Seema Agnani is the Executive Director of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD), a coalition of more than 100 community-based organizations in 21 states and the Pacific Islands. Collectively, the coalition improves the lives of over two-million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who live in poverty by providing voice, tool, and shared knowledge to drive change. Seema has nearly 20 years of experience working in the community development and immigrant rights sectors, focused primarily on the challenges of providing housing, economic opportunity, and support systems for new immigrants. She is a founder and former Executive Director of Chhaya CDC, a member of National CAPACD that works with New Yorkers of South Asian origin to advocate for and build economically stable, sustainable, and thriving communities. Chhaya CDC reaches thousands of new immigrants each year through its organizing, education, and service work. She was formerly the Coordinating Consultant to the Fund for New Citizens at The New York Community Trust, where she managed a donor collaborative of more than 20 foundations supporting immigrant rights work in New York City. Seema also served as the Director of Training and Technical Assistance at Citizens Committee for NYC, developing the core training curriculum and implementation of a capacity building program to support volunteer-run organizations addressing poverty and hunger. She began her work in New York City with Asian Americans for Equality where she stayed for eight years, initially as a project manager developing affordable housing, and later in other roles including fundraising, communications, and coordinating the Lower Manhattan Health Care Coalition. Her parents emigrated from India in the mid-sixties to Chicago where she was raised and earned a Masters in Urban Planning and Public Policy.
Nahida Uddin currently serves as National CAPACD’s Membership & Communications Manager. Nahida is originally from NYC, where she worked for several years as a Community Organizer at Chhaya CDC, a member of National CAPACD that works with New Yorkers of South Asian origin to advocate for and build economically stable, sustainable, and thriving communities. She has a BA in History & International Studies from Fordham University and an MA in South Asian Studies from Columbia University.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Kelley worked in her hometown for over five years at the Chinese Community Center, promoting important issues that were key to the Asian community there. As a 3.5 generation Chinese-American, she was first exposed to AAPI issues while studying for her Bachelors in Social Work at The University of Texas. Impassioned to learn more about advocating for her community, she completed her Master of Social Work degree at Washington University in St. Louis. Kelley is passionate about advocacy, giving back to her community and volunteering - in her spare time, she runs for causes that are close to her heart, and has been a Big Sister through the Big Sisters Big Brothers program for over five years.
Lauri comes to National CAPACD most recently from the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) and Congresswoman Grace Meng, where she worked on a range of legislative and policy issues surrounding low-income AAPI communities. She is a graduate of New York University and moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue law at American University, focusing on financial services regulation and consumer protection. Lauri has also worked for the New York State Office of the Attorney General in the Investor Protection Bureau, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the House Committee on Financial Services under Ranking Member Maxine Waters where she focused on housing finance, consumer protection, and capital markets issues. During her free time, Lauri loves to practice yoga. She is a certified instructor and teaches yoga classes regularly around Washington, D.C.
Anj joins National CAPACD from CAAAV: Organizing Asian communities in New York City, where as Lead Organizer, they organized Asian immigrant communities in public housing and fought for a resident- led rezoning of Chinatown. Prior to CAAAV, Anj served as the Lead Organizer at Chhaya CDC, where they worked with South Asian tenants and homeowners facing foreclosure. In addition to organizing around housing and economic justice, Anj has advocated for LGBTQ rights, including winning two same sex marriage campaigns in Minnesota, and serving on the Board of Directors for the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance. Anj began their career at South Asian Americans Leading Together, where they conducted outreach to South Asians in Maryland after the 2008 recession. When not organizing, Anj can be found cooking, practicing meditation, and studying ayurvedic medicine.
Niki Jagpal is a seasoned nonprofit professional with over 15 years of experience in the sector. Most recently, she served as Sr. Director of Research and Policy at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). She was the primary author of Criteria for Philanthropy at Its Best, the first set of measurable benchmarks for foundations. At NCRP, she oversaw the production of action-based research that encourages philanthropies to invest in systems reform and social justice work. Prior to that, she was a member of the research team at Media Matters for America, a web-based nonprofit progressive research and information center.
Previously, Niki worked at Ipas, an international organization that works to secure and enhance women’s reproductive rights and justice. She helped organize the March for Women’s Lives in 2004, mobilizing grassroots participation in the event. She worked with local groups to increase voter turnout while at the Center for Community Change and conducted research on post-Katrina New Orleans for the Fannie Mae Foundation. She has led workshops and given presentations at local and national universities to engage the next generation of nonprofit leaders and at national sectoral conferences.
Niki holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Cultural Anthropology from Duke University and a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown, with a concentration in education, social, and family policy. She has studied community organizing and social change with Marshall Ganz at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Her thesis on racial inequality in the United States was accepted for an inaugural institute on race and wealth funded by the Ford Foundation at Howard University’s Economics department. At Georgetown, she assisted with research at the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and Systems Integration and studied advocacy and social change with Pablo Eisenberg. Niki’s research interests include structural racialization and implicit bias, which she has studied extensively with Dr. john a. powell for over a decade.
Laura grew up in the Washington, DC area and comes to National CAPACD with more than twelve years of experience in office administration and management and fifteen years in customer service. She previously worked as an Executive Assistant with Randstad in the DMV area and held the position of Loan Coordinator and Closer with a residential mortgage lender in Maryland.
She is currently working on an associate’s degree at Montgomery College with plans to obtain a bachelor's in Family Science at the University of Maryland. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her children and family, going to the beach, museums, traveling, and Harry Potter.
Josh has more than a dozen years of experience in building nonprofit housing and community facilities. He was most recently Director of Real Estate Development at one of National CAPACD’s founding member organizations— Little Tokyo Service Center in Los Angeles, California—and partnered with a number of National CAPACD members in the Los Angeles region in community development projects. Josh has a joint JD and Masters in Urban Planning from UCLA and is based out of National CAPACD's West Coast office.
Joyce Pisnanont has over 15 years of experience working with Asian Pacific Islander community development organizations, including for several National CAPACD members in New York, California and Washington. Most recently, Joyce worked with Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority as the Director of IDEA Space – an economic development resource and design center. Her previous experiences have ranged from fund development and grants management, to advocacy and community organizing, to establishing and growing programs that build local leadership capacity. Joyce is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley’s Masters in Social Welfare program.
Jennet is originally from Rhode Island. She worked at the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) in Washington DC, first as the Women’s Leadership Advocate before transitioning to Director of Operations and Resource Development. As Director of Operations and Resource Development, Jennet directed financial operations, coordinated fundraising activities, and created internal organizational infrastructure. During graduate school, she interned with PATH, an international health nonprofit, in Cambodia. She also was a graduate extern with the Office of Leadership and Organization Development at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. She has a BA from Brown University and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.
Brian measures the impact of both National CAPACD and our members on improving economic security for low-income AAPI communities. Prior to joining National CAPACD, he interned for various AAPI-serving nonprofit organizations, federal and congressional offices, and think tanks. Brian graduated from American University with a BA in International Relations.
Christina joins the team at National CAPACD from Project Sentinel, where, as the Fair Housing Testing and Outreach Coordinator, she was responsible for investigating housing discrimination allegations, and building lasting partnerships with local community agencies and stakeholders throughout several Northern California counties. Prior to Project Sentinel, Christina researched barriers in communication between various discourse communities, specifically between that of academia and community practitioners, for the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research. Christina is from Berkeley, California and graduated from University of California, Davis, with a BS in Community and Regional Development, and minor in Asian American Studies.
Rosalyn Epstein previously managed a Bay Area county level asset building network with nearly 50 member organizations. While leading the network she built member advocacy capability while supporting peer learning and skill development among the member organizations. She also served as a CITC Policy Fellow with National CAPACD in 2015.
During her career, Rosalyn has developed and managed asset-building programs for youth and adults which include financial education, financial coaching, tax preparation, and managing a VITA tax preparation site. Previously, Rosalyn worked in the youth development and sexual and reproductive health education sectors. She has a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Smith College and an MSW from the University of California, Berkeley.
Sabrina demonstrates her commitment to social justice and racial equity through her previous work at UC Berkeley’s Asian Pacific American Student Development Office, where she worked on program management and student advising and at Juma Ventures, providing college access, financial literacy and workforce development to low-income youth. Sabrina was born and raised in the Bay Area and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Sociology and a BA in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies.
Ryan's experience and aspirations stem from a variety of different internships while he was in college, ranging from Berkeley City Council to Empowering Pacific Islander Communities in Los Angeles. He has also gained experience working at UC Berkeley's bridges Multicultural Resource Center, providing college access to youth of color as well as advocating for educational equity. Ryan was born and raised in Garden Grove, California and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Ethnic Studies and a BA in Political Science.