El Camino Health Foundation marked Chinese Health Initiative's 10th anniversary milestone with Red Envelope Celebration, a benefit tribute at Los Altos Golf & Country Club, on Saturday evening, March 26, 2022. Hospital board members and executive leaders, Chinese Health Initiative Advisory Board and Philanthropy Council members, allied physicians and grateful CHI participants, and friends and admirers of honoree Chef Lawrence Chu and the Chu family, gathered in the festively decorated courtyard overlooking the 18th hole. They leisurely dined and mingled before donning their masks and moving into the dining room for the formal program. Two lion dancers ushered in good luck and good fortune as they pranced and leaped down the aisles, accompanied by the traditional rhythmic percussion of drums, gongs, and cymbals.
"El Camino Health launched Chinese Health Initiative 10 years ago to address health risks and disparities in Silicon Valley's Chinese community, and to provide culturally appropriate screenings and health education," explained Cecile Currier, Vice President of Corporate and Community Health Services, as she welcomed everyone and acknowledged the many partners who helped build the program. El Camino Health CEO Dan Woods reiterated the importance of the "team effort," citing "the El Camino Hospital and El Camino Healthcare District Boards of Directors, community partner organizations, an engaged Advisory Board and Philanthropy Council, a growing Mandarin-speaking Physicians Network, generous donors, a dedicated cadre of volunteers, and a small but mighty professional staff," for their involvement over the decade. He and CHI Manager Jean Yu led the tribute to Chef Lawrence Chu and the Chu family, noting their many contributions to our community, particularly their support for CHI and the thousands of meals the restaurant has prepared for hospital staff throughout the pandemic.
"The secret to being here 50 years is to treat workers well, treasure my customers, support my community," Chef Chu told the audience after crediting his wife Ruth for all their accomplishments. "Today is about the power of love. Tonight I want to tell my children and grandchildren to follow your dream, work hard, focus in, and with a little luck your dream will come true." Larry Chu Jr. acknowledged the legacy of giving to and being part of community that his parents have instilled. "You get more than you give. We have an amazing hospital that cares enough to invest in this community. Thank you."
It is a Chinese custom to put money into red envelopes and give them to children at the New Year or any special celebratory occasion as a gesture of good luck. The tradition stems from the legend of the red envelope, which dates to ancient times, when child mortality was high. Afraid their children wouldn't survive another year, parents would leave money to bribe or make peace with the New Year monster. "We ask that, like the parents who leave money to protect the health of their children, you become a guardian of Chinese Health Initiative and make a donation to protect the health of our community for the decade to come," CHI Advisory Board and Philanthropy Council member Tenny Tsai appealed.
The event raised more than $120,000. Proceeds will support expanded programming and outreach, with the aim of making Chinese Health Initiative the leading provider of comprehensive, holistic healthy lifestyle programs that enhance the physical and emotional health of the community.