International Community Health Services (ICHS) Foundation raised more than $250,000 to support uncompensated care at its annual Bloom Gala, held on May 5, attracting nearly 400 guests at the downtown Seattle Sheraton. Major gifts included $25,000 from the KeyBank Foundation, $20,000 from the Sheng Yen Lu Foundation and $10,000 from the Ark and Winnie Chin Foundation. Last year, ICHS provided $1.3 million in care to low-income patients who could not afford to pay for services.
“I thank everyone who turned out tonight to ‘Raise the Paddle’ and give so generously,” said ICHS Foundation director Ron Chew. “ICHS is fortunate to have the support of so many who share our vision of healthier people, thriving families, empowered communities and a just society.”
This year’s Bloom Gala celebrated ICHS’ 45th anniversary. A number of current and former ICHS board members and staff were present to help honor ICHS’s past and its remarkable evolution from a small volunteer-run clinic to a full-service health center serving nearly 31,000 patients at eight clinic locations. Among them, Janyce Ko Fisher, Hiroshi Nakano, Dorothy Wong, Dr. Alan Chun and Hermes Shahbazian were honored with the Sapphire Leadership Award for their contributions and leadership, while ICHS Board and Foundation board presidents Gildas Cheung and Leeching Tran recognized Chew and ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola for their pivotal impact.
Batayola’s keynote speech reminded attendees of ICHS’s early founders, local university students and activists, who envisioned providing a place to care for the health care needs of low income, elderly Filipino and Chinese-speaking residents of Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. She drew parallels between their initial dream and ICHS’s efforts to fill the needs of a new generation of patients and immigrant arrivals.
“Much of what our founders fought for—and the proud legacy we stand on—continues to be under siege from national leaders who stoke fear and animosity against immigrants and refugees,” she said. “We will not be cowed into inaction.”