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An old man and his granddaughter took a walk on the beach one beautiful evening to take in the sunset. The landscape was picture perfect, except thousands of starfish had washed up to shore and lay there, dying on the beach. One by one, the man picked up starfish and threw them back into the ocean.

“Why are you doing that, grandpa?” asked the little girl. “There are so many!”

As her grandpa picked yet up another starfish, he said: “To us, this is merely one in many thousands, but to the starfish itself, it is everything.”

This proverb perfectly captures the mission of the Chi Heng Foundation, an inspirational organization that intends to combat the spread of AIDS in China – a situation described by the United Nations as “a catastrophe that could result in unimaginable human suffering, economic loss and social devastation.”

Chi Heng Foundation—which translates to wisdom in action—travels from village to village throughout Central China offering help to every and all children affected by AIDS, ensuring no child is excluded and each child’s needs are fully understood.

The organization conducts life-changing programs ranging from education, health promotion and community support to material assistance in the form of food, blankets and winter clothes.  The foundation does not operate orphanages or foster homes. Instead, the orphaned children remain in their native villages, with relatives, which gives them a stronger sense of community and belonging.

Putting wisdom to action was the brainchild of founder and chairman, Chung To, who quit his high-powered position to become a now world-leading AIDS advocate. “I decided the world could live with one less investment banker,” he said in a Harvard University publication. “Chi Heng is more urgent.”

To date, the organization has helped more than 10,000 AIDS-affected children. “Helping these children now and making them a social investment rather than a social welfare problem can help to prevent large-scale social tragedy,” notes the foundation.

As Parq Vancouver is a proud supporter of the Vancouver Chinese community, the Chi Heng Foundation is a charity very close to our hearts. We were honoured to further Chung To’s remarkable mission at the Chi Heng Foundation Canada Gala Dinner in 2018, and we are excited to continue collaborating in the years to come.