Kieu Hoang is a Vietnamese billionaire and refugee living in Los Angeles, where he also works as the chairman and owner of Shanghai RAAS Blood Products. He recently made headlines for a financial gift that, according to The Mercury News, qualified as "one of the largest private donations in San Jose history." He cut a $5 million check to the mayor of San Jose, Sam Liccardo, to be used to help victims of the recent San Jose flood.
Mayor Liccardo pledged during the announcement of the gift that all of Hoang's $5 million gift will go to flood relief efforts. More specifically, it will go into a relief fund set up by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which will then distribute the contents of the fund to nonprofit organizations like Sacred Heart, the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County and The Salvation Army. These organizations will in turn distribute the money to the victims most in need following the flood's tidal wave of damage spread across three neighborhoods, starting with those that are unable to work or without anywhere to sleep.
Hoang originally planned to donate just $2 million to the relief efforts happening now in the immediate aftermath of the flood, with the remainder of his $5 million pledge to be donated later. But he was evidently driven by the urgency of the situation and the number of people in need of help to give the entire amount up front. Jenny Do is the executive director of the Friends of Hue foundation which promotes Vietnamese culture and causes, and she has made a pledge of her own, to make sure the money is spent as it was intended:
"When I heard the public damage from the flood is $23 million, I was afraid the donated money might not go to the victims. But I recorded the mayor's statement, and I'm going to monitor it to make sure the people who are affected will get the necessary help."
It all started with a conversation between Hoang and his friend Chieu Le, who owns a chain of sandwich shops in San Jose. Le suggested setting up donation boxes in his restaurants to help flood victims, but Hoang opted for a more direct approach: "That takes too long. How about I give you a million dollars right now?" Shortly after, he was on a plane to San Jose to present an even greater gift to the city's mayor.