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2023 Joseph Chung Scholarship presents nearly $1 million to students

Launched following 32-year-old’s death in South Surrey, fund marks 11th year with alumni program
Photo of Joseph Chung, taken in 2012, a few days before he died at age 32 in South Surrey. Scholarships launched in his memory have awarded more than $5 million over the past 11 years. (Contributed file photo)

An annual scholarship that launched in memory of a young autistic man has presented nearly $1 million in awards to students from more than 44 institutions.

According to a Feb. 7 news release, 405 students received a 2023 Joseph Chung Scholarship, which aims to support students pursuing “post-secondary education, special education or learning and development disabilities.”

Since launching, the scholarship has awarded more than $5.43 million.

Joseph Chung “inspired his parents to give back to the community through education and support for the leaders of tomorrow,” the release states.

Chung was just 32 when he died in 2012, while swimming in the South Surrey Indoor Pool during a session with the Special Olympics training team.

READ MORE: Couple to honour late son with Burnaby coffee shop

In their grief, his parents – Drs. Peter and Stephanie Chung – honoured Chung by opening a coffee shop in Burnaby in 2013. Joe’s Table was located in the same building as a number of schools run by the Eminata Group (which was founded by Peter Chung), and aimed to provide meaningful employment for people with developmental disabilities.

According to, the Metrotown location has since closed – with plans for a new location to be shared soon – and there is now a Joe’s Table Cafe Sarang, in Seoul, Korea.

The latest scholarships, totalling $981,330, were presented during a ceremony at Coastal Church in Vancouver. Dignitaries in attendance included Jongho Kyun, Counsel General of the Republic of Korea.

Fifty-six of this year’s recipients received the award for the first time; for 18 recipients, it was their fourth time receiving the scholarship. A further 50 North Korean refugees studying theology were also awarded, the news release notes.

The award is designed to support students through a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

To mark its eleventh year, the Joseph Chung Alumni Scholarship Program was launched. The program’s goal, the release explains, is “to encourage graduates of JCS to give back to future generations of students by supporting the scholarship fund.”

“This new funding pool will help JCS to expand its funding capacity and increase sustainability, while also promoting financial stewardship.”

Participating in the alumni program is voluntary and does not require scholarship recipients to repay the funds they received, the release notes.

“The JCS team is eager to share the heart behind the scholarship and inspire graduates to make a personal pledge to give back to others.”

For more information about the scholarship program, visit
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Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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