Yao stresses transparency in charity

Updated: 2013-07-01 01:16

By SUN XIAOCHEN (China Daily)

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Yao's hands-on participation at grassroots events speaks louder than words.

During a mini clinic at Beijing's Huilei School for migrant workers' children on Sunday, Yao brought his wife Ye Li and 3-year-old daughter Yao Qinlei to meet the students. He served as an assistant trainer and even did three push-ups for his players as punishment for losing a mini contest.

Zhang Hao, a junior high school student who took part in the event, was impressed by Yao's friendliness.

"He's so kind and close to us. To be able to talk and learn from him in person, I feel so blessed," Zhang said.

Zhang and his classmates will be invited to play the third quarter of the charity game at the Beijing Olympic venue, where Yao's former Houston teammates Tracy McGrady, Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) and Indiana Pacers' guard George Hill will appear with entertainment stars such as singer Han Hong.

All money from ticket sales and collected donations will be used to improve sports facilities during this year's Primary School Basketball Season, which was launched in April.

Yao stressed the importance of his foundation's transparency after scandals involving Red Cross Society of China.

"The key is we have to be able to track every coin of the fund and be open to the public about how the money is used," Yao said.

To guarantee its credibility, the Yao Foundation has volunteers from PricewaterhouseCoopers working as auditors. Yao is looking to recruit the world's largest accountancy and consulting group as a long-term partner.

A sports consultant said Yao has to work on more fundraising sources to maintain his foundation as his current mode of luring partnerships with personal connections will not last.

"What is lacking in his approach now is the ability to engage more assistance from society," said Zhang Qing, founder of sports marketing and consulting company Key-Sports.

"Yao's standing in the Chinese sports world is irreplaceable, but he'd better not count on it to run his charity work forever. To make his foundation and related charitable program sustainable, he has to work on new ideas to let the foundation stand on its own."

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