The Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute (APALI) was established in 1997 to address the persistent civic engagement and social challenges faced by Asian Americans. Dr. Michael Chang, then the first Asian American to be Mayor of Cupertino, founded APALI as a part of De Anza College with strong support from the College administration, philanthropic leaders, and corporate partners. As an identifiable minority which is three-quarters first generation immigrants, Asian Americans account for only five percent of the US population and a history of being excluded in American society. APALI seeks to encourage civic participation and contribute to community development, identity security, as well as addressing issues such as racial stereotypes, workplace/social glass-ceilings, and civic representation.
Through promoting civic engagement in government and non-profit sectors, APALI has a broad three-fold focus: