In the fall of 1999, Gloria Si-Chun Chan, while a student at Swarthmore College, founded the Chinatown Youth Initiatives (CYI) with the prestigious $10,000 Lang Opportunity Grant for Social Action. Summer 2000 marked the inaugural year of CYI.
During the summer of 2001, the New York Chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA-NY), giving both financial and developmental support, became a critical community partner of CYI.
The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) became another significant community partner in the summer of 2002 by providing generous sponsorship and support. The CCBA continued its unyielding assistance and devotion the following summer to help further develop and improve CYI’s programming.
CYI registered as a formal New York State non-for-profit corporation in October 2003, kicking off a successful fifth year of programming. Since then, CYI has also incorporated community activism and service as an important component of programming, with projects such as Chinatown Beautification Day, Chinatown Literacy Project, Chinatown Youth Network, voter registration drives, and P.O.V. film screenings.