One of China’s top millionaire philanthropists is throwing a luncheon for a thousand poor people in New York City during which each one will receive $300 cash inside a red envelope.
Those are the plans of Chen Guangbiao, a fervent environmentalist who made his millions recycling building construction materials. He said he hopes the event, set for Central Park’s Loeb Boathouse on June 25, will restore the image Americans have of wealthy Chinese, who, he says, too often are only hedonists making money through bribery. He also hopes the event will inspire Wall Street tycoons to do more to help the poor.
The founder of the Huangpu Renewable Resources Utilization Group, known for his public antics, took out a full-page advertisement in the New York Times inviting “poor and destitute Americans” to lunch. Those who wished to join the luncheon needed to RSVP to a Hotmail email address. Many thousands have already applied.
China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs named him the nation’s top philanthropist in 2008 and 2010 based on his charity donations, according to the South China Morning Post.
The 46 year-old businessman gained fame in China for his contributions in the aftermath of the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake. He arrived in the disaster zone early, bringing dozens of staff and heavy machinery. He personally rescued thirteen survivors and carried about 200 bodies out of the wreckage. He constructed roads and distributed cash to victims. He donated $25 million to charitable causes in 2008, more than half of which went to the earthquake relief efforts.
Later Chen made a series of attention-grabbing and eccentric charitable efforts, such as giving away envelopes of cash on the streets of Taiwan and distributing a pile of cash worth US $5 million to young entrepreneurs in China.