For the past 24 years, our work has been to empower young Korean Americans in the New York metropolitan area to become socially responsible leaders in their community.  And as we look ahead to the next 30 years we are reimagining what it means to be a leader in the 21st century.  We believe great leaders have a deep sense of purpose, and a worldview that sees and feels the world differently.   We want to see leaders who are daring enough to have big dreams, and the passion and skills to execute their vision. 

Through our youth program we are dedicated to helping our youth understand themselves and the world better and what it takes to make a lasting impact for others.


We exist to empower young Korean Americans to become socially responsible leaders who make a positive impact in their community.


In a culture when people are becoming more individualistic and divisive than ever, we need leaders who fundamentally want to give back rather than take. Someone who understands that their purpose is meant for something more than themselves. Someone who understands that the way they impact the world is to give more than receive, to have a singular focus and passion that underlies all their decisions and actions, and also have the skills and grit to be able to make their vision a reality. 

Because that is what it takes for change to happen. More than intelligence and skill, it take someone willing to empty themselves for a cause, for a belief, for a vision. It takes someone with a deep heart who sees and feels the world differently. It takes someone who is hopeful enough to see what is possible. 

It's not about measuring yourself on wins and losses or comparing yourself to the person next to you but on intent and effort. Being clear with yourself about why you do certain things and why they matter is crucial in being able to inspire and lead others. 


We are committed to walk alongside each person as theY

Find their Sense
of Purpose

Purpose fuels motivation. It’s the heart of what gives us meaning, and motivates us to make an impact with our lives. But for our youth today, they lack the resources to the help them find a sense of purpose. The way schools are structured, they do not have room for students to understand who they are or explore what they are passionate about.  The way they succeed in a classroom is by repeating the answers of other people’s questions, not their own. They study and work hard for someone else’s definition of purpose, not their own.

And as children of immigrant families, they find themselves stretched in the tension of living the lives their parents want  versus what their “irresponsible” passions or interests may lead them to do. Or worse yet, they find their purpose is to pay back the priceless sacrifices their parents made for them to be Americans.

We want to stand in the gap between their school and family and invite them to start thinking about who they are, what they like, and how they can impact the world.  We believe that giving them the chance to dive deep into their interests and kindle a vision for what their lives can be is a tremendous moment that can forever change the way they view their school, their family, and their own lives.


Deepen Their Awareness
of Person

Self awareness fuels confidence. Someone with strong self awareness is able to assess themselves honestly, being comfortable with their strengths and limitations. They are able to handle difficult situations, being able to see other points of view while staying true to their own values.  Strong self-awareness is foundational in building character and integrity in becoming socially responsible leaders.

The youth today struggle to find themselves in the midst of all the expectations that are put on them by friends, parents, and society. As they try to balance what it means to be an American and a Korean, the contradictions each side brings is confusing to navigate.  One side says to be complaisant, the other says to stand out. One side says to respect your elders the other says to respect yourself first.  One side says “just do as I say” the other says “speak up and make yourself heard.”  

All the while, they are constantly bombarded by their peers and society telling them they are not pretty, cool, or rich enough. It’s easy to lose yourself when you’re pulled in so many directions. But we want to be there for them to help develop a compass for themselves and embrace the tension rather than succumb to it.

Broaden their Sense
of Place

Worldview fuels empathy.  A broadened worldview means that we are open to new ideas and challenges.  It means that we are able to resonate with issues that are beyond our day to day experiences. We become empathetic towards others and inspire us to make an impact in the world.

As Korean Americans, our youth today have a difficult time being able to see outside their immediate circles of influence. Even though technology allows us to explore the world, their worldview is still narrow and limited. We want to expose them to new ideas and experiences so that they can be inspired and convicted to have big dreams and visions.

Board officers

Board chairman

Mike Heesuk KIM

John H. KIM

Co-Vice Chairman 

Robert J. LEE

Howard D. PARK

David D. YOO

Honorary Presidents  

Moon Sung LEE

Joon Jae BANG

Yong Hwa HA

John H. KIM

Alex H. LEE

Jeffrey KIM

Thomas S. KIM

Executive Board


Kwangsoo KIM

Steering Committee

Phillip HONG

Sylvia HUH

Jackie HYUN


Soojung KIM

Christopher J LEE

Dana LEE

Sejin LIM



Program Director


Operations Manager

Myunghoon CHOI

Events Coordinator

Hansol JUNG


Korean American Youth Foundation would like to thank the following donors for their generous support and for believing in our mission. Funding sources include corporations, foundations, individual donors, and special events.