Lee Foundation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lee Foundation is Singapore's largest private charitable foundation.[1] It was founded in 1952 by philanthropist and businessman Lee Kong Chian, and has since supported various educational causes, healthcare and medical endowments as well as disaster relief efforts. It is run by a board composed of Lee's descendants and non-family members. The foundation is also shareholder of OCBC Bank and Singapore Press Holdings.[2][3][4]


The Lee Foundation was established in March 1952 with a funding of $3.5 million from business magnate Lee Kong Chian. Lee had been donating to schools like Kuo Chuan Girls' School, Nan Chiau Girls' High School, Chinese High School, Methodist Girls' School, St Margaret's School, Singapore Chinese Girls' School, Anglo Chinese School (ACS), the University of Malaya and Nanyang University. He had also donated to community institutions such as the Hokkien Huay Kuan Building, the Chinese Swimming Club and the National Library. Several institutions took on the name of Lee Kong Chian's father, Lee Kuo Chuan, as Lee had initially requested them not to use his name.[5] Examples of institutions and buildings named after the elder Lee includes the Kuo Chuan Presbyterian School, Lee Kuo Chuan auditoriums in ACS (Barker Road) and Maris Stella High School, indoor stadium of Anglican High School, Lee Kuo Chuan Nursery Home and the Lee Kuo Chuan Creche.[6][7][8][9][10] Lee Foundation was also registered in Malaysia in 1960.[11] It was reported that Lee Kong Chian transferred half his shares in Lee Rubber Group to the foundation in 1964,[11] it is alleged that he had bequeathed half of his wealth as proceeds to the foundation in his will.[12][13]

Lee Seng Gee, eldest son of Lee Kong Chian and chairman of the Lee Rubber Group, was the chairman of the foundation from 1957 till his death in 2016.[14] Board members include members of the Lee family such as businessman Lee Seng Tee (second son of Lee Kong Chian), YS Lee, Lee Han Shih (investor and former journalist for the Business Times), Lee ST, (director of OCBC),[15] [16] Lee Chien Shih and Alan Lee Shih Hua. Former board members include the former chairman of OCBC Lee Seng Wee. The foundation and the family has been known to keep a very low media profile.[17][18]

Since its creation up till 2015, the foundation donated approximately S$1 billion to various causes, regardless of race, language, religion, nationality, and geographical location. Seventy-five percent of that amount went to education. Notable contributions included the following

The Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Initiative on Southeast Asia, founded in 2007, establishes a Distinguished Visiting Fellowship on Southeast Asia to help advance scholarly and policy-relevant consideration of this region.[24]

In 2015, the sister foundation in Malaysia also donated a total of RM50 million to Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) for the construction of its new campus building in Sungai Long, Kuala Lumpur. In honor of the foundation's founder, the university has named its engineering and science faculty as the Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science.[25]

The generosity of the foundation has earned them many accolades such as the Distinguished Patron of the Arts Award by the National Arts Council for several years, and the National Volunteerism and Philanthropy Award Special Recognition Award in 2004 for Pioneers of philanthropy work in Singapore. Chairman Lee Seng Gee was awarded the Distinguished Service Order by the President of Singapore. In line with its original mission, the Lee Foundation continues to drive and promote education in socially relevant disciplines, e.g. in health and medical-related fields, and especially for disadvantaged students in Singapore, Malaysia and worldwide.


  1. ^ "Many businessmen in S'pore, but few are like Dr Lee Seng Gee: PM". TODAY. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Main Shareholders - Singapore Press Holdings". sph.listedcompany.com.
  3. ^ Lee, Su Shyan. "Two old S'pore families compete for Straits Trading". AsiaOne. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Singapore Press Holdings Ltd". Nikkei Asian Review. Archived from the original on 11 October 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  5. ^ Tan, Bonny. "Destined to be an entrepreneur and a philanthropist to be remembered". BiblioAsia – via Academia.
  6. ^ "In Memoriam - Mr Lee Seng Gee". Blue Skies (ACS Alumni Page). Retrieved 15 October 2017. The Lee Kuo Chuan Auditorium on the Barker Road site in the 1950s was the first major gift to the ACS family.
  7. ^ "Lee Kuo Chuan Auditorium at Maris Stella High School, circa 1968". BookSG - National Library Board, Singapore. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Anglican High born amid the turbulence of the 1950s". Retrieved 15 October 2017. and the $75,000 Lee Kuo Chuan Stadium, built in 1965, reflecting generous support from the Lee Foundation
  9. ^ "New nursery". The Straits Times. 25 May 1956. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Minister Byrne opens $40,000 creche". The Straits Times. 21 October 1962. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  11. ^ a b "李光前从"落叶归根"到"落地生根" 对国家认同转变映照社会变迁" [Lee Kong Chian's recognition of the state as a reflection of social change, from "yearning to return" to "putting down roots"]. Lianhe Zaobao. 18 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Giving to the school". Singapore Management University. Retrieved 15 October 2017. He left a major portion of his wealth to the Lee Foundation
  13. ^ Chew, Melanie (29 July 2015). Leaders of Singapore. World Scientific. p. 26. ISBN 9789814719452.
  14. ^ Ming, Chuang Peck. "Philanthropist and businessman Lee Seng Gee dies (Amended)". The Business Times. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  15. ^ "Two old S'pore families compete for Straits Trading". 11 February 2008. Although Mr Lee Seng Wee's son Tih Shih, 44, sits on the OCBC board
  16. ^ "OCBC - Who we are -Leaders - Board of Directors". www.ocbc.com. He is a Director of Lee Foundation and several Lee Rubber Group Companies.
  17. ^ "THE BILLIONAIRES 1990 -". Fortune. 10 September 1990. Retrieved 20 October 2017. Lee Seng Wee, along with brothers Lee Seng Tee and Lee Seng Gee, is known for philanthropy as well as reticence.
  18. ^ "Lee Seng Wee & family". Forbes. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  19. ^ "$60m for new National Library". TODAY. 16 September 2003. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  20. ^ "SM Goh Officially Opens The Lee Kong Chian Building at Singapore Management University". Singapore Management University. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  21. ^ Tan, Dawn Wei (12 October 2013). "Dinosaur trio reunited with arrival of Prince". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 15 October 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Lee Foundation gives $150m to NTU medical school". www.asiaone.com. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  23. ^ His Philanthropy Benefitted Generations – To Commemorate the 50th death anniversary of Mr. Lee Kong Chian
  24. ^ "Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Fellowship". Archived from the original on 18 July 2016.
  25. ^ "Lee Foundation donates RM50mil to UTAR". The Star Online. Retrieved 8 March 2016.

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