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Grace Winter Forum Online with Betty Louie: Chinatown in the New Year

Monday, February 8 @ 6:00 pm

Betty Louie is a first-generation Chinese-American retired businesswoman, community leader and philanthropist, and as the Year of the Ox begins she will be in conversation with Dean Malcolm Clemens Young to reflect upon the spiritual and secular traditions of the Chinese New Year, Chinatown revitalization in the context of pandemic and beyond and her family’s fascinating history in San Francisco.  

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About the Guest  

Native-born San Franciscan Betty Louie, is a businesswoman and community advocate who has been the driving force in revitalizing San Francisco Chinatown’s business district, working independently as well as with a neighborhood think tank she founded in 2011, comprised of local business leaders, restaurateurs, nonprofit representatives as well as the Chinatown Merchants Association. Louie helped to rejuvenate Grant Avenue by beautifying the street with greenery and public sculptures, and commissioning colorful murals. In addition to updating the public spaces of Chinatown, she has utilized her private businesses to bring new energy to the neighborhood. To help put Chinatown’s dining scene back on the map she persuaded Brandon Jew, an up and coming chef who also grew up in Chinatown, to open a new restaurant – Mister Jiu’s – in the old Four Seasons space. Since opening, Mister Jiu’s has received rave reviews and earned a coveted Michelin star within the first six months of operation. In the same building, she also offered space to Tiffany Tam, who opened Kim and Ono, a contemporary lifestyle shop featuring hand-painted silk kimonos which already has an international following. Louie has since brought more new businesses to Chinatown, the latest being Jessica Silverman’s art gallery. As a graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard’s Owner Presidents Program, Louie developed her business and real estate skills by working alongside her parents May and Sinclair Louie, who grew Sinclair’s father’s small general store into a thriving Chinatown retail chain operation along Grant Avenue. To give back to the community that contributed to their success, the Louie family became generous local philanthropists, supporting many Chinatown organizations. She has continued to honor the philanthropic spirit of her family. “It’s very important when you’re lucky that you give back to the community,” says Louie. “That’s just in our blood.” Besides her work in Chinatown, she is especially proud of being part of the committee that saved the San Francisco Tennis Club from destruction and found the club its new home.  She has also been a decades long supporter of Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet and has served on numerous nonprofit Boards throughout the years. She currently serves on the Board of the Portsmouth Square Garage.

READ How Betty Louie is helping to keep San Francisco’s Chinatown businesses thriving 

WATCH San Francisco’s Chinatown: Too slow to change? 

About the Host   

The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young is the dean of Grace Cathedral. He is the author of The Spiritual Journal of Henry David Thoreau and The Invisible Hand in Wilderness: Economics, Ecology, and God, and is a regular contributor on religion to the Huffington Post and San Francisco Examiner.  

About  The  Forum  

The Forum is a series of stimulating conversations about faith and ethics in relation to the important issues of our day. We invite inspiring and illustrious people to sit down for a real conversation with the Forum’s host, Malcolm Clemens Young, the dean of Grace Cathedral, and with you. Our guests range from artists, inventors and philosophers to pop culturists and elected officials, but the point of The Forum is singular: civil, sophisticated discourse that engages minds and hearts to think in new ways about the world.  More about Grace Forum Online