Welcome to the 2015 Immigrant Social Services, Inc. (ISS) Fundraising Gala!  Tonight, we are gathered here to celebrate our community:  We will honor three distinguished leaders; we will pay tribute to the stewards of ISS; and we will highlight the gifts and talents of our ISS children.  Tonight, we are all partners in supporting and nurturing our future role-models and leaders.


Man Chee Dramatic & Benevolent Association has been a pillar and protector of our Chinese cultural heritage in Chinatown for 90 years. Man Chee was founded at a time when our Chinese American forebears were isolated and unwelcome in the United States.  Man Chee created a haven for those brave individuals to have the opportunity to retain a vital part of who they are through the performing arts and music.  By learning, practicing, enjoying, and performing dramatic art forms and music, these pioneering Chinese Americans were able strengthen their spirits and fortify their souls.  This rich activity made their difficult life circumstances more bearable, allowing them the strength to triumph over their adversity and pave the way for all of us to be able to thrive in a better and more tolerant community today.


For 25 years, Dr. Poon served as Chairman of Pediatrics at New York Downtown Hospital, now New York Presbyterian–Lower Manhattan Hospital.  He is a specialist in pediatric cardiology.  He is the President of the Chinese Community Partnership for Health (CCPH), a community-based initiative that helped underserved members of the Chinese community obtain health care services for over a decade. Dr. Poon is also a wise businessman.  He has developed and revitalized the neighborhood with new and refurbished buildings and that work, too, is making a difference in the community.  Although the title he prefers is simply family physician, we all affectionately know Dr. Eric Poon as our “community’s pediatrician” who ensures our young children receive the best health and opportunities to becoming healthy and strong adults.  His clinical work, his leadership, his research, and his business engagements are vivid examples of Dr. Poon’s commitment to the well-being and advancement of the Chinese community in New York.


Visionary, dreamer, risk-taker, innovator, entrepreneur are how we would typically describe Mr. Terry Tang.  Mr. Tang has taken ideas and methodically worked through the inevitable obstacles and challenges in carrying out a plan of action.  He has consistently been able to break through the barriers with outside-the-box thinking to push a small operation into a top business enterprise that has multi-ethnic appeal and international reach.

This is taking innovation into its successful logical next steps.  TMI has become a diversified corporation in food manufacturing, import-export and distribution business.  Bruce Cost Ginger Ale (BCGA) Concept Corp., which initially produced a niche drink, is now a globally sought after artisanal beverage.  Mr. Tang has also taken this corporate citizenship very seriously.   Because Mr. Tang believes in giving back to the community, he has been extremely generous in supporting a number of community organizations and programs.  One only needs to visit his factory in Brooklyn to see why Mr. Tang’s thinking so resonates with ISS.  The murals in his factory walls speak volumes about how children, ideas, expression, arts, innovation, spirit, and community can come together synergistically.


Impressive as the three honorees are, ISS too, has our own leaders and role-models:  Our founder, Dr. Matthew Cheng, whose concern for our growing immigrant community had the foresight to create ISS to specifically address our community’s and our children’s  burgeoning needs.  Our Chairman Emeritus, Dr. Patrick So, served over 20 years (and counting) as a member of the Board, 13 years of which he was ISS’s Chairman of the Board.  And Victor Papa, our previous Executive Director, shepherded and sustained the organization for over 12 years.  We would not have the essential foundation in place without their tireless guidance, support, and governance.


All together, these six leaders inspired us, nurtured us, and taught us how to find pathways and solutions to seemingly intractable problems and to find innovative ways to address everyday concerns large and small.  We want our children to learn these lessons through these wonderful role-models. We need all of you to continue your support so that we can share the joy of seeing these fantastically talented young people become the best they can be and what we hope for in our future leaders.

On behalf of the Board, the staff, volunteers, and most important of all, our children, thank you for coming tonight.  We thank you for your continuing support for Immigrant Social Services.

We are, as we should, continue to learn from and adapt to our ever-changing environment and circumstance, but we must also be wise enough to honor and keep what works from our past.

Thank you very much for your support!



Charles Lai                                                                  Sherman Ng

Executive Director                                                                               Chairman of the Board

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