentation or getting their books in order, Paguio said.
AT&T California donated more than $750,000 to 19 community based organizations. The donations are part of a nationwide effort between AT&T and WarnerMedia to donate $7 million to counter anti-Asian hate.