Neighbors and Community Leaders Coming Together at BCNC’s Chinese New Year Banquet and Found-raiser

By David Li,

Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC) had its 24th annual Chinese New Year Banquet on March 2 at Empire Garden Restaurant. Over 600 guests who live in or work at Chinatown neighborhood enjoyed a wine and dim sum reception, children’s lion dance by Gund Kwok Cubs, and traditional Chinese New Year banquet.

In the greeting letter prepared for the banquet, BCNC executive director Elaine Ng and board president Selina Chow wrote “Tonight, BCNC honors and thanks all of you – our friends and supporters. Our mission is to ensure that the children, youth and families that we serve have the resources and supports to achieve greater economic success and social well-being. Our commitment to the community has garnered BCNC recognition as New England’s largest Asian American nonprofit organization providing family-centered services that include early childhood education, arts and recreation and family support.”

I met Prof. Da Zheng of Suffolk University in the reception room. As director of the Asian Studies program, Prof. Zheng told me that there had been a steady growth in Asian student population at the university, and increasing need of English as a second language education. Interestingly, in the same reception room, Mandarin teacher Ms. Ma from Chinese Institute of Language and Arts was busy answering questions from guests regarding Chinese language classes, with her 9-year-old daughter Jingsi Li helping out displaying various cultural items related to celebrating Chinese New Year.

After the reception, children’s lion dance kicked off the banquet. Laura Sen, a long time supporter of and volunteer for BCNC, caught an orange thrown from one of the lion dancers, and had a big smile on her face.

The banquet and live auction was hosted by Dave Brown of Boston’s channel 5 TV station. He mentioned to guests that this was his favorite event in the whole year, and he would circle the date on his calendar months ahead and looked forward to it each year.

Friends of BCNC awards were handed out to Nick and Eva Chau, who started Tai Tung Pharmacy in 1977, and Tai Tung Realty in 1984 to provide bilingual services to Chinatown residents. They have been dedicated supporters of BCNC for many years.

The other recipients included Citi Performance Arts Center and The Summer Fund. David Brown was also presented a surprise award, and a framed Chinese calligraphy that read “friendship lasts forever.”

The live auction, led by David Brown, was for several different items including Red Sox vs Yankees baseball tickets and an autographed Jeremy Lin jersey, which was sold for $2500 at the live auction, won by David Ambach.

David Brown (right) was auctioning off the Jeremy Lin jersey.

Donations and proceeds from ticket sales, silent and live auctions at the banquet raised around $224,000, according to Carman Chan of BCNC. She also expressed thanks to generous sponsors for the banquet including State Street, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Joe and Selina Chow, Laura Sen, TJX Companies, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Arbor Realty Trust, Capital One Bank, Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare, South Cove Community Health Center, Tufts Medical Center and others.

Volunteers from National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) helped out at the banquet, to check in volunteers, manage the silent auction and live auction, and collect donations from the guests.