Apex for Youth
29th Inspiration
Awards Gala

Power in Community

June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021

6:30PM EST Dinner & Viewing Parties at participating NYC venues

Joyful Attire

7:30PM EST Live Streamed Program

The 29th Anniversary Inspiration Awards Honorees

Amanda Nguyen

Amanda Nguyen

CEO & Founder of Rise

Amanda Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Rise, and a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee. She penned her own civil rights into existence and unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, 33 laws protecting more than 85 million sexual violence survivors have been created modeled off of her federal law, the 21st bill in modern US history to pass unanimously on the record. Amanda is a Heinz Laureate, Forbes 30 Under 30, Time 100, and Marie Claire Young Woman of the Year. Amanda previously served at NASA and under President Barack Obama as the Deputy White House Liaison.

Daniel Dae Kim

Daniel Dae Kim

Actor & Producer

Daniel Dae Kim has captivated global audiences with his transformative performances across film, television and theater. He continues to evolve his body of work in powerful roles and compelling narratives as an actor, director and producer.

Kim currently stars in Joe Penna’s Stowaway, opposite Toni Collette, Anna Kendrick and Shamier Anderson. After a stowaway is discovered on a mission to Mars, the crew is faced with an existential decision that may jeopardize all their lives. An intensely personal human drama, Netflix released the film worldwide on April 22. Kim also recently lent his vocal talents to Disney +’s Raya and The Last Dragon, which also features the voices of Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Benedict Wong and Sandra Oh. 

Next year, Kim can be seen in AMC’s Pantheon, the ambitious one-hour animated drama, based on a series of short stories by Ken Liu about Uploaded Intelligence. Kim is currently in production on the second installment of National Geographic’s scripted anthology series, The Hot Zone: Anthrax. Based on the domestic terror attacks following 9/11, Kim stars as the federal agent on the case, opposite Tony Goldwyn.

The prolific actor is a longtime champion of increased diversity and Asian American representation in Hollywood, and has served as an important voice throughout the current surge of violence towards people of Asian descent. His work as an advocate has been documented in the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC News Nightline and a ground-breaking five-part PBS documentary.

Daniel Dae Kim
Jon M. Chu

Jon M. Chu


Jon M. Chu is known for his visually stunning blockbuster films, as well as his kinetic work across various genres, from groundbreaking series to commercials and films. He directed the worldwide phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians, which was nominated for numerous awards, including a SAG Award, a Golden Globe, and PGA Award. The film has earned more than $175 million in the United States alone, with a worldwide gross of almost $240 million, making it one of the top 10 highest grossing romantic comedies of all time. It was the first contemporary studio picture in more than 25 years to feature an all-Asian cast, and it represents a new chapter in Chu’s 10-year career.  

Chu most recently served as an executive producer and director on Home Before Dark, for Apple, which premiered April 3, 2020. The series was inspired by the true story of 11-year-old investigative reporter Hilde Lysiak and stars Jim Sturgess and Brooklynn Prince. Home Before Dark will return for a second season on June 11, 2021 on Apple TV+, with ten episodes that will release week-to-week each Friday, which Chu executive produced.  

Upcoming, Chu helmed his most ambitious project to date, the highly anticipated adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights for Warner Bros. Studios, which will also be released June 11, 2021.  

Chu will next direct Universal’s Wicked, the feature-film adaptation of the record-breaking musical phenomenon that is in its 17th smash-hit year on Broadway. 

Chu’s previous credits include Step Up 2: The Streets, GI. Joe: Retaliation, Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never and many more representing over 1.3 billion dollars in the worldwide box office. Additionally, his unique storytelling ability has earned him the honor of being on the Hollywood Reporter’s Power 100 list as well as Variety’s New Hollywood Leaders.  



Golden Globe Winning Actress

Awkwafina is a Golden Globe winning actress, writer, and producer from Queens, New York. Born as Nora Lum, her trademark comedic style has made her a breakout star. Lum can be seen in season one of her self-produced Comedy Central show, Awkwafina is Nora From Queens. She also recently starred in Jumanji: The Next Level, MGM’s Breaking News in Yuba County, and Disney +’s Raya and the Last Dragon. Awkwafina can next be seen in Marvel’s Shang Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings to be released on September 3rd.

Previously, Lum received universal acclaim as the protagonist of The Farewell, winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical). Based on a true story about a family saying goodbye to their unknowing matriarch, The Farewell beat the record of biggest per-theater average of the year previously held by Avengers: Endgame. Lum also starred as Peik Lin in 2018’s breakout film Crazy Rich Asians, a movie which grossed $20 million for four straight weekends. Other appearances include Ocean’s 8, Dude written and directed by Olivia Milch, and her debut in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. Lum also voice acted as Quail in Storks.

Lum’s impressive range and ability is apparent throughout her career. In 2018, Lum hosted Saturday Night Live in its 44th season. Her first book and travel guide, Awkwafina’s NYC, was published in 2015. In 2012, Lum became an internet sensation with her viral satire video My Vag. In 2014, Lum debuted with the album Yellow Ranger, featuring iconic tracks such as NYC Bitche$, Mayor Bloomberg (Giant Margarita), and Yellow Ranger. Lum resides in Los Angeles.


Presenters & Speakers

Lisa Ling

Lisa Ling

Journalist & Author

Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang

Non-Profit Leader, Entrepreneur, & Former Presidential Candidate 

Gemma Chan

Gemma Chan

Actress, Producer, & Activist

Michelle Lee

Michelle Lee

Editor in Chief, Allure

Bing Chen

Bing Chen

President & Co-Founder, Gold House

#LetsEatForApex Restaurant Partners

Gala Chairs

  • Jeff Chen

    Vice President, Enhanced Healthcare Partners
  • Wen Zhou

    CEO & Co-Founder, 3.1 Phillip Lim

#LetsEatForApex Chairs

  • Arnold Byun

    Founder, With Warm Welcome
  • Sophia Li

    Journalist & Director

Honorary Chairs

  • Grace Pen

  • Veronica Chou

    CEO & Founder, Everybody & Everyone

Gala Committee

  • Karen Wong

    Deputy Director, New Museum
  • Patrick Lo

    Partner, Waterfall Asset Management, LLC
  • Patrick Yee

    Partner, Rebel Ventures

Youth Advocacy Group

  • Adrian Yu
  • Alexa Fisher
  • Andrew Christine
  • Coco Crangi
  • Courtney Crangi
  • Emma Weinberg
  • Jett Bisset
  • Juliana Ocampo
  • Ming Chen
  • Sacha Gross

Apex for Youth Thanks Our Sponsors!

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  • James Chang


  • Chris Kay, Old Machine

  • Eric T. Lee and Cindy Chua 

  • Kevin Eng and Un Hae Song 

  • Lee and Margaret Lau

  • Thomas S. Chin


  • Gil and Ling Liu

  • Grace Pen

  • Jay and Sonja Kim Family Foundation

  • Jeff Chen, Carol Lin, and Friends!

  • Joe and Lily Wong

  • Katherine Yang and Raymond Chan

  • Kathy and Ricky Wong & Tzo Ai Ang and Ken Lee

  • Robert and Karen Lee

  • Simon Kim and Nayun Shin

  • The Sriratana Family

  • Veronica Chou


  • Betty Wong

  • Chris Chao & Friends

  • David Liu and Carley Roney

  • Diana Hung-Jar and David Jar

  • Jacqueline Wong and Peter Maa

  • Patrick Lo and Natasha Wattel

  • Toni Wang

  • Victoria W Hsu

  • Waterfall Asset Management


  • Ada Sim and Michael Tang

  • Joyce and Edward Wu 

  • Julian Liau and Clara Chae

  • KAWS and Julia Chiang

  • Michelle Choo and Alexander Popov

  • Robert and Maria Torres