History and Mission

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In the fall of 1978, ten dedicated Chinese Americans came together to bridge the gap in services for Chinese American immigrants in Chicago. Their passion and commitment ignited the spark for the Chinese American Service League (CASL), which has since burgeoned into a nurturing hub in the heart of Chinatown.

Today, almost 40 years later, CASL is the largest, most comprehensive social service agency in the Midwest dedicated to serving the needs of Chinese Americans. At CASL, we welcome all who walk through our doors regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, lifestyle, and needs. We serve over 11,000 diverse clients each year:

  • Providing an educational and cultural foundation for our children
  • Ensuring our seniors live full and independent lives with dignity
  • Enhancing education and training for tomorrow’s workforce
  • Strengthening families while honoring cultural heritage
  • Securing our community’s housing and financial well-being

With more than 500 multilingual and multicultural professional and support staff — complemented by a team of over 250 dedicated volunteers — we offer our clients vital physical, economic, mental, and social support. Our $13+ million budget — which includes generous contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporate donors — supports programming that primarily serves immigrants who often lack formal education, possess few transferable job skills, and know little of the new world around them. Since many of these individuals do not speak English and sometimes have no family or friends in the area, CASL becomes their instant family, friend, and teacher.

With our support, CASL clients become thriving residents of the greater Chicago community, making valuable contributions as independent, productive members of society. In the words of one of those clients, “We had nothing but our dreams. The Chinese American Service League helped us realize them.”