Here's everything you need to know about the Hong Kong tycoon's charitable foundation, which has funded 120 million students and 170 million patients in the Greater China region since 1980

It’s the second largest private foundation in the world

Founded by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-Shing, who has pledged to donate one-third of his assets to support philanthropic projects, the Hong Kong-based charitable foundation is the second largest private foundation led by a wealthy individual in the world, after Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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It’s Li Ka Shing’s “third son”

When Li was honoured the Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, he referred to his eponymous foundation as his “third son”, not only to emphasise how close the foundation is to his heart but to urge other Asian entrepreneurs to do the same, in the hope of altering the traditional culture of pass wealth predominantly through lineage. 

In 2011, Li told Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper, “Thinking about an instrument for doing social good as a child—as your child, in particular—focuses you as the giver on building an entity that is robust, one that has inner strength.”

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It supports education and health initiatives

Having grown up experiencing the loss of his father at an early age and dropping out of school at the age of 16, Li's own rags-to-riches journey influenced him to establish a charitable foundation that focuses on making education and healthcare accessible.

To date, Li has invested over HK$26 million across 27 countries and regions, with about 80% of the projects in support of education reform initiatives and medical services in Greater China region.

The cornerstone project of the foundation is the establishment of Shantou University (STU) in Li’s hometown, Shantou, in 1981. STU is a comprehensive university in Guangdong province and remains the only public university receives funding from the Li Ka Shing Foundation.

In June 2019, Li Ka Shing Foundation announced an annual commitment of HK$113 million in scholarships for every undergraduate attending STU, starting with the incoming class of 2019. This made STU the first university in Mainland China to offer full-tuition support for all enrolled students.  

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Knowledge and education can change a young person’s destiny, healthcare promotes and restores human dignity, and medical research makes possible new and better forms of care.
Li Ka-shing

Another remarkable donation Li Ka Shing Foundation made this year was a HK$500 million donation to The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) to establish the city’s first institute of synthetic biology.

With a history of funding companies that are changing the future of food for the better, including the revolutionary plant-based meat alternative creator, Impossible Foods, animal-free dairy producer Perfect Day and molecular coffee start-up Atomo Coffee Inc. with his venture capital firm, Horizons Ventures, it’s evident that Li is passionate about investing in new ways to improve healthcare through technology.

Crunch Time Instant Relief Fund

The most recent donation made by Li Ka Shing foundation is the Crunch Time Instant Relief Fund, a HK$1 billion fund which aims to help local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) withstanding the setbacks of a slowing global economy and the city’s ongoing protests. 

Hong Kong's suffering F&B industry will be the first to benefit from the fund, with a cash grant of HK$60,000 to be allocated to each qualified business by the end of November 2019. 

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