To better understand the growing needs brought about by Hong Kong’s ageing population, ZeShan Foundation held a roundtable discussion on April 4, 2014, which was attended by philanthropists and representatives of private foundations, service organizations, research institutions and social enterprises. Ms. Annie Chen, a second generation member of the Thomas Chen family and member of ZeShan Foundation’s Grants Committee, hosted the event.
Hong Kong is experiencing a rapidly ageing population. In 2012, 14% (1.02 million people) of the population was aged 65 or older; by 2041, that number will shoot up to 30% (2.56 million people) according to a projection by the government. Comprehensive services for the elderly rank high on the list of concerns for both the community and the government of Hong Kong.
The featured speaker of the event, Prof Alfred Chan, Chair of the Elderly Commission and Director of the Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies at Lingnan University began by emphasizing how support from private foundations for pilot projects can be instrumental for developing innovative service models and formulating enlightened policy agenda through effective advocacy. Prof. CHAN suggested forging a strong public-private partnership among government entities, private and corporate funders, service providers, and concerned groups in order to effectively leverage resources and create synergy between these different stakeholders.
Among the participants, Mrs. Mabel Lee, Board member of Simon K.Y. Lee Foundation, and Ms. Bella Luk, Executive Director of Helping Hand, shared their experience in developing and scaling innovative projects to enhance elderly services in selected communities. Ms. Doris Leung, Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Cab, an award-winning social enterprise, shared her company’s lessons in creating impact through social innovation.
Moderated by Mr. Timothy Ma, Executive Director of Project Flame at the City University of Hong Kong, participants examined catalytic roles the philanthropic sector could play in creating impact in the development of elderly services. Emerging from the roundtable discussion, the general consensus was that there are great opportunities for collaboration across sectors in the field of elderly services.
Building on the momentum of the roundtable discussion, an ad-hoc working group was formed to follow-up on ideas brought up during this event and develop suggestions into actionable efforts.