I re­al­ized that if ev­ery­one makes a lit­tle con­tri­bu­tion, there would be a huge dif­fer­ence.”

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

Foster con­tin­ued to ap­pear in var­i­ous movies such as Chil­dren of the Dragon, Robo­cop II and nu­mer­ous TV shows. She also par­tic­i­pated in a few the­atri­cal pro­duc­tions in China and the US. All told, she has ap­peared in 18 movies.

Foster made fam­ily her pri­or­ity when her chil­dren were young. Be­tween act­ing and be­ing a mother, Foster grad­u­ally learned to ap­pre­ci­ate com­mu­nity ser­vice through her hus­band.

Charles Foster is ac­tive in com­mu­nity ser­vice, pol­i­tics and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, and has been the chair­man of the Asia So­ci­ety in Hous­ton for 20 years. First by help­ing her hus­band and the Asia So­ci­ety, Foster be­came a bridge be­tween China and the US.

“My un­cle worked in the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs of China, so when Charles was try­ing to set up pro­grams for the Asia So­ci­ety, I was able to help him to make the con­nec­tions be­cause I know some of the Chi­nese am­bas­sadors such as Li Zhaox­ing and cur­rent am­bas­sador to the US Cui Tiankai, a few con­suls gen­eral, and such,” said Foster.

“Lily cer­tainly in­spired me to get more in­volved with China, and with her help, we were able to get more prom­i­nent speak­ers on China for Asia So­ci­ety through­out the years,” said Charles Foster.

What’s more, a lot of Chi­nese of­fi­cials are of the same gen­er­a­tion of Foster, and some of them are big fans of her movies. Her movie star sta­tus, cou­pled with her fam­ily con­nec­tions, en­abled her to help Asia So­ci­ety make con­nec­tions with China on a per­sonal level.

And with her hus­band’s per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with for­mer US Pres­i­dent George W. H. Bush, the Fosters ac­com­plished much in the way of im­prov­ing un­der­stand­ing be­tween China and the US, in­clud­ing invit­ing for­mer Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Jiang Zemin to make a side trip to Hous­ton when Jiang was mak­ing his first state visit to the US in 2002.

Be­sides her in­volve­ment with Asia So­ci­ety, Foster be­came in­volved with her sons’ school­ing. “I re­al­ized that if ev­ery­one makes a lit­tle con­tri­bu­tion, there would be a huge dif­fer­ence,” she said. “So I slowly changed my orig­i­nal mind­set that peo­ple just need to take good care of them­selves.”

When her sons were lit­tle, Foster wrote, di­rected, and chore­ographed

for Hous­ton’s Ex­press The­atre. The show was played in more than 60 schools in the city and was well re­ceived. She also has served on the board of the Al­ley The­atre and Miller Out­door The­atre.

After her sons went off to col­lege a few years ago, Foster be­came more in­volved in civic af­fairs. She chaired the Asian Cham­ber of Com­merce gala and helped raise a large amount of funds. She is cur­rently on the board of direc­tors of Friends of the Men­tal Health and Men­tal Re­tar­da­tion Au­thor­ity (MHMRA) of Har­ris County; the Hous­ton Galve­ston In­sti­tute; the Ad­vi­sory Board of Asian So­ci­ety Texas Cen­ter; and the Board of Vis­i­tors of Univer­sity of Hous­ton.

Ad­vo­cat­ing for men­tal health is one of Foster’s cur­rent pur­suits: “When I found out my fa­ther had can­cer a few years ago, I was very sad and a lit­tle de­pressed. My per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence led me to re­al­ize that men­tal health is very im­por­tant.

“Stud­ies showed that a lot of crim­i­nals more or less have had some men­tal is­sues; if we could re­duce men­tal ill­ness, we could re­duce crimes,” she said. “I have read a lot of books on men­tal health. I learned so much about it that I feel like almost an ex­pert on the sub­ject. I am de­ter­mined to con­tinue work­ing on this.”

Foster also helped or­ga­nize MHMRA’s an­nual fundrais­ing drive a few years in a row.

Charles Foster said that “Lily’s civic in­volve­ment is not limited to or­ga­ni­za­tions she got a po­si­tion in. She is in­volved in many dif­fer­ent ways with­out any de­sire to be rec­og­nized. I am also board chair of the In­ter­faith Min­istries; we just had a fundrais­ing be­fore Christ­mas at our home, and Lily ar­ranged and su­per­vised ev­ery­thing. Peo­ple were all im­pressed by her work.”

In March, Foster and her hus­band will be hon­ored at the Tiger Ball, the an­nual gala of the Asia So­ci­ety Texas Cen­ter, for their con­tri­bu­tions to the or­ga­ni­za­tion and to China-US re­la­tions.

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