2012 Founders Award
Liberty Hill presents the annual Founders Award to an individual whose philanthropy
embodies the spirit of change, not charity.
Liberty Hill Board Member Wendy Chang is passionate about equality and justice for all, a commitment she has expressed through her inspiring professional and personal work in civic engagement and philanthropy.
When she was just five years old, Wendy’s family immigrated to the United States seeking freedom and a better life, a journey that took courage and determination. Wendy remembers that “once we made the leap, however, there was no going back – so there was built-in commitment. I’ve since realized that commitment holds a very strong truth in each of our lives. If you hold yourself responsible for your commitment and efforts, you’re living your life’s purpose.”
During her more than 23 years in the world of nonprofits and foundations, Wendy’s focus has been on grantmaking, program development, public policy, technical assistance, and training. Currently, Wendy directs grantmaking, initiatives, and capacity building activities at the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund. Originally established as an independent foundation in 2001, the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund was endowed by Dwight L. Stuart, Sr. to benefit and serve the needs of children and youth in the greater Los Angeles area.
Wendy’s previous positions include Executive Management Academy Director at the Whitecap Foundation; Director of Training and Advancement at Public Corporation for the Arts; Special Projects/Membership Director for the California Association of Nonprofits; and Director of Consulting Services for CompassPoint Nonprofit Services.
Wendy is an active volunteer, donor, and long-time board member in many local organizations. For Wendy, contributing is the answer for achieving personal growth. As she has acknowledged “leadership and growth are manifested and come to life through the act of service.”
Wendy’s community contributions include serving as executive board member and chair of the Investment Committee and Audit Committee of the Liberty Hill Foundation; member and past chair of Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, Los Angeles; executive committee member of the LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment; founding board treasurer and president-elect of the National Charity League, Inc., Westside Chapter; project lead and advisory member of the Trustee Initiative: Effectiveness through Diversity; as well as advisory board member of Foundation Boys. She is also a Cohort 3 Member of America's Leaders of Change of the National Urban Fellows.
Previously, Wendy was a founder and president of the Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership; president of Leadership Long Beach; membership vice president and training chair of Junior League of Long Beach; president of Asian Heritage Council; and chair, Financial Literacy of Women’s Leadership Circle. She was also a member of Los Angeles Urban Funders, as well as Family Foundation Committee and Program Advisory Member of Southern California Grantmakers.
Wendy is a founding member of five community giving circles: Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy’s National Donor Circle, Women of Color Giving Circle, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Islander Giving Circle, Circle of Change, and the OUT Fund, which she currently co-chairs. Wendy believes that giving circles have been a great vehicle to leverage resources for the community.
In the last few years, Wendy has produced three MarquezSTAR youth musicals, written and directed by teacher Jeff Lantos: “Plymouth 2.0,” premiered at Santa Monica’s Broad Stage; “Water and Power,” an official selection for the 2010 New York Musical Theatre Festival; and “Carry On,” showcased in the Festival of New American Musicals.
Wendy is the recipient of the Leadership Long Beach Jim Ackerman Alumnus of the Year Award, Distinguished Leadership Award from California Association of Leadership Programs, Distinguished Leadership Award from Community Leadership Association; Community Pride Award from Children’s Nature Institute, and Business Associate of the Year from American Women’s Business Association. She is a graduate of University of California at Santa Cruz, with majors in Business Economics and Computer Science.
Wendy’s intense commitment to social change is evident in her professional and volunteer life. She not only talks the talk but walks the walk. Wendy notes, “Being involved in Liberty Hill has taught me that change doesn’t just happen, it’s something you do. When you want change, actively seek it. We all have the power to make that choice.”