Yang Kyu Kim, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics North America, accepts the Legion's Patriot Award on behalf of his corporation. (Photo by Tom Strattman)

Legion recognizes Samsung’s generosity

In 1996, Samsung, the South Korean multinational electronics leader, endowed an educational scholarship fund of $5 million to The American Legion for administration to direct descendants of U.S. war veterans. It was a gesture of appreciation from Samsung to U.S. military veterans for coming to the aid of South Korea in its war against invading forces from China and North Korea.

Through interest earned on the fund’s principal, the Samsung American Legion Scholarship has awarded more than $4.6 million in grants to nearly 1,700 eligible applicants, giving young men and women an opportunity to achieve a higher education. On Aug. 27, during its 95th national convention in Houston, The American Legion recognized Samsung’s generosity by presenting the company with its 2013 Patriot Award. It's the first time the Legion has given the award to a corporation.

“We are especially proud to receive this award here in Texas, a state where Samsung employs more than five and a half thousand people, and where we have invested a total of $15 billion in advanced manufacturing in Austin,” said Yang Kyu Kim, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics North America, to delegates at the convention.

Samsung, a multi billion-dollar corporation founded in 1938 and headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea, is known for its technology products, such as smart phones, televisions, refrigerators and more, making it the largest technology company in the world. But even as Samsung continues to grow, “we never lose sight of our roots," Kim said. "This year is especially meaningful to us as it marks the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. Our success as a global technology leader would not have been possible without the steadfast commitment of the United States to the security of Korea. That is one reason why we try to do what we can to reinvest in America.”

Samsung employs veterans across the nation, hiring just over 300 veterans in its recent expansion of Samsung Austin (Texas) Semiconductor. “Veterans will continue to play a vital role in our hiring,” Kim said.

And Kim expressed that Samsung "strives to be a good corporate citizen wherever we do business.” For example, through its community program, “Hope for Children,” Samsung is committed to helping young people financially and educationally. The program is based off three pillars: Life, Learning and Planet. And over the past 12 years, with support from Hope for Children partners, Samsung has provided more than $30 million to nearly 500 U.S. schools and community organizations that help young people successfully fulfill all three pillars.

Learn more about Hope for Children here.

Samsung also has educational programs that support technology in classrooms, providing $2 million in technology grants to more than 4,000 public schools across the country. But its first major grant in support of education was to The American Legion with the scholarship fund. "Thanks to your stewardship of the endowment, hundreds of descendants of American veterans have been supported to pursue college degrees," Kim said.

The 2012 Samsung American Legion Scholarship recipient is able to attend Brown University in Providence, R.I., thanks to Samsung's generosity. “Receiving the Samsung American Legion Scholarship was absolutely incredible,” said Madeline Chin from South Pasadena, Calif. “I was in a state of shock when I heard the news. I feel so blessed and thankful. Coming from a family of eight, I know my parents are also so grateful. This scholarship is in honor of my papa, Francis Higgins, who fought in the Korean War. He passed a few months before I received the scholarship, but I know he would have been very proud.”

In his closing remarks, Kim reiterated his gratefulness to the Legion for its support and for the Patriot Award. 

“We hope that through this program, we can continue to support education for the next generation of American leaders and show our profound gratitude for the service that all of you have given to this nation," Kim said. "On behalf of Samsung, thank you again for your service and for this great honor." 

Learn more about the Samsung American Legion scholarship award here.