The Beautiful Foundation: building philanthropy in South Korea with Lego block banks

Exhibited by
Yoon, Jung-sook, International Relations and Research, the Beautiful Foundation.
Added
June 06, 2012
Medium of Communication
Face to face, online
Target Audience
Individuals, single gift, corporations, granting organisations
Type of Charity
Children, youth and family, social change
Country of Origin
South Korea
Date of first appearance
2008

SOFII’s view

The Beautiful Foundation has grown to become one of South Korea's largest nonprofits. Its aims are, firstly, to build a more just and equitable society, spreading affluence more equally across society and, secondly, to give ordinary people the ability to feel wonderful and beautiful by donating to this cause. We're inspired by the thought of 80,000 Lego-shaped banks built into a mini-city in the central business district (CBD) of Seoul and think you will be too. It's one of the many ways the Beautiful Foundation is promoting a philanthropic society in South Korea, and it should encourage other nonprofits in the region and around the world.

Creator / originator

The Beautiful Foundation.

Summary / objectives

This clever campaign aims to demystify the notion that charitable giving is only for the 'elite' classes by encouraging ordinary people to donate through a national fundraising event.

Background

The Beautiful Foundation has grown to become one of South Korea's largest nonprofits. Its aims are, firstly, to build a more just and equitable society, spreading affluence more equally across society and, secondly, to give ordinary people the ability to feel wonderful and beautiful by donating to this cause. The Beautiful Foundation wanted to further promote charitable giving in South Korea, during a time when a 'giving culture' was rapidly taking root. This campaign aimed to increase the awareness of the needs of children and poor people, and to raise necessary financial social support through a non-conventional monetary system.

Supporters bought colourful Lego block banks to collect their donations. These were purchased online or in bulk and given to business employees or school students. A leaflet explaining how people could take part was distributed with each block bank. The leaflet also had stories from various supporters who came from all walks of life. Over the event period, supporters collected their monies in the block bank; on 6 December 2008 they brought their block banks to a central location in Seoul to join in a group Lego-building activity. Those who lived outside the capital were able to send their block banks before this activity.

Special characteristics

Supporters joined together to create a beautiful rainbow made of Lego block banks. The different colours of the blocks symbolised the dreams of different children. The rainbow itself symbolised the beautiful future that these children will now have, thanks to the help of united citizens.

Influence / impact

The Beautiful Foundation distributed 80,000 Lego block-shaped banks to schools, restaurants, corporations and partner organisations in the autumn/winter of 2008. More than 10 top celebrities volunteered to join the campaign and were featured in print advertising that helped to drive public participation in the campaign. Through the money raised children who did not have access to schooling due to economic reasons were given the opportunity to have tailored educational and cultural experiences to meet their individual needs.

Costs

The cost of producing the block banks, as well as other campaign programmes, were solely sponsored by GS Home Shopping. GS Home Shopping is one of the leading online/home shopping companies in Korea.

Results

80,000 everyday people participated in the campaign, raising a total US$520,000. This campaign built awareness of the needs of tailored educational and cultural support for needy children in South Korea.

Merits

This fundraising example provides a modern spin on the typical coin collection box, bringing people together to unite and make a difference through a meaningful activity.

Children everywhere love collecting boxes.
The Beautiful Foundation knows the advantage of engaging young people from a very early age and, as the elementary school class photo so clearly shows, the Lego block banks project proved to be great fun for all ages.More than a little like invaders from outer space the Lego block banks make their appearance on the streets of Seoul. Donors wrote messages on their Lego bank explaining their reasons for giving, which encouraged others to do likewise.
More than a little like invaders from outer space the Lego block banks make their appearance on the streets of Seoul. Donors wrote messages on their Lego bank explaining their reasons for giving, which encouraged others to do likewise.