Board Chair Frank Fung
Outgoing President Michael Chan
November 27, 2019
Retirement Statement by President Michael Chan
After 15 years as President of ASIAN, Inc., it is time for me to graciously step down for my successor Lamar Heystek, our Vice President of Compliance & Collaborations, who has been with ASIAN, Inc. for over 5 years. I will be finishing up my responsibilities as President through the end of 2019. The legacy of Harold Yee, ASIAN, Inc.’s founder, continued with Michael Chan and will be continuing with Lamar Heystek in 2020.
Why now, because it feels like the right time for me to retire to spend and enjoy more quality time with my family, and to develop my other interests, like being a consultant and adviser to help ASIAN, Inc. and other nonprofits realize their dream projects. So in my book of life, this is but one chapter with more to come.
Lest we forget, I was blessed to have followed Harold Yee, a staunch proponent and advocate for affirmative action as a remedy for the social and economic inequities facing all disadvantaged racial minorities, particularly for Asian American newcomers with Limited English Proficiencies. From the 1970’s to date, ASIAN, Inc.’s timeless vision and mission to remove discriminating obstacles and to empower the racially disadvantaged to get their fair share of resources to reach social and economic parity in America is as relevant today as it was in 1971, because race always matters in America.
For over the last 15 years, I simply carried forth this mission to as far and as best I could during my tenure as President. While Harold provided an affirmative action legacy that continues to this day at ASIAN, Inc., I took the challenge of keeping ASIAN, Inc. in the vanguard for community change and development, by creating a sustainable business development network statewide for ASIAN, Inc., by expanding and scaling up ASIAN, Inc.’s business development capabilities for minority and other disadvantaged small businesses, by robustly diversifying and growing ASIAN, Inc.’s discretionary financial capabilities and resources, and by developing nationally recognized in-language culturally nuanced programs for disadvantaged Asian Americans.
All of which enabled ASIAN, Inc. to stay mission aligned and to scale up its nationally recognized programs to have Minority Business Enterprises secure billions of dollars in contracts and capital to create thousands of jobs that reinvest millions of dollars back into our communities, to enable hundreds of low-income Asian Americans with Limited English Proficiencies to become First-Time Homebuyers and to help thousands of credit invisibles, who lost their homes, businesses or self-dignity become creditworthy.
With so many ASIAN, Inc. successes, we realized that furtherance of our mission meant that these untold success stories had to be told. In response, we created our Digital Library and interactive technical assistance platforms to present uplifting stories to inspire, motivate and empower the disadvantaged to make their own American dreams happen. Our communications capabilities have set the stage and created several next steps for ASIAN, Inc. to follow.
Let us acknowledge that all of this doesn’t happen at ASIAN, Inc. without the contributions of its many dedicated Board members, staff and former staff who tirelessly worked with a can-do attitude to remove barriers to opportunities and to empower the disadvantaged to help themselves become upwardly mobile. I am so grateful and blessed to have worked and known them all.
Where it matters most, ASIAN, Inc. has not ever lost sight of its "ikigai" or its reason for being which is to always empower so many thousands of the disadvantaged to become entrepreneurs, homeowners, creditworthy, and upwardly mobile. This is the gift that keeps on giving its priceless satisfaction that bonds everyone including myself to ASIAN, Inc.’s empowering mission.
Knowing that ASIAN, Inc. will continue to always be in the vanguard for transformative community empowerment gives me great comfort, excitement, and hope for its future, of which I hope to be part of that future by appropriately supporting whenever and wherever possible the magical work of ASIAN, Inc.
~ Michael Chan
Statement by Board Chair Frank Fung
On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, let me say how grateful we are to Michael Chan for his decades of dedication to ASIAN, Inc. and the communities we serve. Since the 1970s, as a Board member I have observed most of Michael’s 41 years of hard work first-hand. My Board colleagues and I hold deep respect for his well-deserved decision to retire and wish him all the very best in this new chapter.
Michael has committed his entire career to the cause of economic equity, to making sure our communities get their fair share of the economic pie. Michael’s tireless work to level the playing field has meant that more Asian Americans own homes and own businesses that are growing in value. Our communities are winning millions of dollars more in contracts and capital to fuel their pursuit of the American dream. In short, Michael has made that dream a possible one for thousands.
Michael’s tenure as President was tested early on. Although the Great Recession wiped out vast wealth in our communities, ASIAN, Inc. and the households and businesses we served emerged stronger than ever before. Today, ASIAN, Inc.’s balance sheet is healthy, its budget is growing, and its footprint is expanding throughout California. With Michael at the helm, we have weathered storms and steadied the ship.
ASIAN, Inc. has amassed its impressive track record under the leadership of just two presidents. In 1971, our friend and mentor Harold T. Yee, a leader who was deeply committed to the causes of civil rights and affirmative action, founded ASIAN, Inc. and served as its first president. Fifteen years ago, after having founded over 100 other non-profits dealing with social, political and economic issues facing Asian Americans, Harold – a man of boundless mental discipline and energy – passed unexpectedly. While Harold’s untimely departure left a significant void in our civic landscape, Michael Chan, then ASIAN, Inc.’s Housing Director, bravely stepped up to the challenge and provided continued leadership at a very critical time.
In the two generations hence, Michael has cultivated a new generation of leadership, sustainability and advocacy. Following Michael as ASIAN, Inc.’s third president effective January 1, 2020 is Lamar Heystek, another San Francisco native whose Asian American experience has contributed heavily to his sense of public service and political activism. The Board is confident that in the 2020s and beyond, ASIAN, Inc. will build on the successes of both Harold’s and Michael’s presidencies. By harnessing the power of technology for social and economic progress, ASIAN, Inc. will continue to pursue even greater growth and opportunity for the organization and for the people we remain committed to serving in their pursuit of economic equity and the American dream.
~ Frank Fung