Seema Agnani (she/hers) serves as Executive Director of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD – pronounced “capacity”), a coalition of 100 community-based organizations that advocate for and organize in low-income Asian American and Pacific Islander communities towards a vision of economic and social justice for all. She has more than 25 years of experience in community development, capacity building and immigrant rights. She was a founder and Executive Director of Chhaya CDC working in the South Asian community of New York City, leading the organization during the great recession and the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11. She began her community development career as a project manager with Asian Americans for Equality in Chinatown, NY. Later, she served as lead coordinator the Fund for New Citizens at The New York Community Trust, a donor collaborative focused on immigrant rights in New York City. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and the board of directors of Adhikaar and was previously appointed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Community Advisory Board. Seema is originally from the Chicago metro area where her parents emigrated to from India.
Nahida is originally from NYC, where she worked for several years as a Community Organizer at Chhaya CDC. Chhaya CDC is 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. Nahida's commitment to serve AAPI communities stems from her own experiences growing up in a working class Bangladeshi Muslim community in Brooklyn. 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.
Anjan 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, Anjan 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, Anjan 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. Anjan 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, Anjan can be found cooking, practicing meditation, and studying ayurvedic medicine.
Naomi joins National CAPACD with a background in politics, social policy research and analysis, research dissemination, and communications. Prior to National CAPACD, Naomi focused on qualitative and quantitative research regarding racial equity, systemic barriers to communities of color, and racial & ethnic wealth disparities in the United States. Naomi previously worked at the Massachusetts State Senate and Institute on Assets and Social Policy. She holds a BA in Political Science with a Concentration in Public Policy from Boston University and an MPP with a Concentration in Poverty Alleviation from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
Melissa has a strong passion for social and racial justice. She joined National CAPACD as the Communications Manager in 2022. Prior to this, Melissa spent three years in communications at the Rainforest Alliance's Accountability Framework initiative, a coalition-based initiative that works toward creating supply chains free from ecosystem conversion and human rights violations. She has also worked in communications and development at Student Veterans of America, which supports veterans as they pursue higher education. Melissa received her MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and her BA in International Conflict and International Development from George Mason University.
Anju joins National CAPACD from Prosperity Now, where she researched, developed, and advocated for policies to improve the financial health of low- and moderate-income Americans and narrow the racial wealth divide.
She was a practicing attorney for several years before returning to school to earn a graduate degree in public policy. During her studies, she interned at the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) and the George Washington Institute of Public Policy (GWIPP), where she focused on issues related to economic development and tax policy. Before joining Prosperity Now, she was a Fellow at NeighborWorks America, where she worked on the Stable Communities Initiative, a program that helps community development organizations across the country revitalize and reinvest in financially and socially distressed communities.
She holds a Master of Public Policy degree from George Washington University, a JD from the University of North Carolina and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan.
Joyce 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 was also 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 began his career with National CAPACD as a Program Assistant in 2016 supporting the Economic Empowerment department’s grantmaking, research and program evaluation activities. Prior to joining National CAPACD, Brian interned for AAPI advocacy and community based organizations, federal and congressional offices and think tanks. As the son of Korean immigrants raised in Southern California, Brian draws inspiration for social justice work from his cultural heritage and background. Brian earned his BA in International Relations & Asian Studies from American University.
Rosalyn Epstein previously managed a Bay Area county level asset-building network with nearly 50 member organizations. In 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.
Born in San Francisco Chinatown and raised in Oakland, Roy brings over 20 years of nonprofit experience to National CAPACD. Most recently, he was the Community Planning Manager at Chinatown Community Development Center in San Francisco, and before that, he was the Co-Executive Director at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. He has also worked in community development organizations in both New York and Los Angeles. Roy holds a BA in Architecture from UC Berkeley and a Masters in Urban Planning from UCLA. Currently, he serves on the Cultural Affairs Commission for the City of Oakland.
Christine was born and raised in San Jose, CA. Before joining National CAPACD, Christine worked as a housing case worker for the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center, where she assisted people with disabilities in securing affordable housing. In college, her interests in housing justice, poverty alleviation, and racial equity guided her in pursuing internships with the Coalition on Homelessness, Housing Rights Committee, and Densho. Christine received her BA in Urban Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.
Solida En joins National CAPACD with extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, having worked with think tanks and nonprofit organizations in the East Coast. Previously, Solida was the Senior Coordinator for a leading international education nonprofit in Washington, DC. There she maintained the content management system backend, led virtual events, and managed an extensive awards portfolio. Solida was a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholar at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, where she completed her semester long international exchange program. She received her B.A. in International Relations from American University in Washington, DC.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Erika brings over 20 years of nonprofit experience to National CAPACD. Most recently, she was a senior planner at Chinatown Community Development Center in San Francisco, and before that, she served as Arts and Culture Fellow at The San Francisco Foundation. She has worked in museums and cultural organizations in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Erika holds a BA in History/Art History from UCLA and a M.S.Ed. in Museum Education from Bank Street College of Education.
Camille is a 1.5 generation Filipino-American and draws her dedication to AANHPI empowerment from her and her family's lived experience as working-class immigrants. As an undergrad Politics student at UC Santa Cruz, she was involved in AANHPI organizing to help improve AANHPI student retention at the campus. Early on in her career, Camille worked for progressive political consulting firms in the Bay Area. In 2014, she worked on San Francisco's first sugar-sweetened-beverage tax which eventually led her to work in the public health field. Prior to joining National CAPACD, she was a program manager at the Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy, and Leadership (APPEAL). At APPEAL, she managed a national AANHPI network that worked to eliminate health disparities and promote health equity in tobacco control and cancer prevention through policy advocacy.
Sim grew up in East Side San Jose, CA. She has a passion for financial wellness and economic vitality. Before National CAPACD, Sim was working in Buffalo, New York, as a Program Associate at Pursuit, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). In her role, she worked with small businesses, many of which were minority- and women-owned, educating small business owners on the loan application process and assessing their individual consulting needs. Additionally, Sim is passionate about affordable housing development and housing access. During her undergraduate schooling, she researched in-fill development and modular housing in Barcelona, Spain, to gauge its effectiveness in providing affordable housing with values of sustainability, equity, and accessibility. Sim has a B.S. in Community and Regional Development with a minor in African American and African Studies from UC Davis. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and her area of concentration is in Community Economic Development and Housing.