Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Gwynne Chow Tuan, Ben and Emily Huh of Cheezburger Network, Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show, Chad Troutwine of Veritas Prep and Dr. Alexander Tsui to receive 2012 APEX Inspiration Awards in New York on May 2, 2012

Gwynne Chow Tuan

Gwynne Chow Tuan

On Wednesday, May 2, 2012, MSNBC anchor Richard Lui and actor BD Wong (“Awake”, “Law & Order SVU”) will co-emcee APEX’s 20th Anniversary Inspiration Awards Gala Dinner celebrating role models in the Asian-American community and APEX’s crucial work with underserved, inner-city youth, at Capitale, 130 Bowery in New York City from 6:30pm – 10pm.

The 2012 Inspiration Awards will be presented to Ben and Emily Huh of Cheezburger Network, Aasif Mandvi of “The Daily Show,” Chad Troutwine of Veritas Prep, Dr. Alexander Tsui, and fundraiser Gwynne Chow Tuan.

APEX enables underserved children from Asian American communities in New York City to become well-rounded, productive members of society through programs that meet their academic, social and personal needs. The honorees for the evening have demonstrated an equal commitment to serving the Asian American community.

APEX was founded in 1992 and today serves more than 200 youth from almost 50 public schools, and provides over 6,000 hours of volunteer service a year within New York City’s five boroughs. The youth can participate in a variety of after-school programs that build academic skills to help them overcome achievement gaps, engage them in a larger community, and instill a lifelong commitment to volunteerism and service. These programs address a population that is often assumed to be well positioned for success. However, one in four Asian American youths live in poverty, one out of three do not graduate high school on time or graduate at all, and 65 percent in high-need areas are not college or career-ready upon graduation. Despite these statistics, only one percent of New York City’s social service budget and foundation grants to New York charities go toward organizations focused on Asian American communities. APEX’s programs fill the void of the underserved in this community and young people who complete its programs have a 99% college attendance rate. After 20 years, APEX’s youth alumni number in the thousands..

2012 Inspiration Award Honorees

Gwynne Chow Tuan, Fundraiser
Born in Shanghai, Gwynne moved to Washington, D.C., in 1949 with her family. During her 30-year professional career, she was a development executive for Regional Plan Association, St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center, Asian American Federation and China Institute in America and the development director for the Committee of 100’s. Additionally, Gwynne volunteered extensively in the Asian American community through the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, Renwen Society and helped to raise critical millions that enabled the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), a small, grassroots community museum in Chinatown that tells the vital story of the Chinese diaspora and more than 160-year history of the Chinese in America.

Ben and Emily Huh, Co-founders of Cheezburger Network
In 2007, Ben and Emily Huh started Cheezburger, one of the largest online humor publishers in the world where millions of people come every month to get their 5-minutes of happiness. Cheezburger counts a passionate fan base of 25 million people who upload more than 500,000 pictures and videos as well as view 500 million pages and 110 million videos each month.

Aasif Mandvi, Actor, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”
Aasif Mandvi is an Indian-American actor who is currently a correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Aasif’s other television credits include “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Sex and the City,” “Sleeper Cell,” “The Sopranos,” and “OZ,” among others. His film credits include The Proposal, Spiderman 2, Analyze This, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender. Aasif received the 1999 OBIE award for his critically acclaimed play, Sakina’s Restaurant, which was performed and conceived by Aasif as a one man show and inspired his feature film, Today’s Special, which he co-wrote and stars.

Chad Troutwine, Co-founder and CEO of Veritas Prep, Producer, “Freakonomics”
Chad Troutwine is a decorated entrepreneur, trained attorney, and education pioneer. He is the co- founder and CEO of Veritas Prep, the largest privately-owned GMAT preparation and graduate school admissions consulting company in the world. Chad is also the co- founder of Spectrum Station, one of the Midwest’s largest early childhood education centers. Since 2003, Chad has produced ten feature films starring more than a dozen Academy Award winning actors and directors. He is also the co-founder of Freakonomics Media, a digital partnership with author Stephen Dubner and economist Steven Levitt.

Alexander Tsui, DMD, Founder of APEX
Dr. Alexander Tsui served as Founding President of APEX from 1992 through 2007. Along with four others, Alex laid the groundwork to start the organization that would become APEX in 1991. Alex maintains a private practice in New York City with an emphasis on restorative and cosmetic dentistry. His professional career has included teaching positions, extensive continuing education, and published articles. Continuing to dedicate much of his time to the community that he works and lives in, Alex has been recognized over the years for his work by the media and community organizations. He is currently a member of the Multicultural Advisory Committee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Visiting Faculty at Spear Education, a continuing dental education center.

For more information about the Inspiration Awards Gala Dinner or APEX’s work with undeserved youth please visit

Other articles by Lia Chang:
BD Wong to Star in Live Concert Recording of HERRINGBONE for Two Nights Only as a Benefit for Dixon Place, May 21-22
WNYC’s The Greene Space presents “An Evening with David Henry Hwang” featuring Oskar Eustis, Brian d’Arcy James, BD Wong, Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue on May 7, 2012
Filmmaker Justin Lin Acquires Film Rights to David Henry Hwang’s Critically Acclaimed Broadway Comedy Chinglish
Emmy Award Winner Richard Thomas Hosts Give Kids a Shot! National Meningitis Association Gala 2012 at the New York Athletic Club
Photos: BD Wong, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brandon Victor Dixon, Tom Viola at “Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship to Benefit Rosie’s Theater Kids”
Photos: BD Wong in Rehearsal for “Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship to Benefit Rosie’s Theater Kids”
David Henry Hwang Set as Signature Theatre’s Residency One Playwright for the 2012-2013 Season
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (3pm) with Andre Bishop, Mary Beth Hurt, Jennifer Lim, Angela Lin, Philip Kan Gotanda, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Richard Thomas, Jay O. Sanders, and more
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (8pm) with Oskar Eustis, Patti LuPone, Lisa Emery, Ann Harada, Paolo Montalban, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Henry Stram, Richard Thomas, John Weidman and more
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Photos: AALDEF 2012 Justice in Action Honorees Parkin Lee, Jean Koh Peters and Fareed Zakaria
Photos: David Henry Hwang, John C. Whitehead, Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Asia Society Awards Dinner in New York
OCA Awards Gala Photos: David Henry Hwang, Tamlyn Tomita, BD Wong, Dr. Bobby Fong & Tammy Duckworth
Photos: “How To Succeed” stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rose Hemingway and John Larroquette at Lord & Taylor for Windows Unveiling
Multimedia: Promises, Promises’ Stars Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
Photos: David Duchovny, John Earl Jelks, Amanda Peet, Tracee Chimo at Opening Night Party of Neil LaBute’s Break of Noon
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang (Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography)

Lia Chang (Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography)

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2012 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

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