Mid-America Asian Culture Association - Carol Wei

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Company: Mid-America Asian Culture Association
Entry Submitted By: WDS Marketing & Public Relations
Company Description: The Mid-America Asian Culture Association, (MAACA) an innovative nonprofit association founded in 2014 and whose purpose is to generate awareness about and create alliances between the many Asian culture associations in the Kansas City area, Asian-owned businesses, corporations and the general public through collaborative events, activities, media attention, and on-going dialogue.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Innovator of the Year – Government or Non-Profit –10 or Less Employees

Nomination Title: Carol Wei--Creating alliances within the Asian cultural communities

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated woman since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

Because of Carol Wei’s innovative thinking, energetic leadership, and dynamic management abilities, the Mid-America Asian Culture Association (MAACA) excels in creating alliances within the Asian cultural communities and the many Asian-owned businesses in Kansas City. There has never been a similar organization in Kansas City before.

In the last 12 months, Carol increased MAACA's alliances with large corporations and small businesses by 40%, signing them to be both event sponsors and organizational advocates. She added new levels of participation as “MAACA Strategy Partners” (37 businesses, media, and organizations are now SP’s) and, for volunteers, as “MAACA Ambassadors.” She advanced the number of Asian Association Partners to twenty. Carol met with government leaders to bring greater awareness to them about how the Asian communities and Asian-owned businesses contribute to the economy and the community and includes them in her events.

In 2016, Carol and her team produced the MAACA Asian Cultural Festival, the MAACA Awards Gala (both to sell out audiences), a fundraising golf tournament, and a New Year’s Eve Celebration. The first ever MAACA bowling tournament is scheduled for October. She accomplished all of this with no paid staff, only with the assistance of her board of directors and a team volunteers that she recruits, empowers and then praises for their dedication.

The 2016 MAACA Asian Cultural Festival--A one-day extravaganza Carol developed and has expanded for 3 years. Carol thought a festival would be ideal to help promote and share the many diverse aspects of Asian cultures and businesses. This year, twenty different Asian cultures were represented in one venue through their dance, native costumes, entertainment, martial arts demonstrations and cuisines. More than 100 Asian business owners introduced their enterprises and more than 9,500 people attended, double the 2015 numbers! Carol secured 30 event sponsors, including Sprint, Garmin, and the international engineering firms of Black & Veatch and Burns & McDonald.

The 2016 MAACA Award Gala--The gala included the presentation of a variety of awards in the areas of Asian art, dance, and photography, and also awards given to people and businesses that support the Asian community. There were respected speakers, entertainment, and Asian cultural performances. Carol formed a team of Asian community leaders, corporate executives, and media professionals to help her produce the event. Because of the corporate sponsorships Carol secured, the ticket price was only $10.

The MAACA Foundation--Carol set up her association’s foundation to raise funds for education and disaster relief, and to support the arts in the Asian community in Kansas City. The fund is raising money to donate disaster relief in Nepal, Japan, and the Philippines. In 2016, she added a “Student Education Fund” to present annual Asian Outstanding Student Awards and Martial Arts Education Awards. There is also an Asian Student Emergency Fund and an International Student Exchange Program to help underwrite housing expenses for Asian students to come to the area. The Occupation Education Fund covered the expenses for a successful visit by a Chinese Firefighter Delegation to Kansas City. The first MAACA Foundation Golf Tournament 17 corporate sponsors and more than 80 business people.

Carol’s long-term goal is to build & fund a world-class Asian Cultural Park.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated woman (up to 125 words): Carol Wei is the president of the Mid-America Asian Culture Association, a nonprofit association she founded in 2014 with the purpose is to generate awareness about and create alliances between the many Asian culture associations in the Kansas City area, Asian-owned businesses, corporations and the general public through collaborative events, activities, media attention, and on-going dialogue. Carol emigrated from China to America in 2007 and established herself as a leader and a champion for the Asian community. She is an astute businesswoman and philanthropist. Carol was named “Person of the Year” by the Kansas City Chinese Association, profiled as a one of “50 Kansans You Should Know” in Ingram’s Business Magazine, and honored as the "2014 Kansas Minority Business Advocate of Advocate of the Year.