Northeast

New York

140619_HER07_13Christopher Kui

Age: 54
Hometown: New York City
Cause: Community development

Kui, who immigrated from Hong Kong as a child, started volunteering with the New York-based Asian Americans for Equality when he was in college, teaching English and citizenship classes and helping families fill out applications for affordable rental housing. Since becoming executive director in 1993, Kui has built AAFE into major provider of community services (such as getting youngsters on the road to college), small-business lending, and low-cost housing. Among other accomplishments, the organization has built 700 low-cost rental units in the city and rehabbed about 100 additional homes for purchase by first-time home buyers. An affiliate has lent out more than $33 million to small businesses owned by immigrants, minorities and women; in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it made 160 emergency loans — averaging $30,000 — to help local businesses recover.

Says Kui:

As an immigrant, I have been able to access the best of this country. And I want to help other people achieve the same dream.”

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