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Being Out in the Community
Empowering the
Korean American Church Community - Pt 2

Written by Hyepin Im

Through CUED and my contact with HUD, I realized that government was beginning to acknowledge the faith community as partners in their work. Three years ago under the leadership of Secretary Andrew Cuomo, a whole department was set up to proactively work with the faith community. Recently, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo set aside a whole day to address specifically the faith community in regards to HUD and other governmental funding sources. In planning this event, Secretary Cuomo and HUD made it a priority to be inclusive of different faiths and races. In fact, HUD went as far as funding $25,000 for simultaneous translation equipment and service for the Korean delegation that came to the event!

Hyepin  Im  
Work Background

In addition, Hyepin, served as the Community Gifts Manager at the Science Center, and was responsible for the institution's community outreach effort in developing and implementing strategies that created a sense of ownership in the new California Science Center from the members of the community.

Her cultivation and solicitation efforts have resulted in gifts and participation from a broad spectrum of the community. Some examples of her successes included creating partnerships with Adohr Farm Milk, First A.M.E. Church, the United Teachers Los Angeles, Department of Water and Power, and Mayor's office and City of Los Angeles.

My experience with HUD made me learn several lessons. First, I learned that it never hurts to ask. At the CUED meeting with HUD, I asked for simultaneous translation for Korean American participants. I informed them that the majority of the Korean American church community would have difficulty in participating without translation in Korean. As a result, it was the only language at the conference that had translation service. Second, I learned that even if the answer is yes, you have to be vigilant in making sure the offer is delivered. I ran into several challenges and if I had not stayed on top of things it would not have happened. Third, I learned that for many Korean American churches, this concept of seeking funding sources is so foreign and intimidating that they would rather not venture out of their comfort zone. Initially, I had called upon a few church pastors for assistance in reaching out to other Korean churches but to my dismay it fell on deaf ears. Finally, I learned that if I present the message in the right format and platform, miracles could happen. Through grace of God, I was able to have an interview with Korea Times and the Gospel Broadcasting Corporation. The Korea Times article came out on September 2nd and featured Mark Whitlock and myself on the upcoming HUD conference. The article mentioned that the HUD seminar would teach churches how to receive government funding. As a result of this article, I received over 100 calls from all over the country (even some far away as Tennessee, Hawaii, and New York) inquiring about HUD and other sources of government funding.

Little Tokyo Service Center for the last 19 years has been providing over a dozen different community and social programs as well sponsoring several major community development projects. At the HUD Conference, I came in contact with Josh Ishimatsu of Little Tokyo Service Center. Josh Ishimatsu, one of 40 paid staffs at the Center, is in charge of the three-year HUD-funded program, which provides technical skills and organizational capacity building to non-profits committed to enhancing housing and economic development.

Hyepin  Im  
Community Efforts

In her free time, Hyepin served as the President of the Korean American Coalition for two years from 1995 - 1996, and was instrumental in raising the profile of the coalition and bringing the organization to a greater financial accountability and stability.

After receiving over 100 calls at work,
I realized that I needed to identify some experts to whom I could refer the calls. Although CUED members were experts in this field, I realized that their schedule was too full to realistically help these callers. I was grateful for the opportunity to meet Josh and discuss how we could work together. In my meeting with Josh Ishimatsu and Eric Nakano, Deputy Director, I was able to investigate what their capacity was to handle the referrals. To my delight, I found out that the Center is very thorough in helping their clients from start to finish. However, the downside was that their capacity was limited to two to three churches and at maximum five churches. Josh was helpful, however, in taking a survey of the few churches I referred over. Josh's survey demonstrated that a number of the churches already had land, or had started some housing projects on their own. Some even had a separate 501 3 organization already established and was ready to take the next step while other churches were just beginning to get interested in a project. As a result of this survey, I came to realize that I needed to identify another partner whose mission was to help churches with capacity building at various levels.

Vision Los Angeles is part of World Vision ministry and its goal is to strengthen and rebuild communities by addressing the needs of children and their families. Their programs are implemented collaboratively with local church partners. Through introduction from Janice Martin, Executive Director of Vision LA and CUED member, I was introduced to Dr. Jolly Beyioku of Vision LA whose sole responsibility is to assist churches in capacity building. In my four hour meeting with Dr. Jolly, I had a chance to review what kind of programs are available and his flexibility in designing a one day workshop to train the Korean American churches. Dr. Jolly was very responsive to my concerns and wanted to work with me to make the workshop successful. We agreed that we would go over his proposed one-day workshop and fill in the details at a later time.

I also found great confort in knowing that once the Korean American churches were ready to be fully committed to this venture, that Vision LA had ongoing programs that taught churches the basics from how to set up a 501 3 status, to how to set up a Board, to Biblical foundation for the church to get involved with these kind of efforts. It was also reassuring to know that Dr. Jolly had a network of resources and competent consultants to assist churches in the detail matter. More than anything else, Dr. Jolly had trained many other churches to develop their economic development program including West Los Angeles Church's successful Economic Development Program.

Finally, I was touched by Dr. Jolly's comment that he thanked God for answer to his prayer when he heard about my effort to empower the Korean American churches. For the past

Hyepin  Im  
Her Past Accomplishments

Her accomplishments include establishing an endowment fund, opening additional chapters, initiating new programs such as the college outreach program and young leadership council, and publishing guides such as the Korean American Experts Guide for Media as well as strengthening existing programs such as the Citizenship Application Program.

Hyepin has been a frequent speaker at numerous events on leadership, community service, fundraising and on the Asian American community.

several years, he had attempted to infiltrate the Korean American church community but with little success. In leaving my meeting with Dr. Jolly, I also thanked God for helping me find a partner whom I could trust and work with in bringing the Korean American churches to new levels.


Crenshaw Christian Center has a successful economic development program called the Vermont Village Community Development Corporation (VVCDC). VVCDC's goal is similar to FAME Renaissance in economic development. VVCDC facilitates and supports partnerships among business, financial and neighborhood entrepreneurs to acquire, develop and lease vacant properties on Vermont Avenue and to promote business ownership and employment opportunities for community residents and parishioners.

I was invited to visit VVCDC and Crenshaw Christian Center by Allan Crabbe, Vice President and CUED member. Upon entering the church complex, I couldn't help but feel that I was entering the United Nations complex with its beautiful white buildings and flags of every nation. It was an oasis in the middle of South Central L.A. and boosted my confidence that VVCDC would have success in their projects. Allan was most generous with his time in giving a tour of the facility and overview of their program. Knowing Allan's busy schedule, I was surprised and appreciative of Allan's initiative to reach out to me. I just gave glory to God for His grace.

In my tour, I was most impressed with their recently built gym facility that could double as a conference center. The facility had everything including break out rooms, computer rooms and even a video taping capability that would capture the game being played in the gym or a speaker in a session. They then had the capacity to have the tape ready to hand out at the end of the session. Amazing! I was even more delightfully surprised to hear that the gym would be made available to the community without charge. In addition, Allen offered to provide simultaneous translation equipment from the church if we were to hold the workshop. In hearing this, I felt more than half way there in making the workshop happen.

Click HERE to go to Part 3
Click HERE to go to Part 1 and HERE to go to Part 4

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