Ralph Allen, a native Eastsider, is an architect. His work has taken him around the world and, most recently, to the city of Shanghai, China, where he was the lead architect building the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. “Project Hope was involved to get the project moving and our company was hired eight years ago to design and oversee the building of the Medical Center. The job was finished and dedicated in June of 1998.”
Ralph Allen [L] and Past District Governor Stan Dickison.
The Shanghai Children’s Medical Center is a pediatric teaching facility. The Chinese had raised funds to purchase $40 million in medical equipment and they needed a place to put it. Hence, the building of the Medical Center. Showing pictures with a PowerPoint presentation, Allen said he was attracted to the art work that began showing up on hospital walls, especially in the beautiful atrium. “I was taken aback by the quality of the work, and when I found out the age of the artists, I was astonished!”
Allen reasoned that the pictures would pull an interest at an auction to help raise funds for the Medical Center and Project Hope. So, he was able to purchase 35 pictures, many of which he showed to his audience. He was right. The age of the artists, coupled with the quality of the work was, indeed, astonishing. Bright, vivid colors, wrapped into all kinds of themes made this display nothing short of spectacular.
Allen went on: “I learned that on June 1 of every year, the Chinese set aside that day as the Day of the Children. All over the country, competition is held for young would-be artists. The Medical Center had over 1,000 different pictures by youngsters in the area near Shanghai.” So, at this time, November 17 has been set aside as a charity art sale by China’s Children, to benefit Project Hope and the Shanghai Center. At this writing, the auction will take place in the Chinese Room at the Smith Tower, but Allen indicated that the venue may change because of the heightened interest in the project.
In response to a question about Project Hope, Allen confirmed this was the same Project Hope that began as a single hospital ship that traveled around the world, helping where needed. “That was 45 years ago. Project Hope is now a land-based organization, dealing mostly in health education as a multi-national charitable organization — one of the greatest of all time.”
A most interesting endeavor, which should result in a substantial amount of funds for the Center and for Project Hope. For Mr. Allen’s efforts, the BBRC has donated 600 pounds of food in his name to Rotary First Harvest. Thanks to Jenny Andrews for her introduction.