In Memory of Mr. David S. Chen (1949-2024) | Chinese-American Planning Council
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In Memory of Mr. David S. Chen (1949-2024)


We share with heavy hearts the passing of Mr. David S. Chen, an esteemed community leader, former Executive Director of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC), and former Chairman of Chung Pak Local Development Corporation. Mr. Chen's legacy is distinguished by an unyielding commitment to the advancement of New York’s Chinese community and the broader Asian American community at large. His passing is met with poignant sorrow, tempered by the celebration of the extraordinary life he lived.


Mr. Chen first arrived in the United States in 1967 to pursue higher education. Bolstered by his involvement in advocacy that began during his college years in Wisconsin, his dedication to community service became evident through volunteer work teaching English in Chicago’s Chinatown. While working for the Mayor's Office in Chicago, Mr. Chen constantly questioned the lack of funding for the Chinese community. In 1980, amidst the challenging era of Chinatown gang activities, Mr. Chen arrived in New York City, where he joined Project Reach, a program of CPC aimed at guiding youth away from troubled paths. As the influx of Chinese immigrants surged in the 1980s, Mr. Chen, alongside other leaders at CPC, expanded and provided comprehensive support and services to meet the growing needs. Serving as the Executive Director from 1992 until 2015, Mr. Chen's visionary leadership transformed CPC from a modest local organization into the largest Asian American social service organization in the United States, offering invaluable support to hundreds of thousands of new immigrants settling in the vibrant landscape of the Big Apple.

陳受權先生於1967年負笈美國求學。早年在威州及芝加哥求學時期便積極參與社區事務,包括在芝城華埠義教英文,及後加入當地市長辦公室工作,他也經常質問為何給予華人社區的經費如此缺乏。陳受權先生於1980年華埠幫派橫行之時從芝城來到紐約,首先加入華策會Project Reach項目,防止青少年誤入歧途,及後隨著中國新移民的大量湧入,他與華策會其他成員積極提升全方位支援與服務,協助無數新移民融入本地社會。從1992年獲委任為行政總監至2015離任,華策會在他的領導下從小型地方組織,演變成為全美國最大型亞裔服務機構。

Beyond the growth and expansion of the Chinese-American Planning Council, Mr. Chen's dedication inspired others to actively contribute to the community's enhancement. He laid the groundwork for a generation of social workers committed to serving Chinatown and New York City through their roles at CPC. Many among them have not only demonstrated excellence in their respective sectors but also cultivated profound connections within the neighborhoods they serve, fostering a robust foundation of trust between the community and the Chinese-American Planning Council. A significant number of these accomplished social workers have ascended to leadership roles across various community organizations and government agencies, upholding Mr. Chen's commitment to public service.


Mr. Chen also actively participated in various civic affairs. He was a leader in New York City’s support for the national campaign to seek justice for Vincent Chin after Chin’s 1982 murder in Detroit. Mr. Chen also co-founded and led the Asian American Caucus for Disarmament to give voice to the community's participation in the larger peace movement during the 1980s. Other notable efforts include opposing the Chinatown Jail in the 1980s, spearheading a 12-year advocacy effort that led to the current location of the Open Door Senior Center, serving on the City Charter Revision Commission in 2005 and 2010, protesting against a discriminatory report by Channel 11 in 2007, resisting the reconfiguration of Chatham Square and the location of the trial of 9/11 terrorists being at the federal courthouse near Chinatown in 2009, and endorsing the establishment of the Chinatown Business Improvement District in 2012, among others. These events underscore his relentless pursuit of social justice and earned him the trust and respect of the Chinese community and beyond.


Following the Chinatown community’s advocacy against the Chinatown Jail in the 1980s, Mr. Chen assumed a crucial role in supervising the completion of the Chung Pak LDC building in the early 1990s on the neighboring site. The Chung Pak building serves as a testament to his unwavering commitment, providing 88 affordable housing units for seniors and serving as a home to vital community organizations, including the Chung Pak Child Care Center and the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. Mr. Chen maintained his Board Membership of Chung Pak LDC until his passing.


Mr. Chen also served as a Board Member for many community organizations, including the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation, National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse, Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, and Leadership Alliance of NY. Additionally, he was a member of the Community Advisory Board of JP Morgan Chase Bank, NYC’s Commission on the Foster Care of Children, Chancellor’s Asian American Advisory Council of NYC’s Board of Education, Manhattan’s Community Planning Board #3, and Chinese Immigrant Service Agencies Network International.


Born in Shanghai and raised in Hong Kong as the youngest of four siblings, Mr. Chen graduated from Diocesan Boys’ School in Hong Kong before immigrating to the United States. It was here that Mr. Chen diverged from his parents' expectations, opting not to pursue a career as a doctor or lawyer. Instead, he was drawn to studying social work and becoming a community organizer. He obtained a BA in Economics from the University of Wisconsin, MA in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, and MPA in Public and Non-for-Profit Management from New York University to advance his pursuit of making a positive impact. Recognizing the privileges he had been afforded in his own upbringing, Mr. Chen embraced a lifelong commitment to supporting underserved communities to ensure continued access to these important resources as well. Through countless initiatives, he championed causes that touched the lives of many, leaving an enduring impact on the New York Chinese community and beyond.


Mr. Chen's dedication was not limited to the community he served throughout his career, but extended to his family as well. He will be remembered as a caring brother, uncle, co-parent alongside his former wife Elaine, and the proud and loving father to their three daughters, Kristin, Lauren and Megan.


As we bid farewell, let us not mourn the loss but instead celebrate the extraordinary life of a true community leader, David Chen. May he rest in eternal peace, and may his legacy continue to guide us as we navigate the path ahead. The community will always hold him in fond remembrance.


Ways to Pay Your Respects:


Funeral viewing hours for Mr. David Chen will be held on Friday, March 15, 2024 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at Ng Fook Funeral Services, 36 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013.


The family requests those who wish to express their remembrances to consider making a contribution to the David S. Chen Memorial Fund at Chung Pak LDC, which will allow the spirit of Mr. Chen’s work to continue benefiting future generations in the community. Checks should be made payable to Chung Pak LDC, noting the David S. Chen Memorial Fund in the memo, and sent to Chung Pak LDC, 96 Baxter Street, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10013.

陳府敬辭帛金,並建議將心意改為捐款“松柏陳受權紀念基金”(David S. Chen Memorial Fund at Chung Pak),使他的精神能夠永存,造福社區未來。支票抬頭請寫 Chung Pak LDC,並在備忘錄中註明 David S. Chen 紀念基金,寄至 Chung Pak LDC, 96 Baxter Street, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10013。

To share memories of Mr. Chen you can also visit his memorial page HERE



The Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) is a social services organization that creates positive social change. Founded in 1965, CPC is the nation's largest Asian American social services organization and aims to promote the social and economic empowerment of Chinese American, immigrant, and low-income communities of New York City. CPC is the trusted partner to individuals and families striving to achieve goals in their education, family, community, and career. 


El Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) es una organización de servicios sociales que crea un cambio social positivo. Fundada en 1965, CPC es la mayor organización de servicios sociales asiático-americanos del país y su objetivo es promover la capacitación social y económica de las comunidades chino-americanas, inmigrantes y de bajos ingresos de la ciudad de Nueva York. CPC es el socio de confianza de personas y familias que se esfuerzan por alcanzar objetivos en su educación, familia, comunidad y carrera.

Press Coverage: Epoch Times, World Journal, USCNTV