Mayor Ed Lee Documentary Project

Update 9/10/18 by Barbara Koh, CHSA Volunteer:

We set a goal, and you surpassed it! We are deeply grateful for—and elated over—your donations to The People’s Mayor: Ed Lee, a film-in-progress co-produced by the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) and Bay Area Emmy winner Rick Quan. When we launched the endeavor in June, we hoped for $50,000 to make a documentary about Ed Lee, son of working-class immigrants, San Francisco Chinatown lawyer, champion of civil rights and equal opportunity and the first Chinese American mayor of a major US city. We hit that mark within a couple of months, and your enthusiastic generosity is enabling the film project to rise from good to great.

The tremendous response to the GoFundMe drive shows “how much love and support [Lee] has in the community, especially the Asian American community,” Quan said. “There’s so much interest because Mayor Lee touched so many people.”

Lee died on Dec. 12, 2017, after a heart attack. He was 65.

The film will contain stories and reflections from Lee’s wife, mother and other family members, childhood pals, former mayor Willie Brown, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, former Washington governor and U.S. ambassador to China Gary Locke, colleagues from the Asian Law Caucus and City Hall, a college professor of Lee’s and Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, among others.

To date, the donations total more than $81,000, and there’s a lot of work ahead, such as shooting, graphic design, editing and other post-production tasks, publicity and distribution. Contributions already made and still coming in will help ensure that this hour-long film is inspiring, impactful and widely seen. We all want as many people as possible to know about Lee’s life, character and principles.

Please view and share the latest trailer and stay tuned for the film’s premiere in the late fall.

Should you need an Ed Lee fix in the meantime, City Hall’s South Light Court has on display photos, golf balls, a putter, letters, a flaming orange SF Giants jacket and other items from and about him. CHSA collaborated on the exhibit, which is open through the end of 2018.

Thank you again for your support!

Original campaign text 6/12/18:

Please help the Chinese Historical Society of America create a documentary film about Mayor Ed Lee!

Last December, the city of San Francisco lost its beloved mayor, Ed Lee, unexpectedly and far too soon.

The Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) will present the inspirational story of this remarkable man. The film will chronicle, document, and preserve the memory of Ed Lee for future generations the life and character of the seemingly ordinary man who grew up in Seattle’s public housing and became the first Chinese American mayor of a major city.

Ed Lee was a lawyer-activist for tenants and garment workers, a habitual punster, a self-sacrificing civil servant, a reluctant-turned-enthusiastic mayor, a consensus builder, and a San Francisco Giants, 49ers, and Golden State Warriors super-fan.

The documentary

CHSA is partnering with Bay Area television producer and Emmy-winner Rick Quan to produce the hour-long documentary. The project has the blessing and active support of Mayor Lee’s family, to whom he was very devoted.

About CHSA

The Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the oldest organization in the country dedicated to the preservation of the history and contributions of Chinese-Americans in the United States.  

We need your help to make this film a reality!

The film, with the working title “Ed Lee: The People’s Mayor,” is projected to be completed in the fall of 2018. 

Please help us capture Ed’s inspirational lessons onto film for our future generations by making your generous donation today. Donations are needed for ongoing filming and editing, plus publicity and distribution. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $50,000 to fund this significant and meaningful project.

We greatly appreciate contributions of any amount. Please donate online today using GoFundMe. 
Donations are tax-deductible.

We also accept checks, payable to CHSA, mailed to the following address:
965 Clay Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

Please donate today and share this link with your family and friends:
  • Anonymous 
    • $15,000 (Offline)
    • 25 mos
  • Eric Chiang 
    • $88 
    • 44 mos
  • Yun-Fang Juan 
    • $20,000 
    • 48 mos
  • Ran Chen 
    • $10 
    • 48 mos
  • San Francisco Association of Realtors Community Action Fund 
    • $1,000 (Offline)
    • 48 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Chinese Historical Society of America (5)

Chinese Historical Society of America 
Raised $3,290 from 19 donations
Hillsborough, CA
Alvin Lau 
Team member
Raised $4,790 from 15 donations
Rick Quan 
Team member
Raised $1,643 from 10 donations
Chi-Chao Chang 
Team member
Raised $465 from 18 donations
Jane Chin 
Team member
Raised $250 from 4 donations