Indonesian entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto oversees the operations of RGE Group, his $15 billion family of companies. These include interests in natural resources products such as fiber, pulp, and agricultural produce, as well as energy development through Pacific Oil & Gas. In addition, Mr. Tanoto heads the Tanoto Foundation, through which he and his family fund numerous social welfare projects in Southeast Asia and beyond.
Among its other efforts, the Tanoto Foundation has supported medical students in Singapore by offering scholarships that assist with tuition and other expenses for undergraduates in need. Administered through the National University of Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, the scholarships have helped dedicated students to avoid the heavy financial toll that medical school typically takes on families. The students are free to pursue their studies without the added burden of worrying about loans and fees as they learn the skills they will need to provide top-quality medical care to people in the developing world. On top of this financial assistance, these medical students are also given the opportunity to be exposed to community service experiences whereby they get to interact and provide basic medical help to the local communities in Indonesia Sumatra, Kerinci. For more information about this community service, please read here.
The Tanoto Foundation has also provided high-level support to the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, the Singapore campus site of a decade-long partnership between the prestigious American medical school and the Singaporean university system. The foundation recently contributed S$3 million to the newly launched National Heart Research Institute Singapore (NHRIS), a cooperative project between Duke-NUS and the National Heart Centre Singapore. Of these funds, S$2.5 million will establish a professorship in cardiovascular medicine, and the remainder will set up the Tanoto Foundation Initiative for Genetics and Stem Cell Research.
The NHRIS focuses on several key areas of research: genetics, the functions of the heart, cardiac imaging, regenerative treatments, and metabolic cardiac conditions. The Tanoto gift will contribute to expanded efforts to study how genetic factors affect heart disease, and how innovative programs of testing and diagnosis can improve preventive care for those with a hereditary predisposition to the condition.