Philanthropy in its essence, is the desire to promote and assist in the welfare of others or help society as a whole. It is an effort an individual or organization undertakes based on altruistic desires to improve human welfare. Due to what is happening at present, I have been pro-actively finding ways on how one can help and make a difference these days.
I reached out to Tina Chan, Head of Philanthropy for John Swire & Sons, for advice and she shared multiple ways one can make real impact. She also revealed how an organization like Swire Group, is assisting Hong Kong communities rise up from a global pandemic.
Jane Dee (JD): Hi Tina, thanks for taking the time. It has been a while since we last caught up. What have you been up to?
Tina Chan (TC): Hi Jane, yes, it’s been ages. I’ve been quite busy these days with The Swire Group Charitable Trust or “Swire Trust” since we launched a new funding initiative called TrustTomorrow. This is part of our ongoing pledge to give back to the city that has helped us thrive over 150 years.
JD: Oh wow… Swire Group is 150 years old?
TC: Yes. Swire began operating in Hong Kong 150 years ago and our group has been steadfast in its commitment to the city.
JD: I love the name TrustTomorrow. It gives me a feeling of genuine hope for Hong Kong. So, tell me, what are TrustTomorrow’s current commitments and projects?
TC: We are committed to supporting those vulnerable groups in society where help is most needed. In recent months, the global COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted the lives of every single person in Hong Kong. For some in our community, daily life has been a real struggle. As a result, TrustTomorrow’s immediate focus has been on providing practical and timely assistance to those most affected by the pandemic, teaming up with many of our non-profit partners and other change-makers in the social sector.
Example - During the first half of 2020, when we witnessed the early onset of the pandemic, the Swire Trust provided funding amounting to HK$15 million to support projects that benefitted over 122,000 people through more than 400 different organisations. The latest TrustTomorrow initiatives, which was rolled out in late September, will fund another round of pandemic relief, pledging HK$14 million to support programmes that will benefit over 100,000 Hong Kong people through 85 organisations.
JD: That is great! Which programmes are you currently focusing on?
TC: We’re focused on these right now:
Food and Hygiene: Programmes that aim to supply the underprivileged with basic and immediate needs, such as food support, and antiviral coating spray for special schools and the tenants of subdivided residential units.
Family Wellbeing: Programmes that address the need for social connection as a result of prolonged social distancing, by providing online leisure activities for children and their families supported by partner NGOs.
Building Social Capital: Programmes that enhance NGOs’ abilities to connect people and provide opportunities, by increasing their digital capacity.
JD: Indeed important and relevant these days… What about the long-term vision of TrustTomorrow?
TC: As we mark Swire’s 150th anniversary in Hong Kong in 2020, we will be adding more new programmes and initiatives to the TrustTomorrow portfolio that reflect our focus on Education, Marine Conservation and the Arts. Our hope is that TrustTomorrow will not only support Hong Kong during the present challenging times, but also bring lasting benefits and opportunities so our children may enjoy a better tomorrow.
JD: Thank you for sharing this with me, I am glad to know that Hong Kong will be benefitting so much from your initiatives and I look forward to hearing more about Swire’s programmes in the coming months.
TC: You are more than welcome, Jane. Come join me in our next food drive this month!
JD: Yes, I will! See you then!
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