The Heinecke Foundation

by Jocelyn Pollak

We all like to find ways to help others in our daily lives and Minor International and the Heinecke Foundation makes it easy for the people of Thailand to give back. Did you know that every time you stay at an Anantara hotel, or sip a coffee at Coffee Club or treat yourself to an ice cream at Dairy Queen you are helping Thai children get an education? Minor International is one of the largest companies in Thailand and the parent company of many familiar restaurant and hospitality hot spots all around the country. Founded by Mr William Heinecke 50 years ago, Minor has grown into a huge multinational corporation and with it, the Heinecke Foundation. 


The aim of the education arm of the Heinecke Foundation is to support underprivileged children with excellent academic performance. The scholarships are awarded from early education through university. On a grassroots level, different arms of Minor International’s businesses support their communities with more local efforts. For example, each Anantara Hotel supports individuals on a local level by supplying books, pencils and other school equipment in addition to organising local events with the goal of bettering the community as a whole. 

“Work hard, play hard, find your passion and have fun learning”

Since its inception 23 years ago, the Heinecke Foundation has given over 8,000 scholarships to children in need. The first scholarships were given to just 9 students while in 2018 a whopping 1,300 plus students made the cut. Clearly, the Heinecke Foundation is committed to the long term education and development of Thai citizens. On top of the scholarship programme, Minor supports work-skill development programmes in collaboration with vocational schools and gave students exposure to working in one of Minor’s businesses. Education is a great passion of the Heinecke family and their actions show and support it. 

Heinecke Hug

Students from approximately 646 schools and 86 universities were the recipients of the 2018 scholarships. Many students have received them for several years in a row. If they maintain a GPA of 3.0 and demonstrate financial need, they can continue to apply for and be awarded the scholarship. The foundation has no plans of slowing down either. They are hoping to support even more students in 2019.  Expat Life was invited to the 2018 ceremony where some 700 school children were personally awarded their scholarship by Mr and Mrs Heinecke and their son John. After watching a video detailing the scholarship and history of the programme, Mr Heinecke approached the podium to give an inspirational speech.

He wanted the children to understand the value of growth and progress and urged them to work hard. His key maxim was “Work hard, play hard, find your passion and have fun learning”. Following Mr Heinecke’s speech, his son John spoke to the audience in perfect Thai to offer more inspiration and support to the youngsters. He said that they must learn from their mistakes and how that’s impossible without taking risks and possibly failing from time to time, the children to “fail fast, fail forward and fail often” which is an almost unheard of concept in the Thai no-fail school system. After the speeches, the children in attendance awaited patiently for their names to be called to approach the family and receive their award for academic excellence. Scholarships are given in the amounts of 5,000-15,000B.

Heinecke Sit

While the success stories number in the thousands, there are a couple that stand out. First is Khun Vorramon Borisuth, a long time recipient of the Heinecke Foundation support. For 10 years Khun Vorramon kept good grades and personified the values of the foundation. Now, he currently works as a Product Coordinator at Bossini. Another success story sadly stems from great tragedy. Khun Palatip’s mother worked for Minor’s hotel in Khao Lak and was tragically lost in the tsunami. The Heinecke foundation stepped in and has supported his education since then. Last year he graduated from King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok and currently he works with SC Assets. So next time you’re thinking of where to grab a bite to eat, sit down for a coffee with friends or spend a few nights on vacation, know that Minor International and the Heinecke foundation have demonstrated a clear commitment to the wellbeing of Thailand and Thai people. After 23 years of scholarships, there is no sign of stopping for the Heinecke Foundation.

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