Mystery donor for dinosaur fund revealed
Tan Dawn Wei
8 September 2011
(c) 2011 Singapore Press Holdings Limited
MRS DELLA Lee, wife of Lee Foundation chairman Lee Seng Gee, is the mysterious donor who was instrumental in the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research securing three US dinosaur skeletons.
The philanthropist declined to say exactly how much she gave but the multi-million-dollar donation comes from her and her husband, and her DS Lee Foundation which she founded in 2004.
The Straits Times reported yesterday that a donor, who wished to remain anonymous, had topped up the funds to buy a trio of dinosaur bones discovered in a quarry in Wyoming in the United States.
The American sellers had asked for $8 million but the Raffles Museum would not say what the final deal was.
Mrs Lee said: ‘It is right to keep the family of three dinosaurs together. It will be a unique experience for all. I hope our contribution will put Singapore on the world map and will be a lasting educational legacy for generations to come.’
Dr Lee Seng Gee’s father, Mr Lee Kong Chian, was a well-known banker and philanthropist.
The Lee Foundation also gave $25 million to the building of the new natural history museum which the Raffles Museum will become in 2014.
Named Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, the 7,500 sq m facility will be built on the National University of Singapore’s campus at a cost of $46 million, raised from private and public donations.
Besides the dinosaur skeletons, the museum will also showcase the Raffles Museum’s collection of 500,000 specimens of South-east Asian animals.
Other donors who came on board the dinosaur project earlier include Binjai Tree Foundation, founded by former Singapore Exchange chief executive Hsieh Fu Hua, and Mrs Anastasia Liew of Bengawan Solo, who gave $100,000. She was introduced to the museum by Mrs Lee.
‘It is good for Singaporeans to learn about history and enjoy them,’ Mrs Liew said.
The Singaporean entrepreneur had previously made donations to the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, National Museum and various bursary schemes.
Binjai Tree Foundation is believed to have pledged $250,000. There was also a $500,000 donation from eco-hotel Siloso Beach Resort and a $1 million gift from an unnamed donor.
The public also donated $57,490 to the dinosaur fund through the museum’s online portal.
Mrs Della Lee topped up the funds to buy a trio of dinosaur skeletons from the US but declined to reveal the amount of her donation.
Singapore Press Holdings Limited