2 Pinoys on Forbes Asia list
An Octogenarian real estate developer and a veterinarian who helps educate children in the southern Philippines have landed on Forbes Asia magazine’s 2016 “Heroes of Philanthropy,” an annual list honoring the region’s noteworthy givers.
Included in this year’s list were Geronimo de los Reyes, 80, chair emeritus of Gateway Property Holdings Inc., a real estate company and the holding firm of industrial Cavite estate Gateway Business Park, and veterinarian Anton Mari Lim, 50, who started the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation.
De los Reyes began his foundation in 1995 to provide scholarships and support faculty development and research. His Gateway Property also built a 180-hectare industrial park in Cavite which was the first to have a centralized industrial waste water treatment plant that returned clean water to a nearby river.
In 1995, he put up the Geronimo Berenguer de los Reyes Jr. Foundation Inc., which manages a museum that displays the most extensive 19th and 20th century photographs of old Manila, World War II and other locations across the country. He also built Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church that can accommodate up to 1,500 people.
Making a mark with generosity
He has been recognized as an “illustrious adopted son of the province of Cavite.”
The magazine meanwhile feted Lim for helping the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation in 2010 that ferried impoverished children from the a mangrove village in Zamboanga, who otherwise had to swim to school.
The foundation has so far built 1,045 boats, five schools and two dormitories, giving 11,942 children access to education.
Aside from building boats, the group has also branched out to building and maintaining day care centers, classrooms and dorms. It also provides scholarships, conducts medical missions, and conducts livelihood programs in some 40 communities across the country.
Forbes Asia honored 40 philanthropists from 13 countries across the region in its July issue—choosing a mix of billionaires, businesspeople and captains of industries who are “making a mark with their generosity.”
The list recognizes people who have long records of backing worthy causes across the region, Forbes said.
China’s Pony Ma, chair and CEO of Tencent Holdings, who pledged 100 million shares of his internet service provider—worth $2.3 billion—to the Tencent Foundation, which supports healthcare, environment protection and new technology;
Wang Jianlin, chair of Wanda Group, who pledged $150 million to job creation and training in a five-year effort to uplift poverty in China’s southern Guizhou province;
Donation to university
Hong Kong’s Lui Che-woo, founder of K. Wah Group and Galaxy Entertainment, who launched the annual Lui Che Woo Prize with a $1.2-billion endowment;
Hong Kong’s Yeung Kin-man, founder and CEO of Biel Crystal Manufactory, who donated $26 million last September to the City University of Hong Kong—the largest gift it has ever received—for veterinary medicine research, student exchange programs and professorships;
Taiwanese mogul Terry Gou of Hon Hai Precision, who donated $6 million in disaster relief after a devastating earthquake struck southern Taiwan in February, killing 115 people. In 2013, he pledged to give away 90 percent of his wealth, which now totals $6 billion;
Vineet and Anupama Nayar, who founded Sampark Foundation in India which boasts a $100 million outlay representing more than half of their wealth. The foundation is rolling out kits with child-friendly teaching aids to 50,000 government schools and 3 million students across Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh;
Another notable philanthropist is Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India, who pledged $15 million last year to clean up Pune city near Mumbai;
Indonesian Budi Hartono whose Djarum Foundation has donated to a number of causes, including heritage preservation. Nearly 9,000 students at 100 universities have benefited in the last 30 years;
Japanese Ryoichi Jinnai, founder of Consumer Lender Promise, who has channeled $650 million into improving the agricultural competitiveness of the northern island of Hokkaido, in the last 15 years;
Husband, wife advocacy
In Malaysia, husband and wife Lee Oi Hian, chair of Kuala Lumpur Kepong, and Sandra Lee, executive chair of Daybreak, who pursue separate causes. Lee’s Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng Foundation awards scholarships to 50-60 students a year, while his wife’s training center rehabilitates physically and mentally challenged people;
Sino Group chair Robert Ng, who set up the Ng Teng Fong Foundation, for donating $92 million in rebuilding a hospital in Jurong;
Singaporean Tan Kheng Lian, chair of the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation, which has given tens of millions of dollars since its inception in 1976 to various causes;
South Korea’s Lee Joon-yong, honorary chair of Daelim Group, who pledged all his shares worth $175 million to a foundation working for the unification of the two Koreas;
South Korean couple Lee Seung-ung and Cho Jeng-ja, who donated $6.5 million worth of real estate to science and tech university KAIST.