At a press conference at 10 a.m. on Monday morning, the family of Yingying Zhang announced the creation of Yingying’s Fund, an endowment to honor the Illinois scholar. The Zhang family established the endowment to assist international students in crisis and their families.
Chancellor Robert Jones opened the conference by thanking the family for thinking of others, even in one of the most difficult times in their life. Remarks were also given by Danita Brown Young, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and Reitumetse Mabokela, Vice Provost for International Affairs and Global Strategies.
Yingying’s brother, Zhengyang Zhang, gave remarks prepared by Xiaolin Huo, Yingying’s fiancé.
“Yingying was always willing to help others when they were in need,” he said. “We want to act in that spirit. On the other hand, we want to do something that can give back to this campus community and the people who have helped us. We hope Yingying’s spirit and influence will live on.”
Yingying’s father, Ronggao Zhang, also spoke about their love for Yingying and the inspiration for the fund to help other families in need.
“It is our hope that this fund will offer some support and help when they are dealing with an accidental and urgent situation. This is why we made the donation to establish this fund…We believe this is Yingying’s wish, and this is the best way to celebrate and honor her life.”
Founded with the support of the Zhang family, this fund will uniquely serve international students across campus and their families during times of hardship, when they need it most. The fund shall provide support for international University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students who experience emergencies or other situations where they are in urgent need of access to funds to address the urgent situation, and ideally continue their education.
The Zhang family has provided the $30,000 lead gift for the endowment. Since it was established, other friends of the university and the Zhang family have increased the total to more than $57,000. An online donation platform has been created for individuals or families who wish to contribute. Gifts can be made at https://go.illinois.edu/YingyingFund.