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Ryu to establish ‘HJ99’ charity fund for children

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Published : 2013-04-16 19:51
Updated : 2013-04-16 19:51

South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers is pushing to create a foundation for less fortunate children.

“I am preparing to establish a charity foundation because I want to do good things,” the 26-year-old said Tuesday in Los Angeles, according to a Yonhap news agency report. “It will take about six months to complete the work under the related U.S. laws.”

He has already named the charity fund “HJ99 Foundation,” using the initials in his given name and his jersey number, 99.
South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin (right) poses with Jay S. Yoo, chief executive of Hanmi Bank, after signing a contract to appear on the bank’s commericals on Monday in Los Angeles. (Yonhap News)
Ryu plans to raise money through a “matching fund” with Hanmi Bank, which signed him as a model for its advertising on Tuesday.

Hanmi will donate $100 to the foundation each time Ryu strikes out a pitcher and another $100 each time he gets a hit.

Though the funding contract took effect April 15, the bank will donate money for all his strikeouts for the Dodgers before the contract.

Considering his strong batting talent, the bank is considering donating $10,000 for every homerun.

In exchange for getting donations from the bank, Ryu will appear in the bank’s advertisements for six years, the same period as his contract with the Dodgers. He will also attend autograph events and teach at baseball classes for children.

Ryu plans to increase the fund to $1 million.

The money will be spent mostly to help underprivileged kids, especially those suffering from intractable diseases but unable to get treatment because they are poor.

“I think that to help the needy is what professional players like me should do,” Ryu said.

His charity fund seems to be inspired by 31-year-old compatriot Choo Shin-soo, who started his career in the MLB earlier than him.

Two years ago, Choo of the Cincinnati Reds founded the Choo Foundation to help poor children.

The Choo Foundation has raised about $57,000 over the past two years.

By Chun Sung-woo  (swchun@heraldcorp.com)

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