SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - One year after the death of longtime San Francisco Chinatown leader Rose Pak, her friends and supporters have launched a new nonprofit in her name. The nonprofit is called the Rose Pak Community Fund.
Supporters say its purpose is to continue her legacy of helping those in need.
A traditional lion dance inside the Hilton Hotel on Kearny Street celebrated the inaugural event of the Rose Pak Community Fund. Organizers say prior to this event, supporters already committed to donating $850,000.
"Rose was such an incredible human being. We just want people to celebrate her life," says former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown who is the president of the fund.
Pak's incredible life is illustrated in a documentary created by the new nonprofit.
She was a woman described as fearless and unfaltering in her forty years of public service, a champion for low income immigrants and small business owners.
Pak never held elected office, but yielded great influence.
"She always said if she was Caucasian or white, she'd be called a civic leader, not a power broker. For those of us who know rose really well , she was kind and generous, a caretaker of the community." says David Ho with the Rose Pak Community Fund.
The community organizer considered Pak a mentor.
The first beneficiaries of this fund are five Asian American college students chosen to receive scholarships in part for their commitment to community service.
"I was so happy, I jumped out of my chair," says Lisa Yu, a scholarship recipient.
The 18-year-old is the first in her family to attend college.
Her parents are immigrants from China.
"My dream would be to become a community lawyer because my family also struggled," says Yu.
"She did everything she could to make sure people didn't have barriers," says Mayor Ed Lee as he addressed those attending the fundraiser.
He tells KTVU Pak remains a major influence as he tackles the city's problems.
"Rose would me the first person in my ear, even without herself being here, to say let's get it done," says Mayor Lee.
This fundraiser included an auction. One item was for a dinner with former Mayor Brown. Organizers say the fund will help pay for Pak's priorities: healthcare, education and affordable housing.
"Her passing will be remembered by all of us replicating her conduct." says Brown.
People who attended the fundraiser paid $500 each and up. Organizers hope to raise one million dollars.