Seoul-based private equity house MBK Partners Founder and Chairman Michael Byung-ju Kim has been named one of the 15 “Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy” by US business magazine Forbes for the second year in a row. He was the only Korean to make this year’s top philanthropist list.
Kim was one of only three people -- the other two being billionaire brothers Ronnie and Gerald Chan who are the co-founders of Hong Kong’s Morningside Group -- to be recognized for two consecutive years.
Forbes emphasized Kim’s efforts in contributing to the arts, and his vision of fostering education.
In September this year, Kim donated $10 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to renovate the modern and contemporary galleries, known as the Oscar L. and H.M. Agnes Hsu-Tang Wing.
The magazine also applauded Kim for the scholarships granted by the MBK Scholarship Foundation, a program he founded in 2007, which has given a full ride to university for over 170 students since then.
“I’m seeking ‘impact giving’ focused on education and art,” he said in a statement. “Artworks deliver beauty to the world, while education has the potential to change the world.”
Last year, Kim had made the list for donating 30 billion won ($25.5 million) to construct a public library in northwestern Seoul. The library will be completed in 2027.
Prior to taking the helm at MBK Partners, Kim, 58, worked at numerous global companies, including Carlyle Asia and Goldman Sachs. He has a BA from Haverford College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.