Executive Director, Asian Americans For Equality (AAFE)
Thomas Yu is the Executive Director of Asian Americans For Equality (AAFE) a 50-year old NYC-based community development organization serving the 1.3 million New Yorkers of Asian descent, and all those in need regardless of background. Under his helm, AAFE has achieved development of over 1,200 units of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families, provided crucial social services to over 35,000 individuals annually, assisted over 10,000 small business entrepreneurs with over $66 million of direct capital, and aided 5,000 first time homebuyers in achieving their American Dream with counseling and securing of $250 million in sustainable home mortgages. Thomas also leads AAFE’s grassroots policy advocacy, urban planning and infrastructure capital investment in AAPI and other communities, with a goal of advancing community revitalization through local arts and space activation.
Thomas has served on various mayoral taskforces and had been a long-time member of Manhattan’s Community Board #3, specifically on the Parks, Waterfront Development, Landmarks and Housing committees. Thomas is a director on the board of Hester Street Collaborative, a NYC non-profit which aims to use architecture and design to help NYC residents become civically engaged in community planning. Thomas also sits on the advisory boards of Low Income Investment Fund’s New Market Tax Credit team and Valley National Bank, and was the past Board Co-Chair of National CAPACD. Thomas received a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Harvard University and a Masters in Urban Planning from the New York University Wagner School of Public Service.