The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is vast and as the crisis continues, philanthropy needs to be resourceful, responsive, innovative and collaborative in order to be impactful. Numerous charitable foundations and increasingly Asian billionaires are surely rising to this challenge. Many big names of the various industries are coming to the surface and setting examples in raising funds and making contributions. Indeed, numerous initiatives have been announced in order to tackle the pandemic. One particular initiative that was launched recently stood out.
Founded by a Hong Kong billionaire, Calvin Lo, The 195 Project is a think tank that specifically focuses on better philanthropy in a post-Covid-19 world. It was during the pandemic that Lo realised that resources from his personal charitable foundation, which is estimated at US$245 million, were not going to the appropriate places and there were many inefficiencies in the process. After sharing his concerns with his fellow billionaires and global ambassadors, and after many online meetings, The 195 Project was born. Lo is not in favor of altering philanthropy per se, but strongly believes that there are far more efficient methods in distributing resources to those in need. This think tank is to study the old way and make recommendations for improvements.
A little introduction about Calvin Lo will help us understand and appreciate his initiative better. Calvin Lo is a Hong Kong based tycoon, entrepreneur, philanthropist and owner of a multinational insurance broker firm R.E. Lee International. He also founded an asset management firm, R.E. Lee Capital, which manages about US$8 billion. Forbes estimated his net worth at US$1.7 billion, making him the 43rd richest person in Hong Kong. furthermore, the worth of all his different charitable trusts in the Cayman Islands are US $245 million. Lo is an innovative leader that is shaping the lucks of companies. He comes up with innovative ideas and trends with his financial insights, and this is the main reason for his success.
During the pandemic in the year 2020, Lo donated US$13 million, thousands of masks worth US$5 million and 35,000 boxes of sanitizers to help the less fortunate living in Wuhan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. He also donated US$8 million in just Wuhan where Covid is making lives difficult.
Being the owner of a successful business that is spread across the globe, Lo is quite down to earth. In fact, it surprises everyone in today’s age how he operates in total secrecy. This young entrepreneur is a person who believes in simple living and was never in favor of his images being displayed in magazines or appearing in media, or even written about in news.
There is so much we can learn from this philanthropist CEO, and remember that accumulating wealth is not what life is all about. He has certainly revealed that this philanthropic path is less travelled by many.
Arguably, intelligent investment and distribution of philanthropic assets are far more challenging than earning the wealth itself. As being responsible business leaders, we all have to join hands and show that philanthropy matters. When we talk about renowned billionaires, we should not forget the work of Calvin Lo. His work is no less than others and needs to be highlighted. Warriors against the pandemic have shown us that even small acts of humanity will progress in the right direction.