I am Hsia Choong. My husband and I have been a donor to SOAR Foundation for over ten years. It is a very clear and transparent education charity supporting needing and deserving students mostly from minority races in Taiwan and China. All headquarter workers are volunteers. Many of them are long-term donors themselves. Over 90% of donation money goes directly to the recipient students. No middleman cuts or fees.
Review from Guidestar
The SOAR Foundation is a charitable foundation established 15 years ago, to dedicate to the support of rural China’s poor students who are on the verge of losing their opportunities to continued academic pursuits for economical reasons. In the 15 years of our operations, we have disbursed close to 20,000 scholarships (US$100 per school year for a junior high student, and $300 for a senior high school attendee) among about 6,000 students. There are, at the moment, about 2,700 students throughout China (including Taiwan) receiving SOAR scholarship in this 2008-2009 academic year. The monetary subsidy changed the lives of our recipients by providing them the opportunities to continue their studies. Many of them are able to getting or even complete their university education due to SOAR scholarship. The feed-backs we have received from them are so touching and encouraging that have kept us at SOAR to forge ahead with our best efforts on a sustaining basis in the past 15 years. In the past couple of years, SOAR has been extending into vocational education assistances to poor Chinese rural students as new trial projects: For instance, we have inaugurated a program in Kun-ming, Yun-nan by cooperating with a local vocational school to train 100-plus students per semester (now in our 4th semester) with our self-developed curriculum, negotiated with various industries by SOAR to provide required skills to enable our students to become immediately employable after training. Another program involves a specific donation to help a north-west Chinese vocational college to be able to set up two work-shops with machineries they have no financial means to procure. The two work-shops are now in function to provide hands-on training and experience for their students to learn the skills of maintenance of household utilities, such as TV units, Air-conditioners, etc. SOAR is organized by all volunteers, and not one person receives any kind of financial remuneration throughout these many years. We work with our selected “sponsors” (educators, school principals and teachers) throughout China to nominate candidates, and we have set up review committee in the US to evaluate and distribute the scholarship directly, without the intrusion of any third party.
I have been a SOAR donor since mid-90's. I like and trust this grass-root charity organization. All workers in SOAR are retired professional volunteers. The overhead oost is very low (only a few percent for mailing and printing). Most recipients are rural minority students in China. Every year close to two thousand students were benefited from SOAR scholarships.