CICS Charity Gala Celebrates 55 Years of Community Building and Raises Funds to Expand Services

TORONTO, ON – October 30, 2023 — About 600 guests, including elected officials and dignitaries, gathered on Friday, October 27 at the Premiere Ballroom & Convention Centre in Richmond Hill to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Centre for Immigrant and Community Services (CICS). Themed “A Story We All Belong To,” the CICS 55th Anniversary Charity Gala featured CICS Executive Director Alfred Lam, Program Manager of Settlement Services Christine Ng, along with renowned local artist William Quach, who delivered a series of singing performances throughout the night, narrating CICS’ story of community building that spans over half a century.


The funds raised during the Gala will be used to further expand CICS' settlement and community services. “While CICS receives funding from all three levels of government, certain services, including those for Hong Kong residents who arrived in Canada through the permanent residence pathway and international students, as well as the food programs, are ineligible for direct government funding,” Alfred Lam noted. “We have to rely on external support.” He also expressed gratitude for the strong support of CICS’ Board of Directors and the dedication of CICS staff that contributed to the Gala’s success.


Her Worship Olivia Chow, Mayor of Toronto, delivered the keynote address under the theme "Challenges and Opportunities of Chinese Immigrant Communities through the Decades." Mayor Chow's unique connection to CICS dates back to the 1980s when she served as a board member of the Chinese Interpreter and Information Services and the Chinese Information and Community Services (now CICS). During her tenure, she played a pivotal role in launching new services and expanding existing ones, to provide much-needed support to the rapidly growing newcomer populations in Toronto.


The Gala also featured captivating performances by the Toronto Chinese Orchestra, Indigenous artists Jacob Charles and Cedar Smoke, the Nadana Kshetra Dance Academy of Fine Arts and the K2B Dance School. Dance instructor Tommy Chung led the line dancing session that excited guests. The atmosphere was further elevated with a lucky draw and charity auction.


The CICS 55th Anniversary Charity Gala was made possible thanks to the generous support of sponsors, including Diamond Sponsors Royal Bank of Canada and the Sing Tao Canada Foundation, Gold Sponsors HUM Law Firm, Sean Hu Tax, and SKO Gold Spa, venue and culinary sponsor Premiere Ballroom & Convention Centre. Renowned artists Stephen Yau and Chao Liu also generously contributed their works to the charity auction. CICS extends its gratitude to all sponsors and donors for helping CICS empower newcomers and those in need, as well as build inclusive communities.


Event Highlights:



Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Councillor Isa Lee of Markham presented a greeting scroll to Vice-Chair of CICS Board of Directors, Glendy Sze, and Executive Director Alfred Lam before the gala.


Richmond Hill City Councillor Castro Liu and Markham City Councilor Isa Lee served as the gala emcees.


CICS Executive Director Alfred Lam (centre), Christine Ng, Program Manager of Settlement Services (left) and local artist William Quach, delivered captivating performances.


MP Majid Jowhari of Richmond Hill (second from the left), MP Paul Chiang of Markham–Unionville (third from the left), MP Shaun Chen of Scarborough North (third from the right), MP Jean Yip of Scarborough–Agincourt (second from the right), along with representatives of MP Mary Ng of Markham–Thornhill and MP Han Dong of Don Valley North, presented greeting scrolls to CICS Executive Director Alfred Lam.


MPP Daisy Wai of Richmond Hill (left), York Region District School Board Trustee Jenny Chen (right, representing Logan Kanapathi, MPP for MarkhamThornhill), and Aris Babikian's (MPP for ScarboroughAgincourt) assistant presented greeting scrolls to CICS Executive Director Alfred Lam.


Chair of York Region District School Board Ron Lynn, Markham Councillors Amanda Yeung Collucci and Isa Lee and Toronto City Councillor Jamaal Myers’ representative presented greeting scrolls to CICS Executive Director Alfred Lam.


Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow delivered the keynote speech at the gala.


Dignitaries, along with Vice-Chair of CICS Board of Directors Glendy Sze (second from the left), CICS Executive Director Alfred Lam (seventh from the left) and CICS Foundation Board Chair Tom Tan (fourth from right), participated in a cake-cutting ceremony.


Dance instructor Tommy Chung led guests in a line dancing session.



About Centre for Immigrant and Community Services (CICS)

Founded in 1968, CICS is a not-for-profit organization and a registered charity that provides core settlement and integration services, including language training and employment, at eight locations across Toronto and York Region, serving more than 20,000 clients every year from early years children to seniors. CICS has also established community food programs that aim at increasing food security through our own community garden, community kitchen and food bank. CICS is as well committed to building welcoming and inclusive communities by being a strong advocate for social justice and anti-racism.


Learn more at CICS’ website or follow us on Facebook, X, Instagram and LinkedIn.


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For more information, please contact:

Nicole Leung



Media Coverage:


‘A story we all belong to’: Olivia Chow shares personal immigrant story while witnessing CICS’s half-century of development (, November 3, 2023)