Motto: In the words of my father and mother, “Be kind, be kind, be kind.”
Like so many others who grew up on Beacon Hill, Gloria Wakayama appreciated the richness of our API diversity and shared a sense of family and community. “Decades later, I still enjoy getting together with my childhood and high school friends,” she said.
Wakayama attended Cleveland High School and Seattle University, before leaving to California for law school.
Wakayama volunteered her time serving on multiple boards for years, including the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, ACRS, ICHS, Chong Wa, United Way of King County, University of Washington Friends of EOP, Seattle University, American Heart Association “Go Red” campaign, and the Chinese Community Girls’ Drill Team.
She shared what led her to contribute back. “My great-grandparents were early Washington pioneers and immigrated in the 1890s to Port Townsend where my paternal grandmother was born,” Wakayama said. “My maternal grandfather was an early shareholder in the Kong Yick Investment Company which in 1910 built the building that is now the home of The Wing. My parents, Herb and Bertha Tsuchiya, were and continue to be tremendous role models for our family; they showed us boundless energy, compassion and commitment. They were involved in everything: co-founders of the ACRS Walk for Rice; Kin On; Nikkei Concerns; the UW School of Pharmacy — you name it, they were there.”
She said one of the most special charitable moments she had was “taking my then young children to deliver gifts to a needy family. Although the family was thrilled by the unexpected gifts, my children who had also given their own toys learned the joy of sharing and received so much more in return. As a parent, one of the most gratifying things is to see your children grow and become caring and compassionate individuals.”
Gloria Wakayama will receive our CVA Philanthropist of the Year Award on May 16.
Read other 2012 CVA Awardee Spotlights: