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Kakao’s Kim Beom-su sets up foundation to make social impact

Kim Beom-su, founder and board chairman of Kakao (Kakao)
Kim Beom-su, founder and board chairman of Kakao (Kakao)

Kim Beom-su, the founder of mobile messenger firm Kakao, has established a charity foundation aimed at making positive social impact, Kakao said Wednesday.

The Brian Impact foundation, named after Kim’s English name, aims to support businesses that seek to provide solutions to social problems, expand employment opportunities through research and development projects or engage in business related to future-leading technologies, such as artificial intelligence.

“The purpose of Brian Impact is to proliferate ‘social impact,’ positive impact on the society by supporting innovators up for changing the world and those who are preparing for the future in their given fields,” the foundation said.

The Kakao founder is chairman of the foundation’s board, and has personal ties with the four other board members.

Kim Jung-ho, one of the founding members of Naver, worked with Kim at Samsung SDS and NHN. Lee Hye-yeong, Ashoka Korea’s CEO, had once donated 50,000 shares of Kakao. Psychiatrist Chung Hye-shin threw a campaign event for office workers with Kim in 2013. Korean actor Lee Yoon-mi has posted photos with Kim on her social media before.

“Members of board of directors are those who have utmost interest in the direction the foundation is headed,” the foundation said.

Before establishing Brian Impact, Kim announced he would donate half of his personal wealth that is estimated to be about 10 trillion won ($8.97 billion).

“I would like to directly use donation money in hundreds of billions of won for those in need. I hope it could be a stepping stone to solve some of the social issues,” Kim said in his New Year’s address.

Last month, Kim sold 4.3 million Kakao shares, or worth about 500 billion won, to raise money for the foundation and other donations.

By Byun Hye-jin (hyejin2@heraldcorp.com)
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