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48 Heroes of Philanthropy


Forbes Asia, March 2010

48 Heroes of Philanthropy

From helping disaster victims to funding soup kitchens, they make our latest regional list.

Jan Cameron, 57
Founder of outdoor-clothing chain Kathmandu and owner of Retail Adventures.

Since 2006 has donated more than $20 million to animal welfare groups, a hospital and child care center in Tasmania (where she lives), research into the cancer that's killing Tasmanian devils and other causes. She donates the roughly $9 million annual profit of her Chickenfeed chain in Tasmania to charity.

Andrew Forrest, 48
Fortescue Metals founder.

Billionaire works to find jobs for Aborigines.

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, 101
Mother of global media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

A leading supporter of cultural, social, medical and children's causes for more than 75 years, including the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, the Royal Children's Hospital, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Australian Ballet. Supports more than 100 charities each year. In 2008 was one of 5 philanthropists honored in the "Australian Legends" series of postage stamps.

Clive Palmer, 55
Founder and chairman of Mineralogy and Resourcehouse.

In 2008 pledged $100 million to medical research and care in Western Australia, with the focus on indigenous people. The pledge is being funded by royalties from his iron ore projects in the Pilbara region, and the money starts going into health care projects by next year.

Huang Nubo, 46
Chairman of Beijing property developer Zhongkun Group.

In a year of tension and violence in western China made donations to promote stability, including $73,000 to Tibet University for scholarships and activities, and $30,000 to Tibet's Tashihunpo Monastery. Works to advance Chinese culture abroad, giving $100,000 to the East Asia Library at UCLA. In January gave $75,000 to his alma mater, Peking University.

Huang Rulun, 59
Founder of property developer Golden Resources Group.

Topped FORBES CHINA's list of philanthropists last year with $40 million in cash donations; over his career has donated some $311 million, according to his company. Largest targets of his generosity: housing for the elderly in economically backward Yunnan Province, where he also is investing in property. In his home province of Fujian he's funded new buildings worth $34 million for the Fujian Jiangxia Institute.

Jack Ma, 45
Alibaba Group founder.

Aims to help farmers increase crop yields, introduce education reforms and other causes. Last year spearheaded a $5 million Alibaba donation to launch Grameen China and provide microcredit loans in Mongolia and the Sichuan earthquake zone.

Yao Ming, 30
Basketball all-star.

Supports an international cause that's not as popular in China as his play on the court: ending the consumption of shark's fin soup; he was featured in an ad last year for Wildaid. Meantime he's set up the Yao Ming Fund, which helped the Sichuan earthquake victims.

Jackie Chan, 55
Hong Kong
Hollywood movie star.

A tireless charity worker, and not just for his Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation and Dragon's Heart Foundation. After singing on "Bring You Home," dedicated to the 8 Chinese peacekeepers who died in the earthquake in Haiti, he donated $730,000 to their families and the un. This follows $1.5 million he gave after the Sichuan earthquake. Charity will get half his assets after he dies.

Jonathan Choi, 52
Hong Kong
Chairman of Sunwah Group.

Focuses on education in Hong Kong, China and North America. He and his family have more than a dozen foundations, school buildings and museums in their names at Nanjing and Fudan universities and elsewhere. Gave $5 million to establish the U.S.-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence at Michigan State University. Also awards scholarships to Vietnamese to attend colleges in China.

Fong Yun Wah, 85
Hong Kong
Hip Shing Hong Group chair.

Funded 2 buildings at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Still turning up for work regularly, he hears reports from his newspaper-scanning staff about families facing emergency needs and approves offers of support. Recently he gave $30,000 to rebuild a health center in Inner Mongolia and $15,000 to a village in Guangxi.

Peter Gautschi, 83
Hong Kong
Ran the Peninsula Hotel.

Building schools with his Studer Trust.

Anu Aga, 67
Director of engineering firm Thermax.

Concentrates on addressing India's "educational inequity." In 2008 she cofounded Teach for India, which recruits graduates and professionals under age 35 to teach for 2 years in low-income schools. Thermax donates 1% of its net profits to charity each year; Aga and her family hold a 62% stake.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, 56
Chairman and managing director of Biocon.

Contributed $10 million to establish the 1,400-bed Mazumdar-Shaw Cancer Centre in Bangalore. Due to open this year, it will provide free care to poor patients in the evening. She also donates $2 million a year to her Biocon Foundation, which runs a micro health insurance scheme that covers 100,000 villagers. Has also committed $3 million to the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.

Kiran Nadar, 58
Wife of HCL Technologies cofounder Shiv Nadar.

A collector of contemporary Indian art, she recently opened the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art on the outskirts of New Delhi. It houses 47 paintings and sculptures from her collection and is funded by the Shiv Nadar Foundation. "Indians don't have much of a museum habit," she says. "I'm hoping to inculcate it." She aims to open a bigger venue that's planned for next to the hcl campus.

Rohini Nilekani, 50
Early investor in Infosys Technologies and wife of cofounder Nandan Nilekani.

Has donated $40 million over the years.

Yani Rodyat, 58
Medco Energy vice chairman.

Through family's Yayasan Yusuf Panigoro foundation pays the tuition of 335 underprivileged children and provides them with living expenses and an Islamic faith study group for them and their mothers. Frequently donates to Himmata, which looks after Jakarta's street children and teaches them to be entrepreneurs or organic vegetable farmers. Runs Medco Foundation, which sponsors youth sporting events and offers microfinancing services.

Putera Sampoerna, 62
Former tobacco tycoon.

Started the Sampoerna Foundation in 2001 and pledged $150 million to it. In the past decade it has awarded more than 33,000 scholarships and trained more than 10,000 teachers. With Iowa State University in the U.S., it opened a university in Jakarta last year to train teachers; it provides scholarships to most of the students.

Martha Tilaar, 72
Founder of cosmetic and herbal company Martha Tilaar.

The family's Martha Tilaar Foundation teaches farmers organic farming techniques and advocates the use of natural dyes in the country's signature batik prints. She's been a foster parent for numerous traditional medicinal herbal drink (jamu) vendors for the past 19 years, helping them to introduce new methods and ingredients.

Eka Tjipta Widjaja, 86
Patriarch of Sinar Mas.

His Eka Tjipta Foundation boosts education and environmental conservation in Indonesia. This year it provided 1 million saplings to the government's Billion Tree Campaign. Its Sumatera Quake Schools Rehabilitation program rebuilds schools in parts of Jambi Province. It also helped set up Economics for Life, an entrepreneurship program for students in 25 high schools.

Soichiro Fukutake, 64
Owner of Benesse, leading cram-school operator and correspondence-course seller.

Established the Chichu Art Museum on Naoshima Island in 2004; costs are covered by dividends from a 2% stake in Benesse. Set up an education foundation in 2007 with 2.3% of his company's stock. It promotes education in his home region of Okayama, offering awards and grants worth $1.4 million a year. He also donates $1 million annually to communities affected by depopulation and a weak local economy.

Tetsuro Funai, 83
Founder of consumer electronics supplier Funai Electric.

Established the Funai Foundation for Information Technology in 2001, donating 4.3% of his company's stock. Funding research scientists in Japan, it makes annual awards of up to $33,000 in electronics, robotics and computer science. It also paid for a 500-seat auditorium at Kyoto University.

Akio Nitori, 66
Founder of discount furniture store chain Nitori.

Helps the bankrupt city of Yubari in his native Hokkaido pay for thousands of cherry and maple trees to attract more tourists. Runs an annual $650,000 scholarship fund that places Chinese and other Asian students in Japanese universities. Has given money to survivors of the 2004 Niigata earthquake in Japan, victims of the 2005 Sumatra earthquake in Indonesia and the 2008 temblor in China's Sichuan Province.

Yohei Sasakawa, 71
Son of politician Ryoichi Sasakawa, whom the U.S. arrested (but did not indict) as a suspected war criminal.

Runs the Nippon Foundation, Japan's biggest charity, which his father established in 1962 with profits from motorboat racing. It focuses on fighting leprosy but also donates prosthetic limbs to Vietnam and trains farmers in Africa. At home it refurbishes vacant buildings in depressed regions and donates cars and buses to disabled and elder-care groups.

Ruby Khong, 46
Regional director of China Overseas Petroleum Corp.
Donated $400,000 to the Kechara Soup Kitchen, which she helps run. Delivers 830 packets of vegetarian food a week to urban poor in Kuala Lumpur; also assisting with job placement and other services. She started the kitchen in 2006 with 5 friends.

Ananda Krishnan, 72
Billionaire tycoon with interests in cell phones, entertainment and property.
Concentrates on developing talent through school programs.

Liew Kee Sin, 51
Chief executive of property developer SP Setia.

His SP Setia Foundation, which he began in 2000, pays the school fees and basic essentials for 2,300 children a year. It also provides medical aid to the disabled and poor as well as community enrichment programs. Liew's charitable contributions totaled $100,000 last year.

Francis Yeoh, 55
YTL Group managing director.

Honored by Queen Elizabeth II with a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his philanthropic work. Doesn't disclose how much he donates to charity each year. One recipient he favors is the Pride Foundation, which promotes awareness of breast cancer and provides support to victims; his wife died of breast cancer.

Alexandra Prieto-Romualdez, 43
The Philippines
President of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Helped start Tabang Mindanaw, which does humanitarian work and community building in war-torn Mindanao, and volunteer alliance Hands On Manila. A cofounder and active director of the Gifts & Graces Fair Trade Foundation: advises marginalized groups on selling their crafts, products. Also started a newsboy scholarship foundation.

Ricky Reyes, 59
The Philippines
Built hair salon empire, a beauty products factory, spa resort and four Ricky Reyes Learning Institutes.

Hair stylist to celebrities has donated $20 million toward health care and job training for the poor over the past decade. Covers costs of Child Haus, a 220-bed home for poor children and their families who come to Manila for cancer treatment. After Typhoon Ondoy organized a soup kitchen to help feed 50,000 people over 14 days.

Washington SyCip, 88
The Philippines
Cofounder of accounting firm SGV and the Asian Institute of Management.

After decades supporting higher education and training, now focuses on basic public education through the Synergeia Foundation, which took over many former Ford Foundation school programs in 2003. Has donated $240,000 to Synergeia and enlisted friends to sponsor reading programs. Donated $20,000 to rebuild typhoon-damaged schools in Naga City.

George S.K. Ty, 77
The Philippines
Metrobank Group chairman.

To mark sons' weddings in the 1990s, gave a total of $30 million to the Metrobank Foundation, which promotes education, visual arts and health care. Donated $350,000 last year to typhoon relief. Recently donated prime Manila property, where the foundation will build a 1,000-bed nonprofit hospital.

Elim Chew, 44
Founder and president of retailer 77th Street.

Owns the clothing and accessories chain with older sister, Sulim. A fifth of profits go to their church, City Harvest and other charities. Elim devotes most of her time to philanthropy. Her focus: youth and community development. 77th Street has "adopted" 25 children through World Vision's Feed the Hungry program and sponsors cleft-palate surgeries for needy kids. Helped set up the country's first arts market where needy or physically impaired individuals can sell products.

Hsieh Fu Hua, 59
Former chief executive of the Singapore Exchange.

Set up a foundation, called the Binjai Tree, in late 2008 with a donation of $3.4 million. Keeps his charity quiet but is believed to have begun giving to health care causes and the arts in Singapore. After local charities were in the news for mismanaging funds in recent years, he started an organization to raise the standard of charitable governance and professionalism.

Lee Seng Gee, 88
Lee Foundation chairman.

Oversees the foundation started in 1952 by his father, Lee Kong Chian, who built a rubber business fortune. It's handed out $250 million over the years, mostly to education, the underprivileged and the arts. Most of the education money goes to college scholarships, libraries and new research centers. In recent years it donated $35 million to the Singapore Management University and $20 million to the National University of Singapore. Last year it gave large amounts to the National Cancer Centre.

Laurence Lien, 39
Lien Foundation chairman.

Took the reins from his step-grandmother, Margaret Lien, last year after serving on the board since 2002. His grandfather, banker and hotelier Lien Ying Chow, started the foundation in 1980. He's helped professionalize the operations, making it one of the most well-run and transparent foundations in Singapore. It's distributed more than $35 million to education, elder care and environmental causes over the past 4 years.

Young-Hoon (David) Kim, 58
South Korea
Daesung Group chairman.

Donates $40,000 each year to a Young People's Science Camp, where children learn about energy and the environment. Also gives $70,000 to the annual "Concert of Love," which brings together disabled and underprivileged youngsters. Last year he also contributed $700,000 to the Grand Bell film award and to Korean athletics, with the goal of boosting the country's image abroad.

Park Soon-Ho, 64
South Korea
Sejung Group president.

Grew up in bitter poverty and started his career working in a traditional market before eventually founding his group. Since 1997 he's donated $220,000, largely to the nation's biggest charity, Community Chest of Korea. In 2006 he set an example by giving away the $100,000 he received as gifts from guests at his daughter's wedding. He's also helped Iraqi refugees, the Red Cross and Food for the Hungry International.

Shin Heon-Cheol, 64
South Korea
Vice chairman of SK Energy.

Focused on helping the less fortunate after recovering from symptoms related to overwork--arthritis and eye disorders. Has collected donations before each of the 23 marathons he's run over the last decade, with sk Energy matching the funds raised. The total of $1 million over the years has been used to help the disadvantaged, including North Korean defectors, and for reforestation projects in China.

Yoon Young-Dal, 65
South Korea
Crown-Haitai Group chairman.

A leading patron of traditional Korean music. Sponsors Rageum, a traditional orchestra that performs each year at the Daeborum (First Day of the New Moon) Festival, and funds music teachers. He's also opened an art gallery and music hall at the Crown-Haitai headquarters in Seoul.

Chen Shu-chu, 59
A vegetable vendor in the Central Market in Taitung in eastern Taiwan since 1963.

Dropped out of school after her mother died and began selling vegetables to help support the family of 7. Works virtually every day. Donated $32,000 for a children's fund in 2004 and another $144,000 the next year to help build a library at a school she attended. Gave $31,000 in 2006 to the city's Kids Alive International orphanage and has spent $11,000 to support 3 orphans there. Plans to set up a $313,000 fund this year to help the poor with education and health care.

Thomas Lin, 61
Chairman of Sunlight Electronics Laboratory and a professor at National Taipei University of Technology.
Vowed in college to put his yet to be earned fortune into something meaningful. Donated his first $50 in the mid-1970s. Later the mysterious ailment of his then 5-year-old daughter and her quick and seemingly miraculous recovery spurred him to give away $15,000. Since then his donations have totaled $8 million, including $400,000 delivered to the Taiwan Fund for Children & Families in 2006, for which he dressed up as Santa Claus. Plans to give $1.9 million each year.

Pan Shi Yuen, 58
Chairman of San Francisco developer Pan Pacific Ocean.

Last March donated $3 million to his alma mater, National Chengchi University in Taipei, where he majored in journalism and met his Chinese literature major wife. The gift, the largest the university has ever received, will fund journalism and Chinese literature lectures in the name of his mother. He's also pledged $6 million to help it build a mass communications building. He's vowed to make $300 million in charitable contributions over his lifetime.

Tsai Hong-Tu, 57
Chairman of Cathay Financial Holding Co.

Quickly stepped up to donate $3 million to the relief efforts after Typhoon Morakot battered the country. Chang Yung-fa of Evergreen Group, Terry Gou of Hon Hai Precision Industry and Bruce Cheng of Delta Electronics, who we've honored as Heroes of Philanthropy in the past, also each donated $3 million and had their companies make contributions. In 2003 Tsai gave $7.8 million to the College of Law at National Taiwan University. The money was earmarked for 2 energy-efficient complexes containing a library and classrooms, which opened last June.

Dhanin Chearavanont, 71
Chairman of the CP Group.

Over the last 15 years has contributed more than $500,000 a year to various education, child welfare and Buddhist causes. Family's Buddharaksa Foundation assists orphans and other underprivileged children and is run by daughters Varnnee and Tipaporn. It's created a program that helps schools become self-sufficient--it's built 4 chicken farms to supply schools with eggs; the surplus is sold and profits used to fund school programs. He's also built or restored more than a dozen Buddhist temples in Thailand.

William Heinecke, 60
Founder and chief executive of hotel and restaurant company Minor International.

His Roy E. Heinecke Scholarship Fund, named for his father, sends hundreds of children to school annually. Celebrates his June 4 birthday by giving 20,000 workers the day off to do charity work. They paint schools and repair orphanages. "Each project is decided by local staff," says Heinecke, who pitches in. "It's not about how much money you give, but what you accomplish."

Vikrom Kromadit, 57
Chairman of industrial estate developer Amata.

After pledging to bequeath his assets to the Amata Foundation--which he founded to promote education, arts, culture and environmental causes--he's spending less time running his business and more on philanthropy. Recently donated 400 acres to Thailand's Ministry of Science & Technology for construction of a science education and research center.

Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, 64
Thai Bev and TCC Group chair.

With wife, Wanna, supports education and Buddhist causes, as well as efforts to reintroduce elephants into the wild. Funds free medical care to needy patients. Joined with other donors and the government to finance a $30 million kidney research center and medical education center. Through the Sal Chalermkrung Foundation he's helping to preserve classical Thai masked dancing.









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