The Li Ka Shing Foundation will give a series of donations totalling NZ$5 million (HK$27.6 million) to the University of Auckland Campaign For All Our Futures to support innovation and entrepreneurship. It will also encourage philanthropy by incorporating a NZ$1 million dollar-for-dollar matching challenge for donations from alumni and other supporters in the Greater China region.
The foundation, set up in 1980 by leading Hong Kong entrepreneur and philanthropist Li Ka-shing, seeks to enhance societal improvement through supporting education and healthcare initiatives. A media statement from Auckland University says Li believes that anyone can serve society, but only someone with a giving heart can propel social progress. This is key to creating a positive virtuous cycle in society.
The NZ$4 million earmarked for innovation will be used primarily to create the Li Ka Shing Innovation Fund, which will drive teaching and research related to innovation and entrepreneurship. It will support the university as a hub of innovation in the Asia Pacific region, engage students in its entrepreneurial ecosystem and encourage the creation and commercialisation of student-led companies through its Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and other programmes at the Business School. There will also be funding allocated to supporting radical innovation projects, particularly in science, technology and engineering.
In addition, the Foundation has also offered to match donations to the university on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to NZ$1 million in total to encourage alumni and supporters in Greater China to support the university’s campaign and build a culture of philanthropic support from Asia for its work.
Li said that New Zealand has always been one of his favourite destinations, “a country blessed with spectacular mountains and sparkling lakes, easy going and innovative people. I wish this University of Auckland’s campaign effort and creative collaborations in the future to be a resounding success”.
University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said: “This generous donation from the Li Ka Shing Foundation will help the University of Auckland to further develop the radical innovation needed for New Zealand to thrive in a dynamic global economy.
“In addition, the matched funding initiative stands to significantly enhance international philanthropic support from alumni and other supporters based in Asia and encourage the partnerships that are crucial to make a sustained impact on the world around us.”