In July of 1972, Hong Kong philanthropist Sally Aw Sian set up the Aw Boon Haw Foundation, a charitable organisation, to formally continue the philanthropic work started by her father, Aw Boon Haw.
In October 1993, Miss Aw set up a branch of the foundation in Fujian, China after she made her first visit to her home town in Fujian. In 2004, the Fujian Foundation branch was named Aw Boon Haw Foundation (Fujian).
The Foundation is a private non-profit family organisation; funding comes solely from Sally Aw Sian.
Between 1972 and 1993, the Foundation concentrated its efforts in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Burma, Canada, the UK, and the USA. During these years the Foundation built schools, provided Hong Kong students with interest-free loans to study abroad, provided scholarships for Hong Kong students to attend medical school, funded visiting professorships in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at University of Hong Kong, helped fund journalism programs at overseas universities, made donations to Buddhist monasteries and nunneries to further their causes, and donated medical equipment to hospitals. The Foundation also made annual donations to St. John’s Ambulance Service in Hong Kong.
In 1993, many of the structures in China built by Aw Boon Haw were returned to Miss Aw. She, in turn, donated two of these properties to the people of China to be used as a children’s library in Guangzhou and a community museum in Yongding County in Fujian Province.
The Aw Boon Haw Foundation has provided major seed money for the Asian Youth Orchestra, the Great Buddha on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island, and the Chi Lin Nunnery Home for the Elderly. In addition, the Foundation commissioned and published a scholarly art book about Aw Boon Haw’s accomplishments and his two Tiger Balm Gardens—printed in English in 1999 and in Chinese in 2007.
FUJIAN BRANCH OF THE FOUNDATION
Since its establishment in 1993 until 2007, the Fujian Foundation has funded many educational institutions, homes for the elderly, and also provided infrastructure for rural areas with roads, schools, and other charitable businesses. Up to 2008, more than 30 buildings, 26 basic schooling programmes (52 buildings), one complete primary school (grades primary 1 to primary 6) have been funded. Besides these, the Foundation also makes contributions to young people in China: in 1995, on China Children’s Day, Sally Aw Sian gave her Eng Aun Tong building in Guangzhou to the Chinese government to be used as Guangzhou Childrens' Library. Also, in 2003, the Foundation gave scholarships to outstanding teachers and students (in the Fujian schools the Foundation had funded) in order to encourage better educational programmes. The Foundation also has made a renovation and upgrade of the Haw Par Mansion in Zhongchuan, Yongding. In 1994, Li Peng designated this renovated mansion as Aw Boon Haw Museum, a place where Chinese people can learn about the good works of Aw Boon Haw and come to share the Aw family love for China.