Beatrice Lee is a well-known and highly regarded female non-profit leader in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, and has been serving as Executive Director of Community Health for Asian Americans (CHAA) for the past 10 years. Ms. Lee has worked to grow and stabilize CHAA, overseeing a tripling in organization size through difficult economic times, and has worked to expand CHAA’s reach and impacts during her tenure as Executive Director. For over a decade, Ms. Lee has participated in important work in two Bay Area counties and is active at the State level.
Ms. Lee was abruptly removed from her position by the Board of Directors on November 16, 2012, without clear reason, without a clear and fair process, without a broad inquiry into confidence in her leadership, and despite a plethora of positive reviews and support from staff, community members and leaders, partner organizations, funders and public systems.
No justification was given for why Ms. Lee was removed from her position that would warrant depriving CHAA and the communities it serves of her leadership. This irresponsible action by the Board - 5 of 6 of whom have been with the organization for less than a year - poses grave harm to CHAA’s reputation and viability as an organization, undermining CHAA’s ability to serve the needs of critically underserved populations, and creating real instability, a violation of the Board’s fiduciary responsibilities to CHAA. Further, both the Board’s handling of Ms. Lee’s dismissal and of the transition following her departure demonstrates a significant failure in leadership, and are inconsistent with CHAA’s social justice and healing mission, vision and values. There is no confidence in the current Board of Directors’ continued stewardship of the organization. The Board must resign, effective immediately, and Beatrice Lee must be reinstated, pending an organizational investigation of the conditions of her departure.
We make these demands in the best interest of the organization, CHAA’s critical services, and the communities CHAA serves.
We urge you to support the community in resolving the leadership crisis at Community Health for Asian Americans. In the best interests of CHAA and the communities it serves, resign as members of CHAA's Board, allowing for the establishment of a new leadership body and an investigation into the conditions of Beatrice Lee's departure from the organization.
CHAA's services reach some of the most underserved in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. CHAA's current crisis in no way reflects the vibrancy of their mission or the quality of their services. If unaddressed, however, the stability of the organization may be at stake.