Bill Wading presents "All the Tea in China"

2009 Open House

October 18, 2009

2009-1 3 20131107 1397150202On a brilliant Sunday afternoon on October 18, 2009, the Chinese Heritage Foundation (CHF) held its Fifth Annual Open House at Gramercy Park. It was a landmark celebration for this new organization. In five short years the Foundation has built a solid reputation as a creditable and responsive organization in the Chinese community and beyond. Its grant making has gone to outstate locations such as Hutchinson, St. Cloud and Alexandria, fulfilling its funding mission to bring Chinese arts and culture to all of Minnesota. Likewise its volunteer calligraphy team is traveling throughout the metropolitan area, doing name translations and presenting lecture/demonstrations in settings as varied as schools, corporate campuses, and multicultural festivals.

On this Sunday afternoon a bustling team of volunteers has prepared delicious snacks such as crispy peanut triangles, char sui, fresh crab sandwiches, curry potato cakes, and almond cookies, complemented by an inviting fresh fruit salad and cashew nuts. Special brewed teas, compliments of TeaSource, made for a satisfying midafternoon high tea. Master of ceremonies, Ida Lano, introduced organizations that had received grant awards from the Foundation in the past year. This list included Arts Midwest, Minnesota Center Chorale and Minhua Chorus. A fellow of the CHF Fellowship, established in perpetuity in the History Department of the University of Minnesota, also spoke. CHF Committee members then2009-1 13 20131107 1458978437 presented a brief summary of CHF activities, including the highly successful second presentation of A Passage to China at the Mall of America. Stephanie Hall, events coordinator at Mall of America, was present to announce next year's date for this exciting outreach event.

To acknowledge the importance volunteers play in its activities CHF, an entirely volunteer-run organization, instituted an annual Volunteer of the Year Award this year. The first award went to David B. Lam, the leader of the calligraphy team. In addition to name translations and lecture presentations, David has also been the resident fortune-teller. Many a hare-brained scheme has been warned off by David's grave admonition that anything not thoroughly planned is not worth the risk involved.

2009-1 31 20131107 1992230946Following its by-now well-established tradition, CHF honored outstanding Minnesotans with its Chinese Minnesotan of Note Award. The award, posthumously this year, went to Walter James. The full essay had already been published in both China Insight and Minnesota China Tribune. On hand to receive the award were Walter James' grandnephew and niece. Both Charles and Linda James spoke movingly about the tremendous influence Walter James had on their lives and the lives of so many others.

The audience, made up of founding and annual members, and also many new young professionals, mingled freely and enjoyed studying the special exhibition of calligraphy by Moon Fong, a well-loved nonagenarian member of the Foundation. Moon also was on hand to sign her new book, Reflections, giving all the proceeds to benefit activities of the Foundation. After many cheerful conversations everyone started to leave, laden with warm feelings for the Foundation's achievements and looking forward to more good things to come.

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2008 Chinese NewYear Celebration

February 16, 2008

2008-1 17 20131107 1224798434How to celebrate a tradition and embrace the new at the same time? For CHF, the answer lay in mixing the two in an eclectic array of real traditional practices and simulated fun: roasted suckling pig and fresh vegetables poached to retain maximum nutrients and texture; fortune telling and a speed getting-to-know-you game; and bowing respectfully to elders and celebrating the young in a mock firecrackers game.

The event, at the Gramercy Park party room, drew a capacity crowd2008-1 33 20131107 1606749638 consisting of both CHF members and newcomers. There was a lot of chatting going on as newcomers got acquainted with each other and old members renewed their friendships of old. The food, prepared jointly under the careful supervision of Yin Simpson and Bob Bergad, was a hit, pleasing to the eye and enticing to the palette. One member commented, 'I have never eaten so well and so healthy!' Bob's ginger cookies flew off the platter in record time. He could have made twice as many and have none left over.

2008-1 31 20131107 1957153362Ming Tchou, our president, delighted in the hugs she received from the children and single, young adults who came to greet her and to receive their hong bao. Margaret Wong led everyone through a game of fun facts about Chinese New Year and introduced our Emperor and Empress of the evening, George Maverick and Cindy Bai. Clad in hand made imperial robes, they were joined by Dr. & Mrs. C. C. Hsiao and Dr. & Mrs. Sping Lin, also dressed in traditional finery, nd together they bestowed their blessings on us common folk on this auspicious occasion. The evening's festivities were capped by the young and old setting off firecrackers together: only this time popping balloons took the place of real firecrackers. Judging by the sound and excitement created, who would have known the difference?

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2008 Open House

October 19, 2008

08 openhouse 4 20131220 1112443552Our Foundation celebrated four years of grant making and outreach cultural activities with an afternoon open house at the Gramercy Park party room in Richfield on October 19. Several award recipients, including Arts Midwest, Patrick Henry High School and artist Tacoumba Aikens recapped highlights of their award activities.

Zhiguo Ye, a recipient of the Foundation's Fellowship in WWII in East Asia at the Department of History of the University of Minnesota also reported on the progress of her doctoral research. Greg Hugh, of China Insight, revisited the highly successful communitywide event, A Passage to China, that was a collaboration between China Insight and our Foundation. Yin Simpson talked about the many outreach activities of the Foundation's calligraphy team; and Pearl Bergad gave a summary of President Bush's speech on volunteering that she attended at the White House last month.

08 open house 6 20131220 1876139029Fred and Jennie Hsiao were on hand to receive the Chinese Minnesotan of Note Award that our Foundation had bestowed on Fred (give reference to article in China Insight. Sandra Vargas, president and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation, praised us for our multifaceted activities, both in the Twin Cities and elsewhere in Minnesota. TeaSource, a longtime and steadfast supporter, provided delicious teas to complement the many savory treats, some prepared by 94-year-old member Moon Fong, served.    

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A Passage to China 2008

May 17, 2008

CHF presented the first A Passage to China at Southdale Mall. Read about the excitement generated by this community wide event here.

2007 100 Men's Wife

CHF Day at the History Theatre: 100 Men's Wife World Premiere Performance

January 21, 2007

2007-1 12 20131107 1545228858On January 21, 2007, CHF mobilized the Chinese community to attend the premiere weekend performance of 100 Men's Wife at the History Theatre in St. Paul. Funded by a grant from CHF, this play celebrates the life of Liang, the first Chinese woman immigrant to Minnesota. Working with many Chinese organizations in town, we drew over 200 attendees from all segments of our community. They came from Hong Kong, Mainland and Taiwan organizations, and they came from the restaurants community as well as academia. Liang May Seen's granddaughter, Barbara Woo-Wong Bjornaas, and her sons flew in for the occasion from Lacey, Washington. Many local members of their extended families also were in attendance.

The well-written script by Jeany Park, highlighting both the tragedies and ultimate triumphs in 2007-1 11 20131107 1369075210Liang May Seen's life, aided by the deeply felt performances of all the principals involved, moved many to tears. After the performance, a sumptuous reception, created by Yin Simpson with the cooperation of volunteers from many organizations, awaited everyone in the Theatre lobby. Amid all the delicious and inviting finger foods, many greeted old friends while others formed new friendships. The festive atmosphere was a wonderful wrap up of a major granting activity of CHF.


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