Villar named one of Asia’s ‘Heroes of Philanthropy’
Business tycoon Manuel Villar Jr. landed on Forbes Asia magazine’s 2020 “Heroes of Philanthropy,” a roster of outstanding altruists from the Asia-Pacific region who have funded causes ranging from COVID-19 relief efforts to the arts and education.
Villar—also known as the “brown taipan” who founded Vista Land & Lifescapes and the All Home retailing group—is also among the richest persons in the country with an estimated net worth of $5 billion, based on an earlier report by Forbes Asia.
He is the only Filipino on this year’s list.
Forbes Asia cited Villar’s donation of more than two hectares of land to Saint Jude Catholic School in Manila last year and another five hectares to the University of the Philippines, Villar’s alma mater, for an innovation campus. The two parcels of land were valued at P8 billion.
He was also cited for his contributions to four others schools in the country.
“Villar, who grew up poor, credits education for shaping his character,” the magazine said, citing the tycoon’s belief that education could uplift people from poverty and give them dignity.
He was also cited for his donations to churches, poverty alleviation efforts and the fight against COVID-19.
For this year’s list, Forbes Asia said it had sifted through dozens of candidates, all individual philanthropists who were donating their personal fortunes.
The list also included Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, who channeled $32 million into various forms of aid through the Li Ka Shing Foundation; Fast Retailing chief and Japan’s richest man Tadashi Yanai, who gave $105 million to two universities in Japan; Li Shufu, chair of Geely Automobile Holdings, who donated $28 million in January to help combat COVID-19 through his Zhejiang Li Shufu Charity Foundation; Hong Kong-based property tycoons and brothers Robert and Philip Ng; Vietnam’s richest man Pham Nhat Vuong, who is the majority owner of the diversified Vingroup; China’s Li Xiting, chair of Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics; Eleanor Kwok Law Kwai Chun, cofounder of Asia’s beauty retail giant Sa Sa; Indian billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala; South Korean real estate entrepreneur and chair of Gwangwon Industry Lee Su-young; Australian mall magnate John Gandel and his wife, Pauline.
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