Richmondite gives back to hospital foundation with donations

A long-time Richmondite, Willie Li, has become the first Mainland Chinese title sponsor of a fundraising gala that raises money for surgical care in the province.

On Feb. 1, for the fifth year running, community leaders and guests will gather for the Time to Shine Gala, hosted by Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and UBC Hospital Foundation and, this year and sponsored by Li’s property development company Lion Way Properties. 

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This annual event will help both foundations get closer to their $60-million fundraising goal, which will equip medical teams with necessary technology and help build 16 new operating rooms and a 40-bed care unit. 

Li, founder and CEO of Richmond-based Lion Way Properties, took the lead in the campaign by making a large donation. 

According to Li, although his mother tongue isn’t English and he comes from a different cultural background, other Richmondites have welcomed him and he considers Richmond his second home. 

“Canadians are nice people, Richmond is a very peaceful city to live in,” said Li, adding that the authentic Asian cuisine and cultural diversity here make him feel a sense of belonging, and he decided to make a difference to the local community.

“As an avid marathon runner, I pay attention to healthy lifestyles and health care. I believe good health care can benefit everyone, so I chose to give back to hospitals,” said Li, hoping that his action will inspire other Chinese immigrants to contribute back to the local community as well. 

“This is also part of Canadian values - giving back to the community,” added Li. 

Since launching in 2015, the gala has raised a total of $15.4 million for the Future of Surgery campaign. This year’s target is $3 million.  

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