Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Franciscan International receives $10.8 million from Mavis Khoo

TheCatholicNews -

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SINGAPORE – A donation of 5 million Euros (S$10.76 million) was made today by Mavis Khoo, Chairman of the Goodwood Group of Hotels, to Franciscans International, a non-governmental organization at the United Nations, uniting the voices of Franciscan brothers and sisters from around the world. The donation was made through the Franciscan Friars in Singapore.

Ms Khoo donated the fund in the name of her philanthropic mother, the late Rose Marie Khoo, who had a deep commitment to charitable work and concern for the under-privileged during her lifetime.

The donation comes at a time when the Franciscan Friars commemorates its 50th year of presence in Singapore.

This 5 million Euros donation will take the form of an endowment fund, aimed at furthering the charitable works of Franciscans International.

It will be distributed across Franciscans International’s worldwide organizations in Bangkok, Geneva and New York. The donation will help about 1.2 million Franciscans worldwide in its work for the poor.

The Franciscans International is a non-governmental organization with General Consultative status at the U.N. that serves the global community by bringing spiritual, ethical and Franciscan values. An endowment fund is a permanent fund that exists in perpetuity or for a defined period, and the earnings and interest from the fund is used to carry out the works of Franciscans International around the world. The nature of the donation allows for it to have a much greater impact over a long period.

The charity is supported by the freewill offerings of Franciscan communities and partners, and champions causes related to justice, peace, care of creation and the promotion of human rights.

Father John-Paul Tan, Parish Priest at the Franciscan-run Church of St. Mary of the Angels, said, "This timely donation will be instrumental in furthering the Franciscan ideal of ‘loving concern for the poor, care of creation, peacemaking and addressing the causes of poverty’. It will help alleviate the situation of the poor and marginalized, and further, provide impetus towards driving the social causes of peace and justice, which is in accord with the Franciscan vision of global fraternity."

"This is an invaluable contribution in the memory of Mrs Rose Marie Khoo as it will go the distance to help the under-privileged in the society. We also appreciate this gesture by Mavis Khoo for extending her valuable support and unwavering belief in the Franciscan spirit of serving the poor and needy," added Father John-Paul Tan.

In further acknowledging the donation, Father John Celichowski, OFM Cap, President of Franciscans International, reiterated: "We are deeply touched by the philanthropic contribution made in the name of Mrs Rose Marie Khoo. We like to extend heartfelt thanks on behalf of all at Franciscans International for the generous donation and commitment towards helping the community. This will help us carry forward our vision to provide help to the less-fortunate in the society."

This donation comes as a result of Ms Mavis Khoo’s long association with the charitable works of the church and the growing relationship between her and the organization. Ms Mavis Khoo commented, "I believe that the fund will go towards helping the underprivileged, needy and vulnerable. I hope to continue with the legacy of my late philanthropic mother, who was committed to charitable work during her lifetime. In keeping with my mother’s commitment to donate funds for activities related to worthy causes, I wish to continue her legacy by distribution of funds centred on areas of great personal interest and passion.

This valuable donation marks the continued commitment of individuals who champion social causes with their philanthropic mindset and capability, and thus, help contribute meaningfully for the betterment of the society.

FRANCISCANS INTERNATIONAL (FI) is a non-governmental organization with General Consultative status at the United Nations, uniting the voices of Franciscan brothers and sisters from around the world. It operates under the sponsorship of the Conference of the Franciscan Family and serves all Franciscans and the global community by bringing spiritual, ethical, and Franciscan values to the United Nations and international organizations.

It closely follows the tradition of Saint Francis and Saint Clare, striving to put Franciscan ideals into practice at the international level. FI is guided by the saints’ loving concern for the poor, care of creation, and peacemaking. As the poorest people are being exploited in systemic ways, and global peace is increasingly threatened, Franciscan commitment is needed more urgently than ever, FI said.

Franciscans around the world run schools, hospitals, Justice and Peace offices, shelters, and specialise in many services for the poor. Their programmes at FI bring grassroots Franciscans to the United Nations forums in New York and Geneva, influencing international human rights standards and bringing witness to human rights violations.

FI is supported by the freewill offerings of Franciscan communities and their partners. A large part of its funding comes from individuals who support Franciscan work for human rights, care for creation, and peacemaking. FI’s advocacy programmes are designed in response to Franciscan needs worldwide. n

SINGAPORE – "I was very surprised," said Father John-Paul Tan, in response to a question on the donation. "To me, it is providential," he added.

He explained that it came about when he was sharing with Mavis Khoo his work with Franciscans International and how he had been tasked to look for funding. "I was sharing about the idea of a foundation as a structural way of ensuring long term dependable funding so that planning and programmes will not be affected by uncertainties," he said.

Ms Khoo then asked for more information about the foundation and offered to assist in setting it up.

Ms Khoo, a parishioner of St. Mary of the Angels, and her family have been friends of Father John-Paul and the friars for many years. Her mother Rose was also a Catholic.

The new Franciscans International – Rose Marie Khoo Foundation expresses in some ways Ms Khoo’s friendship with the Franciscan world and is significant because this in turn will help their work with the poor around the world, said Father John-Paul.

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