San Francisco names park for Fang

Updated: 2014-04-18 11:40

By Bonnie Wong in San Francisco (China Daily USA)

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 San Francisco names park for Fang

Nancy Pelosi (second right), minority leader of the US House of Representatives, breaks ground next to Florence Fang (third right) on the construction of a new park in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood on Thursday. The park is named after Fang in honor of her contributions to the Chinese community of the bay area and overseas. The bamboo tree planted during the ceremony is a symbol of the roots of Chinese-Americans in the community. Bonnie Wong / China Daily

The groundbreaking ceremony for a new park named in honor of Florence Fang in San Francisco's southeastern Bayview neighborhood was held on April 17.

Dignitaries attending the event included Nancy Pelosi, minority leader of the US House of Representatives, and David Chiu, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

"Florence Fang is a leader in San Francisco and in the Asian-Pacific community," said Pelosi. "For this park to be named in honor of Fang's contribution fully expresses the unity in this land and community."

The park - a collaboration between Caltrain, SF Environment, Doorman and others - covers one acre and will provide a space where local residents and visitors can enjoy sunshine and fresh air and be closer to nature. Some 200 volunteers will help in its construction.

The park will also feature an herb and vegetable garden and an area with exercise facilities for such activities as tai chi.

"Our city's urban agriculture strategy," said Chiu, "which was really about taking back vacant lots, taking back under-utilized spaces and turning them into community spaces where kids can come to play and seniors can come out to be in the sun and where we can all be together as one family."

Fang expressed her gratitude for the honor and said that planting a bamboo tree in the groundbreaking ceremony symbolizes the strength and the deep roots of Asian-Pacific peoples in the San Francisco community, as well as their respect for nature and belief in Taoism.

Having just celebrated her 80th birthday in early April, Fang took up the family business in publishing and expanded it into real estate, dining and trade.

Fang is president of the Chinese editions of the Young China Daily and China World News and is publisher of the San Francisco Examiner, as well as chairman of the Independent Newspaper Group.

Fang has devoted her life to promoting better communication between the US and China and has donated more than $6 million in financial support for Chinese-US and Chinese-American communication and collaborations.

In January 2013, Fang made a $1 million donation to the 100,000 Strong Foundation, a non-profit group trying to get 100,000 American students studying in China within four years.

Back in 2008, Fang started to fund the five-year construction of a building at Peking University that focuses on teaching foreigners the Chinese language and culture, a project Fang contributed $2.5 million to.

In 1990 and 2003, Fang was named California Woman of the Year and in 2006 she donated $3 million to the East Asian Library at the University of California, Berkeley.