Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jet Li's One Foundation

1. This article appeared in Reader's Digest January 2009 issue.

2. Jet Li is a famous international famous kungfu star from China. He was once China's martial arts champion, trained at the renowned Shaolin Temple.

3. He had a brush with death on 26th December 2004, when the tsunami killed about 300,000 people. At that time he was in the Maldives with his wife, two daughters and their nanny. One of his daughters and the nanny almost drowned but was saved by four bystanders. That incident shook him up and prompted him to take a closer look at what he wanted to do with his life. He was a changed man after that.

4. He spent a lot of time learning about philanthropy including speaking to academics around the world and visiting the Rockefeller Foundation to learn what makes a successful non-government organisation (NGO).

5. "What I learned is you need transparency." People need to trust that their money actually reaches the needy.

6. The idea behind One Foundation is simple: think big by thinking small. If everybody gives one yuan every month, it will add up to billions of dollars.

7. He teamed up with's founder Jack Ma who allowed him to make use of his online payment system without any processing fees.

8. The foundation raised $16 million in about 18 months.

9. One Foundation wants to build a platform, a bridge between people who want to give the money and the NGOs that need it.

10. Jet Li and Jack Ma stayed up late three nights in a row, trying to figure out how to make One Foundation a model for NGOs in China.

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