Mr. Christopher Y. Kui

New York, New York
United States

Focus Areas

Community & Civic Engagement
Social Justice
Immigration & Border Issues


Christopher Kui is a pioneer of the community development movement and a long-time champion of community services and civil rights, advocating for the Asian American and immigrant communities of New York City. Mr. Kui currently serves as the Executive Director of Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), a premier community development corporation established in 1974 and NeighborWorks America charter member. Mr. Kui is also the founder and Chair of the Board of Directors of Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC), an AAFE-affiliate and U.S. Department of Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), providing financing and technical assistance to immigrant, minority, and women-owned small businesses. REDC counsels over 600 small businesses each year and has lent out over $33 million to over 950 businesses during the past ten years. During hurricane Sandy, under Mr. Kui’s leadership, REDC was able to provide technical assistance and a combination loans and grants to over 200 small businesses totaling over $3.5 million citywide. The New York Press called Mr. Kui “…a beacon in dark times,” awarding him the Downtown OTTY Award (Our Town Thanks You). During Mr. Kui’s tenure, AAFE has raised over $85 million to build more than 700 housing units for low-income and homeless individuals and families and over $250 million in mortgage financing on behalf of immigrant and low-income families to purchase homes. Mr. Kui has initiated and oversees programs to improve the lives of the largely immigrant community, including: social service access for families and seniors, technical assistance to emerging Asian American organizations, assistance to small business owners, and homeownership and foreclosure prevention counseling. Also a tireless advocate for immigrant and housing rights, Mr. Kui serves on U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Task Force on Immigration and the Network Advisory Committee of the Enterprise Community Partners. In addition to serving as Commissioner on the New York City Planning Commission from 2003–2007, Mr. Kui has also served on the transition teams of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Mayors Rudolph Giuliani and David Dinkins, and NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo. Since 2002, Mr. Kui has overseen AAFE’s work with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to administer its $300 million Residential Grant Program (RGP), which provides financial incentives to retain and attract residents to lower Manhattan after September 11. In addition, under Mr. Kui’s leadership, AAFE convened the Rebuild Chinatown Initiative (RCI), a comprehensive community-based planning project to engage Chinatown and Lower East Side stakeholders including residents, businesses, and public agencies in the revitalization of Chinatown in the aftermath of September 11. Through RCI’s recommendations, approximately $100 million dollars were invested by public and private funders to strengthening Chinatown’s infrastructure. In 2004, RCI received the Meritorious Achievement Award from the New York Metro chapter of the American Planning Association. Citing a patter of barriers facing many recent immigrants and the lack of affordable housing in New York City, Mr. Kui has helped AAFE develop a comprehensive approach to fair housing, tenant and landlord counseling, and homeownership programs. Under his leadership, AAFE established the first Asian Pacific American fair housing organization to provide extensive multi-lingual and multi-cultural outreach and education programs and became a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Local Housing Counseling Agency. He is also founder of Chhaya Community Development Corporation, an organization that saw its beginning within AAFE and now serves South and Southeast Asians in homeownership counseling. Seeking to increase awareness of Asian Pacific American issues on the national level, Mr. Kui founded the National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans for Community Development (National CAPACD). Under Mr. Kui’s leadership as Founding President from 2000-2002, National CAPACD gained traction and became a leading organization in advocating for Asian Pacific Americans. In 2005, Mr. Kui was awarded the prestigious Samuel J. Simmons Lifetime Achievement Award in Fair Housing from HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for outstanding leadership in the struggle for civil and human rights. In 1999, Mr. Kui was selected to serve a two-year term on President Clinton’s U.S.-China Residential Building Council. Mr. Kui’s work on the Council included the development of residential mortgage industries and formulating innovative practices that can be applied in the areas of affordable housing development, community planning, and urban design. His dedication to sustainable urban development was recognized when he was asked in 2008 to serve as Juror of the Selection Committee of Rockefeller Foundation’s Jane Jacobs Award, an honor given to New Yorkers committed to creative uses of urban planning and development. Mr. Kui is a recognized voice on housing and community development issues, having appeared in the New York Times, New York Daily News, Crain’s as well as the local and national Asian press. Mr. Kui, himself a Chinese American who immigrated to New York from Hong Kong in 1970, holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics from New York University and a fellowship in government from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He was awarded a James A. Johnson Fellowship, a program of the Fannie Mae Foundation and a Kellogg National Fellowship in connection of the Kellogg Foundation. In 2006, Mr. Kui was named one of the most influential people in politics by New York Magazine.