Museum Reaches $9.5 Million Mark Towards $15 Million Expansion Campaign



New York, NY, November 8th, 2007 — Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) announced that it received a $2 million Community Enhancement Fund grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC).  MOCA was one of 33 non-profit organizations who were collectively awarded more than $37 million in grants to support a variety of community improvements.  MOCA’s grant will support its $15 million expansion campaign to build a national museum of Chinese American history on Centre Street.  The grant will also further MOCA’s continued efforts to create a cultural anchor that will serve the local communities of Chinatown and Lower Manhattan.

“This generous grant enables us to go even further in our quest to document and represent more than 160 years of little-known but significant Chinese American history and heritage,” said Charles Lai, Executive Director, Museum of Chinese in America.  

Since the September 11th tragedy, the Chinatown community has experienced a precipitous decline, with 60% of the garment industry permanently closed and numerous jobs in the retail and restaurant sectors lost.  Today, Chinatown is striving to rebuild and find new equilibrium, attempting to create jobs and new businesses, strengthening the neighborhood’s arts and cultural assets, and encouraging visitation and spending.  With LMDC’s support, MOCA will be able to help rebuild and revitalize this community, which is home to more than 150,000 residents, a significant immigrant population, and one-fourth of residents living below the poverty level.

With heightened attention on rebuilding Lower Manhattan in the past few years, Chinatown’s importance as a historic neighborhood and increasing potential as a world-class destination has been brought into sharp relief.  Through the combined efforts of the public and private sectors, it has gained initial support to begin to stabilize and to grow.

MOCA’s growth has been part of this process.  In recent years, due to generous lead support from The Sept. 11th Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the Museum has begun making steps toward building a world-class facility that can anchor and serve the Chinatown community and all of Lower Manhattan.  In its new home, MOCA can better represent and grow Chinatown and Lower Manhattan into a greater cultural hub and tourist destination.

”The new, larger MOCA will have the physical and operational capacity to present and to host a broad array of community, family and school activities year-round,” said artist/designer Maya Lin who designed MOCA’s new space.  MOCA’s mix of programming will include film and artistic presentations, lectures, discussion groups, conferences and workshops.

“The new MOCA will be a place for the incubation of ideas and increased collaborations among cultural, educational and community institutions – locally, nationally and even globally. All of this will be possible right here in Chinatown,” said Lin.

The LMDC grant will enable MOCA to build its new home and to secure its ability to develop and expand its programming.  These programs will represent and benefit not only the local Chinese American community, but diverse audiences of Americans that include students, educators, scholars and families from throughout NYC, the tri-state area, and the country. 

“A world-class MOCA that can profoundly fulfill its mission is now well on its way.  With our new name, Museum of Chinese in America, our move to Centre Street and our opening in Fall 2008, we are so honored to receive this grant as it represents LMDC’s collaboration with our Museum to create a community anchor and cultural destination that will be a bright gem in New York’s cultural tapestry,” concluded Lai.

Come Fall 2008, visitors to the Museum will be able to participate and be inspired by MOCA’s compelling new exhibits, installations, and programs. MOCA staff expect to welcome 300,000 visitors its first year alone.

About the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation was created in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 by then-Governor Pataki and then-Mayor Giuliani to help plan and coordinate the rebuilding and revitalization of Lower Manhattan, defined as everything south of Houston Street. The LMDC is a joint State-City corporation governed by a 16-member Board of Directors, half appointed by the Governor of New York and half by the Mayor of New York. LMDC is charged with ensuring Lower Manhattan recovers from the attacks and emerges even better than it was before. The centerpiece of LMDC’s efforts is the creation of a permanent memorial honoring those lost, while affirming the democratic values that came under attack on September 11.

LMDC works in cooperation with its partners in the public and private sectors to coordinate long-term planning for the World Trade Center site and surrounding communities, while pursuing short-term initiatives to improve the quality of life in Lower Manhattan during the revitalization effort. LMDC is committed to an open, inclusive, and transparent planning process in which the public has a central role in shaping the future of Lower Manhattan. Several Advisory Councils representing a broad spectrum of groups affected by the World Trade Center attacks – including victims’ families, business owners and downtown residents - regularly consult with the LMDC on issues of concern to their respective constituencies. LMDC also conducts public hearings, participates in Community Board meetings, and continuously meets with community groups, civic organizations and public officials to ensure the opinions of those who were affected by this tragedy are taken into account. For an overview of the public comment received during the first phase of LMDC’s planning process (July 16, 2002 – September 30, 2002), please see the Preliminary Public Dialogue Report.

Currently, LMDC has over 40 staff members. New employment opportunities are posted regularly.

For more information about Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, please visit


Museum of Chinese in America requests construction services.  For more information, please visit