Northwest Asian Weekly
The Chinese Information and Service Center’s (CISC) tough times might now be gone.
The organization’s 41st anniversary dinner at the Bellevue Hyatt Hotel may have been the hardest event for its staff to pull off, since CISC has been without an executive director for the last several months. Its former director, Alaric Bien, had done most of the fundraising for the past 11 dinners, including selling sponsorships and auction items. This year, the dinner had one of the lowest numbers of participants ever, with roughly 300 people attending. CISC had also experienced funding cuts during the year and received less sponsorship for the event.
Despite those challenges, CISC had good news to report. Board President Janet Ung introduced CISC’s new executive director, Dorothy Wong, who will begin her official duties on July 1.
Wong is well known in Seattle’s Asian community. She joined International Community Health Services (ICHS) in 1993 when the organization was still a small operation. Trained in San Francisco during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and a former director of the Asian AIDS project, she grew the agency into a multi-million-dollar organization.
Ung said she was impressed with Wong’s passion for the community and CISC’s mission.
Long-time board member Mary Hsu said it took more than seven months to find a new leader for CISC because the organization was also competing with other Asian American nonprofit agencies that were also looking for executive directors.
The dinner did well despite a less than stellar turn out, raising over $120,000. The board and staff pulled everything together. Ung said she was nervous while organizing the event. She credited Stephen Lam and Weiling Chan in filling in the executive director role.
The board members donated live auction items to make the program more robust, including a spring roll party for eight, a twelve-month supply of noodles, a barbecue picnic for 25, and a brunch-cocktail party for 20. The staff also stepped up with auction items, donating a “play and learn birthday party for 10 kids” at CISC and a year of homemade desserts for eight for 12 months.
Though there were fewer guests, they were enthusiastic. Both past and present board members bid highly for the auction items.
The dinner also had invited new guests who were willing to give generously. One of them had spent over $2,000 for the auction.
“People believe in CISC mission and they wanted to give,” said Hsu.
Founded in 1972. CISC helps Chinese and other Asian immigrants throughout King County achieve success in their new community by providing information, referral, advocacy, social, and support services.
Located in Chinatown, it has a family center, senior center, and classrooms to support its numerous job and youth programs.
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