Two pledges from South Korean billionaires to donate half of wealth


Alliance magazine


South Korea has seen some announcements of big philanthropy this month, with tech billionaire Brian Kim, founder of the Kakao Corporation, South Korea’s top mobile-messenger operator, pledging to donate more than half of his wealth to solve social issues.

Brian Kim’s announcement, which was relayed through a message to his employees, came just before fellow South Korean billionaires Kim Bong-jin and Bomi Sul joined the Giving Pledge and vowed to donate half of their wealth. Kim Bong-jin is the founder of the South Korean food-delivery app Woowa Brothers Corp, and Bomi Sul is his wife.

‘Ten years ago, when I was running a small company of less than 20 employees, I read an article about Bill Gates and Warren Buffett making the pledge and had a wild dream of one day making the pledge myself,’ Kim wrote in a statement. ‘It is very overwhelming that I am making such a pledge, today.’

Kim Bong-jin and Bomi Sul didn’t detail how they planned to give away their fortune, but did write that they wanted to ‘resolve the issue of educational inequality, support arts and culture, and establish and organisation that could help philanthropic institutions in carrying out their work.’

Brian Kim similarly hasn’t released precise details on his donation, though he is reportedly planning an official announcement soon, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap News.

Brian Kim’s net worth totals $8.9 billion, meaning he is prepared to donate at least $4.5 billion. A donation of this size would be the single-largest by any Korean, according to the industry tracker CXO Institute.

‘I hope that his good-will creates a new culture in our society so that many others would follow suit,’ said CXO Institute chief Oh Il-sun last week.

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