Lee Kun-hee gifts 20 billion won to youth job fund

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Lee Kun-hee gifts 20 billion won to youth job fund

Samsung’s bedridden chairman, Lee Kun-hee, has donated 20 billion won ($17.6 million) of his personal assets to the Youth Hope Fund, a public trust, the group announced on Thursday.

A group of presidents across Samsung affiliates, including Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman and heir-apparent Jay Y. Lee, have also devoted a combined 5 billion won to the public fund meant to bolster the creation of jobs for young people.

“Samsung has decided to participate in the donations, as it sympathizes with the fund’s purpose to give courage and hope to the younger generation and generate jobs for them,” said Lee Joon, head of communications at Samsung’s Future Strategy Office, in a briefing.

Lee Joon acknowledged that the group had made the donation on behalf of Chairman Lee, as he has been unable to communicate since experiencing a stroke in May 2014.

The last time the chairman made a major donation from his family’s personal fortune was in 2006, when he was faced with growing public animosity towards Samsung after a string of scandals. That donation totaled 800 billion won.

The Youth Hope Fund launched in September after President Park Geun-hye urged both public and private communities to donate to help resolve the country’s increasingly serious youth unemployment problem.

President Park was the first to contribute to the fund on Sept. 15, followed by commitments from CEOs, politicians and celebrities. The fund will provide young job seekers with grants for vocational, entrepreneurship and other job-seeking training.

As of Oct. 13, the fund had raised 9.3 billion won, with Samsung’s massive donation instantly propelling the amount to over 34.3 billion won. Many other conglomerates are expected to follow suit.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]
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