The “Family Philanthropy: Values and Strategy” forum, held on September 17-18, 2009, attracted an enthusiastic turnout of about 100 donors and family foundation staff. The event provided a platform for family members to candidly discuss issues that concerned them and challenges that confronted them in relations to family philanthropy, and to share their experiences with one another.
The occasion started with a welcome note by ZeShan’s Executive Chair Ms. Laura Chen, followed by a speech by Dr. Thomas Chen, patriarch of the family and chairman of Si Yuan Foundation, in which he shared his view on success in terms of happiness and contribution to society. Ms. Chen then addressed the participants, delineating the meaning of Family, Philanthropy, Values and Strategy, and sharing the family’s philanthropic journey with the participants. Other members of the Chen Family, including Mr. Minoru Chen, Ms. Annie Chen and Mr. Roy Chen, as well as Dr. Gerald Chan from the extended family, all spoke at the event.
The conference consisted of breakout sessions on topics relevant to individual donors and family foundations, including the importance of proper due diligence, evaluation and accountability, strategic giving, synergy and leveraging, as well as global trends. Several issues especially struck a chord with the participants, such as how to involve the next generation in family philanthropy, family dynamics and conﬂict resolution mechanisms, and due diligence, monitoring and evaluation methodologies.
ZeShan invited Emmy Award-winning musician Peter Buffett to play on the piano and share his experience in philanthropy with forum participants. The audience swooned with delight as Mr. Buffett performed, told stories about his life experiences and showed moving videos of his philanthropic initiatives.