Lily Wang Award Recipients Honored At GNCA Festival

GNCA members pose with the newly elected Great Neck Public Schools Board of Education Trustee Jeff Shi (fifth from right).

Close to 400 people attended the annual summer festival organized by the Great Neck Chinese Association (GNCA) at Manorhaven Park in Port Washington. At the event, the association announced three recipients of the 2017 Lily Wang Community Service Award.

The award was named after Lily Wang, a former GNCA board member who was passionate about promoting community involvement, diversity and multicultural understanding. Sadly, she passed away in 2015 after battling breast cancer for eight years. In 2016, GNCA received a generous donation from Wang’s family and established the award to honor people who have made significant contributions to the Great Neck community through time, actions, talents and dedication, outside any volunteer work performed for their employer. This year, the award was presented to Joanne Chan, Jane Zhang and Chi Zhang.

The Lily Wang award winners and GNCA board members value community involvement.

As the former copresident of the United Parent-Teacher Council (UPTC), Chan has been instrumental in helping Chinese families, many of whom are newcomers to Great Neck, adjust to and get involved with the schools and the community.

Jane Zhang has devoted enormous time and energy to developing a Great Neck information website in both Chinese and English at In addition to the local guides she assembled on the website, she also built a news team that translates local news into Chinese on a weekly basis, assisting Chinese-speaking residents to participate in community events and activities.

Chi Zhang was the event planner and performance director of the 2017 GNCA Spring Festival Celebration. In addition to directing and arranging numerous rehearsals for the festival, he also assisted in editing a video recording of the entire event. The celebration participants were enthused by the professional quality of the video production and proudly shared it with families and friends around the world. The recording can be viewed at

Everyone had fun playing tug-of-war.

GNCA applauded the compassion and service of the honorees, who the group hopes will serve as role models and inspire others to volunteer and strive to make Great Neck a better place.

At the festival, GNCA members enjoyed various activities, such as the popular game tug-of-war. GNCA also organized a mini marketplace, where members were encouraged to sell or exchange their unwanted household items. The marketplace helped many GNCA members to get to know their neighbors for the first time. A team of 20 children were the star sellers and attracted the largest crowd. In the end, they donated the proceeds to the Lily Wang Fund.

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos (center) joined the party.

The festival was also a great opportunity for GNCA members to meet representatives from local government, including New York State Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso, Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Anna Kaplan and Great Neck Park District Commissioner Daniel M. Nachmanoff.

Jeff Shi, the newly elected Great Neck Board of Education trustee, also made his first public appearance after the election and congratulated the Lily Wang Community Service Award honorees. He vowed to work with everyone during his term and hoped to expand the connections between the Chinese-American community and the other ethnic groups in Great Neck to build trust and foster understanding.

Attendees enjoyed a friendly game of hoops.

“As Lily exemplified, changes always start with one doing something small every day,” Shi said.

GNCA welcomes donations to the Lily Wang Fund. To donate with PayPal, send the gift to Please make checks payable to the Great Neck Chinese Association, noting Lily Wang Fund on your contribution, and mail to PO Box 220442, Great Neck, NY 11022.

Festival goers had fun playing basketball.

For questions about the Lily Wang Community Service Award, contact Nathan Fong at

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