Many NGOs and social enterprises have been struggling with their operations as a result of the various restrictions put in place amid the COVID-19 outbreak. During this time, ZeShan Foundation has utilized this opportunity to reflect on approaches taken toward funding the creative sectors. This unrestricted grant awarded to Dialogue in the Dark Foundation (“DIDF”) not only provides the organization with about one years’ financial support at a time of capacity development, but also embodies ZeShan’s efforts in maintaining diversity in the civil society landscape and funding ecosystem, as well as the long-term vision to strengthen the philanthropic ecosystem in order to enable organizations and stakeholders to make greater impacts in our society. DIDF has spent more than 10 years developing a successful model that combines employment of visually impaired people with talent development. Through their efforts, social inclusiveness has been enhanced in both the NGO and business sectors, and at the same time, underprivileged groups have been empowered on the social platform. It is strategic to keep this model up and running in the social landscape to foster social inclusion, equity, and diversity. Additionally, ZeShan’s support is essential for DIDF to strengthen its capacity and develop new online delivery platforms, a wider monthly donor base, and more diversified programs. This growth will enable DIDF to empower currently unreached groups, scale up their practices, and sustain its impact in the long run.
In Hong Kong, there currently is no flexible funding scheme to support the general operation and capacity building of social enterprises, many of which are not subvented and are often under-resources in both normal and unprecedented times. ZeShan hopes that this grant will set an example in the philanthropic landscape and catalyse similar efforts by other parties. For more details on our rationale, please visit “Our Approach”.
As of February 2021, DIDF has not only managed to break even once again, but has also reached new target groups through recently developed online workshops.