SAN FRANCISCO – Wells Fargo presented a $1.2 million grant to the Asian & Pacific Islander American (APIA) Scholars last February 6 at the Chinese Cultural Center, Hilton Hotel.

The presentation kicked off the Chinese Lunar New Year festivities just a day before the colorful floats paraded through the streets of San Francisco.

Wells Fargo Marketing Communications Multicultural & Segment PR Chloe Kerr said, “The Lunar New Year is a time for family and friends to get together for a fresh start  and set the stage for happiness, good fortune and success in the coming year. At Wells Fargo we are proud to continue the tradition and legacy of support to the Asian community.”

Wells Fargo Senior Vice-president, Community Relations Senior Consultant and Filipino Denise Miles added that the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration in San Francisco is the largest outside of China. She also cited that one of the strongest Asian community grew right here in this city.

Miles said that the grant is just one way of giving back to the community.

She related her own experience as a struggling single mom and student – the first in her family to graduate from college.

With the help of non-profit organizations like APIA Scholars, working students like herself found access to higher education. The Washington-based organization is the nation’s largest of its kind. Since 2003 APIA Scholars distributed more than $150 million scholarships and manages three scholarships program, including one funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

According to APIA Scholars President Noel Harmon, they have “helped more than 2,100 students and family members across the country and in the US territories receive support and resources.”

Miles said that Wells Fargo was a founding partner and contributed $8 million’s worth in scholarships to APIA in 13 years.

Testimonies were given by APIA scholars Hsin Hung “Hank” Sze and Justin Hogenauer.

Sze was born in Taiwan and moved to San Francisco in 2013. He went to the City College of San Francisco and graduated from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. Currently, he is a manager and co-founder of the start-up Bear Tech.

Hogenauer is a sophomore at UC Berkeley, majoring in Society & Environment and also set his sights on Business Ad. He’s in the Air Force ROTC and intends to be a pilot. (HIB)