Leeann Chin, restaurant founder, continues her legacy
Leeann Chin, who founded the Minnesota chain of Chinese restaurants bearing her name, passed away in March after a long illness. A long-time supporter of our work, her legacy continues in the form of memorial donations designated to Children’s Cancer Research Fund, to continue the search for a cure to childhood cancers.
Chin was born in 1933 in Guangzhou, China, and moved to Minnesota in 1957. She became a seamstress, working at clothing stores in Minneapolis and altering clothes out of her home while raising five children. Chin opened the first Leeann Chin restaurant in Minnetonka in 1980. After selling the restaurant chain to General Mills, Inc., then reacquiring it, she continued to work in the business until she retired to the West Coast in 2005.
Around the same time that her first restaurant in Minnetonka was founded, Children’s Cancer Research Fund held its first event, Dawn of Dream, in 1981. In the spirit of community engagement, Mrs. Chin was heavily involved with Children’s Cancer Research Fund in the early years, even donating her food for one of the Dawn of a Dream concerts and other events. Mrs. Chin also served as honorary Chair of our 9th annual Dawn of a Dream gala, and her daughter, Laura Chin, served as a member of the board of directors for many years. As Laura Chin notes, “Our family is proud of the work Children’s Cancer Research Fund has done and continues to do as it makes strides in the fight against childhood cancer.”
Children’s Cancer Research Fund is privileged to have had the support of Leeann Chin and her daughter, Laura, throughout our history. We are honored to receive these memorial funds, and we extend our deepest sympathies to the entire Chin family.