The origins of TSE Foundation trace back to Jiangsu Province, China where founder, Joseph Tse (Tse Hsien Tsung), was born in 1917. Tse was raised in relative poverty and his early life was defined by struggle. Orphaned as a teenager, he curtailed his education in order to seek work in Shanghai.
As did many others at the time, Tse moved to Hong Kong in 1949. He found before him a vibrant dynamic city where the synergy between tradition and innovation, between East and West, offered a wellspring of inspiration for an ambitious young man. Tse soon rose to prominence as being among a handful of Chinese traders on the city’s exchange floor.
Upon retiring in 1986 he established TSE Foundation. A Chinese patriot, his intention was to give back to the country of his birth both by investing in China’s educational infrastructure and by supporting its return to the global stage.
During the past 25 years TSE Foundation has, among other things, co-funded over twenty-five primary schools in Guangxi Autonomous Region and has provided organisational support to numerous non-profit organisations. Mr. Tse was especially proud of his first projects, the Tse Hsien Tsung Primary School, The TSE School, & Dagang Senior High School located in Jiangsu Province. He passed away in ’96 and was laid to rest in his home district of Dantu in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu.
For almost thirty years TSE Foundation has funded initiatives that promote access to education, better health care, and greater mutual understanding and transnational cooperation. Our early work in rural China included investing in critical educational infrastructure, childhood nutrition, and environmental sustainability. We have also provided organizational support to a wide range of educational and social justice projects around the world.
MR. TSE HSIEN TSUNG, 1917-1996. Mr. Tse Hsien Tsung was born in China in 1917. He was two years old when his father died; his mother passed away when he was 17. During his youth, he struggled financially to receive an education. In his early twenties, Tse Hsien Tsung began working in Shanghai, acquiring valuable experience in the business world. In ’49, when the communists arrived in China, Tse Hsien Tsung fled to Hong Kong with many of his countrymen.
From 1949–1986, Tse Hsien Tsung was a member of Hong Kong’s Stock Exchange, building his fortune practicing sound investment concepts. More importantly, as a senior member of the Stock Exchange, he gained a reputation for excellence and honor.
Upon retiring in ’86, Tse Hsien Tsung immigrated to Singapore. All his life he had wanted to help the disadvantaged, as he himself had once been.
In Singapore, he established a charitable foundation providing grants to assist the community’s needy and elderly.
In the early 1990s, Tse Hsien Tsung returned to Zhenjiang, China in search of his family’s roots. In Dantu, where he felt a special need to contribute to his hometown, he provided financial assistance to rebuild two village schools. Today, both schools are named in his honor. The Tse Hsien Tsung Primary School has 400 students, and the Tse Hsien Tsung Secondary School has nearly 1,200 students. In addition, a library in Dagang High School was built in honor of Mr. Tse.
Toward the end of his life, Tse Hsien Tsung was determined to donate the majority of his fortune to the Foundation. He died on March 12, 1996, and is buried behind the Tse Hsien Tsung Secondary School in the garden “Que Bo Yuan.”