We had the good fortune of connecting with Wendy Chang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wendy, what is the most important factor behind your success?
As the director of a private family foundation, I have the privilege of working with many dedicated leaders building a better Los Angeles for youth, families, and community. I am also personally involved with many nonprofit community organizations – as board member, advisory council chair, funding collaborative chair, giving circle chair, and volunteer. Whereas one’s “day job” has a certain scope and focus, community work is expansive and unlimited. Leadership and growth are manifested only through the act of service. Fully self-empowered individuals work with other self-empowered individuals. The idea is not being homogenous. It’s being the individuals we were meant to be. I cannot become who I am unless YOU are who you’re meant to be. It is pieces of the puzzle. Your place fits with every other piece to make the big picture. If we try to be a shape we’re not, we won’t fit! Strength is in the diversity and uniqueness of the whole. We get to co-create with others to transform the world. Just as love doesn’t just happen – it’s something you do. Change doesn’t just happen – it’s something you do. If you want it, actively seek it – we all have the power to make that choice.
Revolutions, occupations, protests, battles are all power shifts from the few to the many. A fundamental social, political shift – driven by a more profound need to pursue each life purpose. The people are rising! As a global society, we must give up idea of lack, of loss, and that there is not enough for everyone. When we are our true selves all things that come to us are exactly what we need. Everyone gets exactly what they need. Our belief system holds us back – we hold on to things for fear of unknown. As long as we let go of things that do not belong, there will be room for those that do belong – to create something new. When we’re with others, connecting to others, solutions occur — life works when you let it!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a foundation director, philanthropist, and community leader my personal commitments and interests are on achieving social equity and justice. Equity and justice are founded on principles that each of us has the full rights of any of us to pursue our purpose with equitable access and opportunities. Whenever conditions occur that limits this, we must challenge it. Whenever any of our communities are faced with lack of opportunity, lack of resources, or lack of justice — we must challenge it.
I have been honored to support and work with a broad and diverse community of individuals and organizations. Whether in the boardroom, community work, or at a rally – I get to see the beauty of humanity in this work. It is a pure form of love and good will. Fortunately, within the nonprofit/community sector anyone can access this. I realized earlier on that I can simply “raise my hand” and begin to volunteer in causes that interests me. Once you’re on this pathway, it’s pathed with endless opportunities, friendships, and purpose. In addition, you are stepping into yourself and purpose more and more each day.
While it is not always easy and self-doubt often creeps in, I often think of the popular saying “you’re the one you have been waiting for” and get to work.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As a foodie, all itineraries would revolve around food.
Little Tokyo: Visit the Japanese American National Museum with its permanent collections and also unique visiting exhibitions. Shop at Japanese VIllage Plaza, Eat at Sake Dojo, Izakaya Gazen or TOT. See a production at East West Players (country’s premiere Asian American Theatre and oldest continuously running theatre of color). Drink at Wolf & Crane Bar or Far Bar,
Koreatown: Visit the two Gallerias with super markets and shops. Many, many great eats! Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong (Korean BBQ) and Toe Bang (Korean bar food) in Chapman Plaza and so many gems including Yuchun Restaurant (cold noodles), Ssam Korean BBQ, Miari Noddle House, Hwang Hae Doe which has my family’s favorite Korean hot pot.
Miracle Mile/Fairfax area: Visit LACMA (LA County Museum of Art) and eat lunch at Ray’s and Stark Bar on campus. Visit the soon to be opened Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Visit the Original Farmers Market and the Grove. Great restaurants around area include: Jon & Vinny’s, Republique, Ysabel, Bao Dim Sum, and Commerson.
Historic Filipinotown (HiFi): Eat at Porridge & Puffs or HiFi Kitchen. Drink at Genever Lounge.
Silver Lake: Eat at Pine & Crane (my favorite restaurant)!
San Gabriel Valley: SO MUCH TO EAT!!
Hollywood Bowl and The Greek: Bring your own picnic and enjoy the amazing shows!
Music Center area: Visit the Broad and MoCA museums, Eat at Otium, Kendall’s Brasserie or Vespaio. See a production at Center Theatre Group (Ahmanson Theatre and Mark Taper Forum).
Santa Monica: Annenberg Beach House: Beautiful and only public pool (temporarily closed due to pandemic) as part of Santa Monica State Beach on PCH. Walkway to beach and can have a great lunch at Back at the Beach Cafe. Shop and eat along Third Street Promenade and Montana Ave.
Long Beach: Visit Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach Museum of Art and Museum of Latin American Art. Shop and eat on Second Street, Belmont Shore. Eat at the many Cambodian restaurants are in Cambodia Town in Long Beach (along Anaheim).
Other Museums: Skirball Cultural Center, Getty Villa and Getty Museum.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family has supported me in living my amplified existence. My friends and colleagues creates the spaces for our inspired reality. My organizations let us all have the power to expand. My community for its tireless dedication so that every one of us has the rights of all of us to live and love with honesty and purpose.