We set ourselves a target of raising US$70,000 to build a new centre for the Half the Sky Foundation in a second tier city in China. Half the Sky runs education and infant nurture programmes inside orphanages to provide children with stimulation, attention and an active learning environment. In 2005, it also partnered with the Chinese government to create a new model of permanent foster care for special needs children who will never be adopted.
Thanks to the generosity of many of the people in the room we ended up raising double our target and will now be able to fund two new centres in China. We would particularly like to thank Goldman Sachs, which pledged US$70,000 to become global co-ordinator of our charity tombstone and to Robert Morse, CEO of Citigroup Asia, who pledged US$30,000 on behalf of his bank.
Many thanks also to the people who spent US$34,000 during our auction of movie memorabilia and those who purchased US$6,500 worth of raffle tickets, hoping to win a holiday at the Tibetan styled Banyan Tree in Yunnan province. Among the auction prizes on offer were: an encyclopedia of bodybuilding signed by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a gold pocket watch donated by Tom Hanks from his movie Castaway and signed posters donated by Clint Eastwood and Kevin Costner.
In addition, UK golfer Nick Faldo, who headlined our awards dinner in 2004, pledged one of his personal drivers.
This year we were honoured by welcome Simon Murray as our after dinner speaker. Murray is a man who needs little introduction to a Hong Kong audience. A former Foreign Legionnaire, corporate taipan and the oldest man to walk (unsupported) to the South Pole, Murray is also making a welcome return to the financial markets as Asian chairman of Macquarie.
Finally, we would like to thank David Dean who entertained our pre-dinner cocktail party with a selection of classical pieces. Dean, who retired from Nomura last year as head of Asian ECM, is now a professional concert pianist based in London.