Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Li Wants You to Love HK

Li Ka-shing wants to give away millions more money, and is enlisting the public to help him spend it.

Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong and China's philanthropist
It's not about hitting the jackpot, but the biggest winners will be Hong Kong and its people.

Through the tycoon's foundation, Li has launched "Love Ideas, Love Hong Kong", the first of a series of charitable programs for "Love HK Your Way".

Individuals can ask for up to HK$25,000 ($3,222) for projects, while educational groups and charities can ask for HK$300,000 ($38,665) in grants.

This is all part of the HK$300 million ($38.664 million) initiative, but the total amount won't be known until the projects are approved.

The ideas need to be submitted to and then the public gets to vote on on those projects from November 1-21. The ones with the most votes will get the grants.

The projects are expected to cover fields in education, health care, culture and community. Applicants have until October 17 to submit their proposals online.

Some 500 proposals are expected, and the top 20 percent or 100 of them will be awarded grants. And once they are approved, the projects must be started within three months and completed in a year.

This is a great way for small unknown projects to get a boost in funding, or others who coffers have run dry due to rising operating costs or lack of donations. It also helps pinpoint exactly where the money should go, and gets the public more aware of what social issues need help.

According to the Li Ka Shing Foundation's website, he set it up in 1980 mainly for education reform and medical research. Since then about HK$11.3 billion has been given away, including HK$7.3 billion in China and HK$2.6 billion in Hong Kong and the rest of the world.

No wonder Chinese President Hu Jintao was so anxious to meet Li over a week ago in the celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Shenzhen as a special economic zone (SEZ). It was reported that Hu hoped the tycoon could spare whatever time he could for a meeting.

Hu sounded like a crazed fan, but really, why would Li miss an opportunity to meet the Chinese president as well? On previous occasions he has met Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin.

In the end Hu and Li met for about 10 minutes, and the significance of the event completely cast a dark shadow over Chief Executive Donald Tsang, who was completely forgotten in the proceedings. It just shows money is power in China.

But in the meantime hopefully Hong Kong people are putting their creative caps on and thinking of ways to better their city.

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. in a recent ceremony at shun zhen hu seemed to show his favorite pick on li which has raised some eyebrows among the rich in hong kong. chinese are traditionally more family oriented. western styled philantrophy has still some ways to go. may be this is a good start.