February 8, 2012; Taipei Times | In Taiwan, the 84-year-old founder of the Evergreen Group, Chang Yung-fa, said yesterday he would donate the totality of his fortune, or $1.6 billion U.S. dollars, to charity upon his death, leaving nothing to his children beyond the stocks they now possess. The Evergreen Group is involved in the airline, shipping and hotel business.

Chang is concerned about rising poverty rates in Taiwan and he believes in karma. “My charitable endeavors are the fountain of my joy. It allows me to sleep better at night knowing that I have made a positive impact,” Chang recently said at a tea party thrown for interested media. “And my career successes this life are the legacy of the good I sowed last life, so I need to humbly assume more responsibilities.”

Philanthropy is nothing new for Chang, who feels that young people need to depend less upon their parents. He established a foundation in 1985 which has since been making grants in education, among other things, and publishing a magazine, Morals Monthly Digest, 340,000 copies of which are distributed to 31 countries. Apparently, prison inmates are among those who are seen as a core constituency of that publication; a number of inmates have written for it and it is distributed in 28 prisons. Chang is planning to tour 47 prisons this year, sometimes bringing with him the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra “to soothe the souls of the inmates.” –Ruth McCambridge