The Heren Foundation, a charitable organization started by Fuyao Global Chairman Cho Tak Wong, has donated $30,000 to Centerville City Schools.
The grant will support the new “Connect Centerville” initiative that aims to link current Centerville residents with immigrant families in the community, said Sarah Swan, community relations specialist.
“The goal of the initiative is to increase engagement between residents and immigrant families in order to promote community and help recently arrived families adjust to their new home,” Swan said. “With the donation, we are starting the Connect Centerville initiative this school year.”
Athena Hou, general counsel for the Heren Foundation, said the donation will support a very important cause.
“Diversity and inclusiveness is an important part of our mission and so we are very pleased to have this opportunity to work with you all together on this important cause,” Athena said.
Heren Foundation USA is committed to strengthen its ties with the local communities in the Greater Dayton Region, and to promote diversity and intercultural understanding, Athena said.
With an increasing number of non-English speaking people moving into the Centerville community, Megan LeMaster, the district’s English Language Learners coach, said she is eager to see more engagement between local families and families who have recently arrived in Centerville from other countries.
The first activity to benefit from the grant is a new host family program to assist those recently arrived families.
“The goal is really to provide informal opportunities for immigrant families to connect with volunteer host families in the Centerville community,” LeMaster said. “Our hope is that recently arrived families will have the opportunity to explore the Centerville community with their hosts, engage in meaningful dialogue, practice their English, and generally enjoy a connection to the community that they might not otherwise experience.”
The Heren Foundation was named after Cho’s late father and is the largest charity foundation in China, with the donated shares having a market value of 3.55 billion yuan or $538 million, China Daily reported in 2011. Athena said at the meeting Monday night that the foundation’s name translates to mean “river of generosity.”
Business Insider reported in 2012 that the $538 million donation “far outpaced” a $372 million donation made by “America’s biggest living donor, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.”
Cho is said to have donated more than $1 billion of his personal wealth in 33 years.
Fuyao has built its flagship plant, Fuyao Glass America in Moraine, with more than 2,000 workers making automotive safety glass and replacement auto glass. The company has invested $600 million into the plant.
Those interested in becoming a volunteer host family should visit www.centerville.k12.oh.us/learning/ell/connect-centerville to complete an interest form.
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