OIA Grantee Spotlight: Saahas for Cause

Payal Sawhney1 OIA Grantee Spotlight: Saahas for Cause
Payal Sawhney, Executive Director of Saahas for Cause

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Saahas for Cause took action to provide support and resources for South Asian communities in Southern California.

The Cerritos-based nonprofit distributed PPE and helped run vaccine clinics. They collaborated with South Asian businesses and meeting places to raise awareness of public health strategies that would help halt the spread of COVID-19. And the organization held seminars and support circles addressing topics of mental health, domestic violence, and grief that were exacerbated by the crisis.

“The issues that we started working on were magnified,” Payal Sawhney, executive director of Saahas for Cause, told CNM in an interview. “Immigration is a big stressor in and of itself, which can cause a lot of trauma, mental health issues, domestic violence, and many other unhealthy scenarios in a family.”


During the onset of the pandemic, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) released a report on the disparate impact of COVID-19 across South Asian American communities. It highlighted the risk factors that South Asian Americans face due to immigration status, experiences with domestic violence, underlying health conditions, or unsafe working environments—and recognized the role that local South Asian community organizations took on by providing direct services.

Now, in the aftermath, with emergency funding drying up, small organizations like Saahas for Cause must be proactive in securing resources to continue offering vital services to their communities. Through a program that CNM helped facilitate, Saahas for Cause was selected as a LA County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) grantee.

The grant has helped Saahas for Cause improve, configure, and train staff in data collection and management, and strengthen the capacity of their board of directors, especially around roles, responsibilities, and data-driven decision-making. Saahas’ staff have accessed CNM’s seminars and expertise in nonprofit organizational services to strengthen their skill sets and strategic planning.

“We still need insurance, we still need cybersecurity … all the small things that a nonprofit needs to sustain and survive,” Payal said. “[Without these resources], a small nonprofit would never have the bandwidth to do all these things, the important ingredients of running a nonprofit systematically.”

To learn more, visit Saahas’ website, resources, and upcoming events.

About the OIA Grant Program

The LA County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) grant program is funded by the County of Los Angeles, allocated from American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, and administered by CNM. This grant program intends to provide direct investments to immigrant-focused community-based organizations. Learn more about the OIA Grant program

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