By May S. Ruiz
Arcadians Richard and Eric Dong, rising 12th grader and 11th grader at San Marino High School (SMHS), are continuing their philanthropic endeavors which they launched in 2014 with their first endowment fund at Clairbourn School in honor of then headmaster, Dr. Robert W. Nafie.
Last Wednesday, August 8, they established The Richard and Eric Dong Endowment Fund for Union Station Homeless Services. During the endowment ceremony held in Pasadena, Richard said, “The fund is designed to provide scholarships for children in sports, music and the arts, leadership, and human rights promotion; to purchase books for the family library; to fund staff appreciation and recognition; and to finance the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights educational programs.”
“It is in memory of Robert F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his last campaign and in honor of Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy for their legacy and ideals of justice, equality, and freedom for all,” Richard added.
Additionally, Richard and Eric gave a check for Union Station’s immediate use this year. The ceremony ended with them giving a piano recital for friends, family, and guests.
Richard and Eric started their involvement with Union Station at the beginning of this year after hearing about the organization. They took a tour of the building, the family center, and the library.
“We were especially inspired by the hard-working families, the talented children, and the entire staff at Union Station who are passionate about what they do,” explained Richard. “We decided then that we wanted to contribute, so we donated clothes, books, school supplies, and toys for the kids. We also taught children at the center and gave piano performances for families.”
Congresswoman Judy Chu, who was in attendance at last Wednesday’s event, only had words of admiration and praise for Richard and Eric.
Chu enthused, “I don’t know of any kids who have successfully invested their money in Ford Motors and Bank of America and made so much money, then gave away their profits! This is actually their fourth endowment. They have previously instituted endowment funds for Clairbourn School, San Marino High School, and the International Leadership Foundation.”
“I am proud to say that I personally know Richard and Eric because they both interned in my office,” Chu continued. “They are extraordinary young men and are role models for young people in the San Gabriel Valley.
“Twice Richard has been the recipient of the Congressional Award Medal, the highest award for youth in the country,” proclaimed Chu. “And today it is my honor to present Richard and Eric the Certificate of Congressional Recognition.”
Richard and Eric were raised by their immigrant parents, Ed and Charity, to be thankful for their blessings and to make worthy contributions to society. While getting a certificate was not something they had expected, it is a fitting acknowledgement of their commitment and generosity given by a district representative on behalf of an appreciative community.