By responding to the needs of the Chicago’s Chinese American residents, the Chinese American Service League (CASL) gained a positive reputation for helping families within Chinatown and forming partnerships within the city and beyond.
Two longtime leaders of CASL, President Bernarda “Bernie” Wong and Executive Director Esther Wong, have retired after working nearly 40 years with the agency they created.
“Bernie had laid the groundwork, but it became too much, so I came on board,” said Esther Wong. “Bernie took on the external responsibilities, working with public relations, funding, etc., and I took on the internal responsibilities, i.e. the day-to-day operations—strengthening infrastructure, consolidating departments, and facilitating the move into our new building in 2004.”
CASL grew from having a $32,000 annual budget to one of $13.5 million and serving 17,000 people annually.