Canada 150: As a founder of SUCCESS, Maggie Ip became the organization’s symbolic ‘mother’

May 31, 2017

By Kevin Griffin, Vancouver Sun |

In the 1970s, services for immigrants were few and far between in Metro Vancouver.

Maggie Ip was in a unique position to recognize what was needed. Born in Shanghai, she emigrated to Canada to get her Masters degree in education at the University of Ottawa. Ip spent seven years struggling to integrate into her new country.

In the late 1960s, she moved to Vancouver, where she noticed that a new wave of immigrants from Hong Kong and Macau were going for help to the YWCA in Chinatown, where she was a board director. Ip saw that there was a need for a new organization that could provide settlement services and help with the numerous cultural and linguistic challenges of becoming Canadian.

In 1973, Ip and a board of 14 formed an organization called United Chinese Community Enrichment Services Society. By adding “S” at the beginning of the acronym, it became known as SUCCESS. Ip was the founding chair.

Ip saw SUCCESS as a bridge to shared understanding and integration. Since then, she has become a kind of “mother” to the organization, which her husband, Kelly, has also supported. In 2013, SUCCESS celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Ip, a retired teacher, said when the organization was created, the Chinese-Canadian community in Vancouver was changing. Earlier immigrants had come from rural areas where family associations often took care of their needs.

“For the urban, Hong Kong immigrants (which made up the vast majority of Chinese immigrants from 1970 to 2000), it was very hard for them to find help,” Ip told Chuck Chiang in The Vancouver Sun.

Since then, the Chinese immigrant population has changed again. Beginning in the 1990s, there has been an increase in Mandarin-speaking newcomers from Mainland China. Mandarin-speakers now make up about 40 per cent of SUCCESS clients, compared to about 15 per cent from Hong Kong.

Ip served as a Vancouver city councillor in the mid-1990s. She is the recipient of awards that include the B.C. Community Service Award.

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