Reverend Norman Fong Announced as the New Executive Director
SAN FRANCISCO – Aloha and goodwill was in the air at the festive Hawaiian-themed gala on September 30, 2011 at the Hilton Hotel SF. Eight hundred people attended the affair and encouraged to wear Hawaiian attire including housing advocates, dignitaries, community leaders, businesses and foundations.
Co-emcees Rev. Norman Fong and 98.1 Kiss FM DJ Renel Brooks-Moon of “Renel & Christie in the Morning” kept the night fun and lively. Joining the festivities and paying tribute to Chin were Honorable Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Mayor Ed Lee, Assemblyman Mark Leno, Assessor Phil Ting, Supervisors Jane Kim, David Chiu, Malia Cohen and Scott Wiener, Judge Harry Low, Local 2 President Mike Casey and Dr. Sandra Hernandez, Chief Executive Officer of the San Francisco Foundation.
Congresswoman Pelosi paid tribute to Chin who called him “a coalition builder who never lost focus:” she thanked him for his leadership and for transforming one of San Francisco’s most dense neighborhoods then presented him with a United States Flag that flew in Washington DC in his name.
Chin co-founded Chinatown CDC and was hired as the organization’s first Executive Director on April 1, 1977. Starting on April Fool’s day was a fitting metaphor for his life philosophy: “we should never take ourselves too seriously, but we should take our work seriously.”
Currently, Chinatown CDC is at the forefront of community advocacy, planning, and affordable housing development in the City of San Francisco. Chin has been a tireless advocate for the preservation, promotion and revitalization of the inner city neighborhoods such as Chinatown.
Under his 34 years of leadership and guidance the organization’s programs now serve over 4,000 low-income tenants, youth, families, and seniors, and they have built and operate over 2,300 units of affordable housing. Chin has also developed the organization as a national leader in civil rights in the Asian American and Community Development movements. Chinatown CDC has been recognized for its innovation in its urban neighborhood policy, intergenerational approach to resident organizing, for creative housing models serving seniors, immigrant families, homeless veterans and many other at risk populations, and for its place based planning embracing arts and culture.
Legacy Continues: The Gordon Chin Leadership Fund
Chin spoke of his thirty-four years as the best and thanked his wife Dorothy for all her support. He plans to write, consult, and focus on developing The Gordon Chin Leadership Fund.
Based on one of his catchphrases, “you can never have too much leadership,” The Gordon Chin Community Leadership Fund honors and expands the extraordinary community development work that Chin has led and personified locally and nationally for more than three decades.
The Leadership Fund has already raised $768,000 and seeks to raise $1 million by spring 2012 to support three important leadership goals of the Chinatown CDC. Funds will be used to expand community leadership programs and to enhance Chinatown CDC’s ability to respond quickly to address important community issues.
1) Spread the Chinatown CDC Story through documentation of Chinatown CDC models of community planning, community organizing and innovative affordable housing models in order to continue strengthen the community development field.
2) Expand and promote the cultivation of new community leaders, strengthen the effectiveness of existing community-based organizations, and establish supportive networks for mutual assistance, resource sharing, and collaborative problem solving across racial, gender and neighborhood lines.
3) Encourage and train immigrants, seniors, and youth to participate in City commissions, committees, nonprofit boards, and issue campaigns and be involved in their communities.
Building on that History and Leading into the Future
The evening ended with Rev. Norman Fong being introduced as the new Executive Director. With his new tenure beginning October 1, 2011, Fong is committed to building upon Chin’s legacy and model of leadership to ensure Chinatown CDC continues to be the best community development center in the nation. Fong has worked closely with Chin and Chinatown CDC for the last 21 years as the organization’s Deputy Director and is passionate about affordable housing, civil rights and the low-income communities like the one he grew up in – Chinatown.
In 1990, Fong joined Chinatown CDC as the Director of Programs and in 2007 was promoted to Deputy Director, where he managed a department of 23 staff in program areas of resident services, community organizing, neighborhood planning, and youth leadership development. With Fong at the helm of community programs, hundreds of tenants, community members, and local organizations work together to make San Francisco a safe and comfortable place to call home. Throughout his tenure at Chinatown CDC, Fong has continued to pave the way for immigrant and youth grassroots leadership to have a voice in fighting for improved quality of life, quality housing, and safe communities.
For more information on Chinatown CDC and its programs including The Gordon Leadership Fund, please visit www.chinatowncdc.org.
About Chinatown Community Development Center
The Mission of the Chinatown Community Development Center is to build community and enhance the quality of life for San Francisco residents. We are a place-based community development organization serving primarily the Chinatown neighborhood, and also serve other areas including North Beach, Tenderloin, the Northern Waterfront, the Western Addition, Japantown, Polk Gulch, the Richmond, Civic Center and the South of Market area. We play the roles of neighborhood advocates, community organizers, planners, developers, and managers of affordable housing.
Winnie Chu, 415-984-1472