Louis Yip established authentic Chinese dining in Rhode Island before transitioning into real estate development. His proudest accomplishments are his marriage to his wife of 48 years, Florence, and this three sons, Herman, Damon, and Edmond, all successful in law and business.
He was born outside Hong Kong in the fishing village of Tai-O, and studied at Columbia College in Vancouver, Canada. His family was not wealthy, but he attended a Christian school and learned the basics of service to community. These values would stay with him his entire life.
Louis immigrated to the United States and established Pawtucket’s China Inn. After opening several more restaurants, he decided to invest in his community developing under-utilized buildings, including several abandoned mills in Pawtucket and Central Falls, one of them perhaps the oldest brick mill in America.
Throughout his life, Mr. Yip focused on creating and fostering a growing, educated Chinese community. He is an active leader locally and nationally, and is the chairman of the Chinese Christian Church of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Association of Chinese Americans.
Louis works to spread the beauty of Chinese culture and traditions throughout New England. His involvement with the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council has resulted in the creation of an annual Rhode Island Dragon Boat Race and Taiwan Day Festival that includes Chinese arts and crafts, cuisine, and performances by international entertainers. Annually, his work is the center of the Rhode Island Chinese New Year celebrations.
He established the Luke Charitable Foundation as a mechanism to launch local and international humanitarian and educational projects and fund charitable causes. Five years ago, he expanded the Foundation’s educational scholarship program to include $4,000 in scholarships to every Blackstone Valley high school through the William Blackstone Scholarship Fund.
Internationally, the Luke Charitable Foundation raised money for Red Cross China, a three-week cultural immersion trip, and, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, he led the effort to donate over 250,000 protective masks to the community.
The Luke Charitable Foundation has created a cultural and educational exchange program between the Alpert Medical School at Brown University and medical students throughout China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
Outside of the Chinese community, he serves on the Board of Directors for organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Boys and Girls Club of Pawtucket, the YMCA, the RI Zoological Society, the International Institute of Rhode Island, the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, the Pawtucket Foundation, and the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.
Recently, Governor Daniel McKee appointed Mr. Yip and his life-long friend and business partner Sunny Ng, as Rhode Island’s first International Economic Ambassadors, with the role of improving our economy by representing Rhode Island and building business relationships in China and Taiwan.
This young man in his twenties, with $20 in his pocket, came to the United States to achieve his American Dream. Fifty years later, he went well beyond that dream. He has a new dream now—making life better in his community by stimulating positive change.