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Saturday, December 9, 2023

SM founder Lee Soo-man and KYCC announce planting 1,000 trees annually in LA

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At the launch of the ‘LA Tree Sustainability Initiative’ in front of Da Wool Jung in Koreatown, Los Angeles, on September 28, SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man (4th from the right), City Councilwoman Heather Hutt (6th), Consul General Youngwan Kim (1st), and KYCC Executive Director Johng Ho Song (3rd) make a hand gesture to encourage tree planting. SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man is providing $500,000 in matching funds for the project. [By Sangjin Kim, The Korea Daily]

“To repay the love K-pop has received, I will create a better world for young fans to live in.”

On September 28, former SM Entertainment executive producer Lee Soo-man, founder of SM Entertainment and a pivotal figure in spreading K-pop culture, visited Los Angeles.

At a press conference in front of Da Wool Jung in Koreatown, Lee announced the launch of the ‘LA Tree Sustainability Initiative’ in partnership with the Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC).

The project aims to plant and maintain 1,000 trees annually in various parts of LA.

Lee, who holds a master’s degree from California State University, Northridge (CSUN), commented, “Climate change in California has been a concern for me as I think about future generations.”

“The climate crisis clock indicates we only have six years left to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” Lee expressed. “I reflected on how I could contribute and realized that planting trees was the answer. If every K-pop fan worldwide planted just one tree, the collective impact would be immense.”

“K-pop has received tremendous love. It’s our turn to reciprocate. Artists give back through their performances, but it’s even more crucial to ensure a livable future for the young fans of K-pop,” he added. “Organizations like KYCC should be at the forefront.”

The overall budget for the LA Environmental Improvement Project is set at $1 million. Lee has committed to contributing up to $500,000 in matching funds.

These matching funds will be distributed quarterly by the company, aiming to raise a total of $1 million within the upcoming year. H-Mart has already generously donated $100,000.

“We are also in the process of establishing a website to facilitate smaller donations,” informed Steve S. Kang, Director of External Affairs of KYCC.

The press conference saw attendance from notable figures such as LA County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell of the 2nd District, L.A. City Councilmember Heather Hutt of the 10th District, and Consul General Youngwan Kim of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Los Angeles.

Supervisor Mitchell pointed out, “The 2nd District is warmer than other LA County regions that have more trees, underscoring the vital role of trees. I commend KYCC for spearheading this holistic initiative and urge residents to rally behind this cause.”

BY SUAH JANG    [jang.suah@koreadaily.com]