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Lee Foundation is Singapore's Largest Private Charitable foundation, created to aid "the advancement of education, medicine and helping the poor; and assisting victims of fire, flood and famine", It also funded other philanthropic work. It was founded in 1952 by philanthropist and businessman, Lee Kong Chian. It is run by a board comprising his descendants and non-family members, board members include his eldest son Lee Seng Gee (Chairman of Lee foundation and Lee Group of Companies), Lee Seng Tee (well respected philanthropist) Lee Seng Wee (former Chairman of OCBC), Lee Han Shih (notably outspoke former journalist for the Business Times), and Lee Shih Hua, Alan.
In 1957, Lee Seng Gee took over as chairman of the foundation. Lee Foundation remains among OCBC's largest shareholder. It is reported that Lee Kong Chian had given a large fraction of his share to the foundation, it is alleged that the half of the family's wealth has actually been set aside as proceeds to the foundation. .
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
- $60 million donation to the National Library for the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, 2003
- $50 million donation to the Singapore Management University for Lee Kong Chian Business School, in 2004
- $30 million gift to the National University of Singapore in 2005 for the Lee Kong Chian Wing.
- $25 million for Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum of National University of Singapore
- $150 million to NTU-Imperial College London's newly created medical school, named Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, shortened to LKCMedicine.
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.<http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/research/nusstanfordsea/>
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 it's engineering and science faculty as the Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science.
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.
- "Lee Seng Gee". National Library, Singapore. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
- "Lee Foundation donates RM50mil to UTAR - Nation | The Star Online". Retrieved 2016-03-08.