The Lotus Circle is a vibrant community of committed individuals and organizations working together to empower women and girls across Asia by supporting The Asia Foundation's Women's Empowerment Program. Joining the Lotus Circle, with an annual gift of $1000 or more, helps us empower women and girls with the tools they need to change their lives, their communities, and society at large.
"Asia is thriving, but women and girls are still not encouraged to be leaders. They are also seriously at risk and vulnerable to violence, ill health, and poverty. The statistics are sobering, but to me they serve as a motivation. I was born in Asia and was lucky – I was educated and encouraged. But it could have gone another way." - Lotus Circle Founding Member Masako Shinn (Read an interview with her in The Asia Foundation's blog, In Asia)
"The Asia Foundation's Women's Empowerment Program has a proven track record and is among the most innovative we have witnessed. It is a true model for others to emulate, having improved the lives of so many women and girls throughout Asia. We are proud to be founding members of the Lotus Circle." - Michael and Victoria Callen
Meet the Lotus Circle Advisors.
Lotus Leadership Awards Gala Dinner
Each year, The Asia Foundation's Lotus Circle hosts an event in New York City to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that have made major contributions to the wellbeing of women and society in Asia. Proceeds from the event are used to fund cutting-edge projects to empower disadvantaged women and girls in 18 countries across the Asia-Paciﬁc region.
In 2014, the Lotus Leadership Awards hosted a gala dinner event for the first time ever. This special event celebrated 60 years of The Asia Foundation's leadership to improve lives and opportunities throughout Asia, as well as the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of The Asia Foundation's Women's Empowerment Program. To read more about our 2014 Lotus Leadership Awards Gala, and to view multimedia from our event, click here.
SAVE THE DATE! The 2015 Lotus Leadership Awards Gala will be held on Wednesday, June 3 at 583 Park Avenue in New York City. For more details, click here.
Brooklyn Daily Highlights Estée Lauder Scholars in Vietnam
Courier Life publication Brooklyn Daily profiles Estée Lauder Companies Director of Corporate Programs Kathleen Longo among its 2014 Brooklyn Women of Distinction. The profile highlights The Estée Lauder Companies’ private public partnership with The Asia Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment Program to create The Estée Lauder Scholars, a scholarship program launched in 2010 to support the growth and progress of women in Vietnam. The article quotes Asia Foundation Senior Director for Women's Empowerment Program Carol Yost on the program’s impact and Longo’s commitment to advancing opportunities for Vietnamese women through education. Read the full feature here: “Brooklyn’s Women of Distinction 2014 Edition.”
Girls' Education in Afghanistan
Thanks to the generous support of Lotus Circle members and others, The Asia Foundation secured two matching grants from the National Geographic Society and the Sheridan-Urbanski family raising a total of $160,000 for girls' education in Afghanistan. Major improvements were made to two schools in Kabul, which had been severely damaged by years of conflict. These include roof repairs, refurbishing classrooms, and renovating a conference hall used by the community at large. Additional funding from the Janet Ketcham Family Foundation provided three new classrooms and 325 desks. Together these schools provided education to over 6,000 Afghan girls.
Microcredit for Poor Women in Aceh, Indonesia
Launched in collaboration with United Way International and with the support of our generous Lotus Circle donors and others, lending cooperatives throughout Aceh are administered by local women and have provided loans to 42 women's groups that have a combined membership of over 1,500 women. These loans are enabling entrepreneurial women to seize emerging economic opportunities and help their communities rebuild after the devastating 2004 tsunami.
Vocational Training and Job Placement for Disadvantaged Women in Vietnam
The Lotus Circle launched a vocational training program in Can Tho, Vietnam for disadvantaged women and those at risk of trafficking and exploitation. This program trains women in market-based skills and assists with job-placement after the training is completed. Participants in the program are being trained in culinary arts and hotel services, and will receive assistance to find jobs in the growing tourist industry. With additional Lotus Circle support, we recently expanded this successful program to include HIV-positive women in the province of Phu Tho.
Please note that Lotus Circle contributions do not include entry to fundraising events. For information on how to attend special events hosted by the Lotus Circle, please click here.