[EDITORIALS]Philanthropy and societySong Geum-jo, president of Taeyang, and Lee Sang-cheol, CEO of Hyeonjin Apparel, are two people who have shown the rest of the society what it means to give back to society by making donations to educational institutions. They are excellent examples of how we should meet our responsibilities to society.
Since Chung Mun-sul, former president of Mirae Technology, donated 30 billion won to the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in 2001, donations of this magnitude have become a bit more common. Last year, Lee Jong-hwa, CEO of Samyoung Chemicals, and Lee Geon-hee, chairman of Samsung Electronics, established educational foundations with hundreds of billions of won in donations. In the cases of Song Geum-jo and Lee Sang-cheol, what makes their acts to establish educational foundations stand out is the fact that the two men are not owners of big Korean conglomerates but owners of small businesses. Mr. Song is himself in a sick bed, but still donated most of his wealth. A self-made man taking pride in being called an old Scrooge, he didn’t hesitate when it came to making a decision that education was the most important thing to make the country strong and competitive. Through his generous gesture, he provided people the chance to get more education.
Lee Sang-cheol’s decision to donate money for a public library came out of the desire to do something for his second daughter, who died while she was studying abroad. True love for his child has driven him to extend that love to society.
Mr. Song said, “Without education, a country cannot become a developed nation.” Education is the only way of breaking the vicious cycle that is the legacy of poverty. In addition, it could become the key to uniting our society’s deep rifts.
But most families only care about their own well-being and their children. Donations should not be made only by those with great resources. We need to create a social network for bright young people who are poor. To give them an opportunity and establish an environment where they can flourish, everyone needs to lend a hand.