What Gets Easier and What Gets Harder - Kyung Yoon

In Chapter 1 of 19 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, non-profit executive Kyung Yoon answers "What is Getting Easier and What is Getting Harder in Your Life?  In her non-profit leadership role, she finds her work gets easier as her organization brand becomes stronger and better known.  Yoon finds drawing boundaries for non-profit and community initiatives progressively more challenging as she identifies more deserving potential grantees yet remains constrained by fundraising limitations. 

Kyung Yoon is the executive director of the Korean American Community Foundation (KACF) in New York City.  An award-winning journalist and documentary film producer, Yoon earned an MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University and a BA in History and Political Science at Wellesley College.


Erik Michielsen:  What's getting easier and what's getting harder in your life?

Kyung B. Yoon:  I think professionally, being the executive director of a nonprofit organization, community foundation that was essentially a start up.  This is our ninth year.  And, I can see that it is getting easier as the Korean American Community Foundation is becoming known.  We are definitely establishing a brand.  And, especially in the Korean American and Asian American communities, particularly around the New York area, people know what we are about.  And so, I think it's easier to talk about our vision, our mission.  It's never easy to raise funds but it certainly is very different from the early days when I would say, KACF and they'd say, "KFC?  Are you selling chicken?" 

As far as what's getting harder, I think as we, as a community foundation, we are funders in the community, so there's the grant making aspect, working with our grantee partners who are nonprofit organizations that are addressing some of the most pressing needs in the community, really working with some of the most vulnerable populations.  And so, I think it's harder to draw boundaries around what it is.  Because of course, we want to help everyone and yet our resources are limited and we need to stay focused on what is the mission of KACF.  For me personally, I think it's just hard because I'd like to go out to every single one of the benefit dinner galas of our grantee partners, also being in the community.  Also, as a fundraiser in the community, we know we need to constantly be doing work to raise awareness about KACF.  And so, I find that it's kind of never ending.  And, that's challenging but it's also work that is extremely near and dear to my heart and very meaningful.  So, I feel very blessed to be able to do it.