Roundtable Discussion 2014: Improving Services for Elderly

ZeShan Foundation, Hong Kong

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.

圓桌討論會:改善長者服務 [2014]




討論會邀得香港安老事務委員會主席及嶺南大學亞太老年學研究中心總監陳章明教授、李國賢基金會董事局成員李黃眉波女士、伸手助人協會總幹事陸寶珠女士作主講嘉賓。陳教授指出私人資金對開拓各項試點計劃十分重要,可使具創新性的項目得以被政府吸納及擴展。李女士及陸女士均分享在推廣地區老人服務方面的實踐經驗。 社會企業「鑽的」行政總裁梁淑儀女士則分享其以經營社會企業模式提供服務的經驗。






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Related Links

Family Philanthropy

ZeShan Foundation, Hong Kong

The ZeShan Philanthropy Forum Series is part of ZeShan’s mandate of promoting philanthropy and an extension and continuation of its “Family Philanthropy: Values and Strategy” Forum in 2009. The series, taking place periodically throughout the year, creates a unique platform for like-minded donors to exchange ideas, share experiences, stimulate thinking and network in a peer setting. Past events include:


  • January 18: Ms. Melissa Berman (President and CEO of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors)
  • September 2: Mr. Bernard Chan and Ms. Christine Fang – Consultation on Charity Law for Hong Kong
  • December 22: Recent Developments in Philanthropy in Mainland China


  • February 14: Dr. Peggy Dulany (Co-founder of Global Philanthropists Circle)
  • June 19: Meeting with American philanthropists
  • July 11: Dr. Zhuang Ailing (CEO of Shanghai Rende Foundation)


  • November 19: Dr. Melissa Berman (President & CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors) – The Theory of the Foundation Project


  • April 20: Ms. Samantha Gilbert (Vice President of Talent and Human Resources at the Ford Foundation)
  • July 15: Prof. Anthony J. Spires (Centre for Civil Society Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong)
  • September 25: Dr. Mary Ann Tsao (Chairman of the Tsao Foundation) – Philanthropy as Catalyst in Improving Elderly Services [ See more below]

Singaporean Perspectives on Elderly Care

Dr. Mary Ann Tsao, chair and founding director of Singapore’s Tsao Foundation, shared her family foundation’s pioneering work and insights on advancing elderly care at a ZeShan Philanthropy Forum Series luncheon on September 25, 2015.

The luncheon aimed to bring in overseas experience on elderly service innovation and partnership, and was chaired by Ms. Annie Chen, director of ZeShan Foundation. Participants included 26 family principals and executives of private foundations as well as ZeShan’s key NGO and academic partners in ageing initiatives, and is a prelude to ZeShan’s upcoming conference on public-private partnerships for ageing population in November 12-13, 2015.

Tsao Foundation
The Tsao Foundation, a Singapore-based but regionally-oriented operating non-profit family foundation, was founded by Dr. Tsao’s grandmother in 1993 to enhance the quality of life for the elderly. The foundation has been under the leadership of Dr. Tsao – a US-trained pediatrician born and raised in Hong Kong – who was until June 2007 also the foundation’s CEO.

The foundation has been at the forefront in developing innovative and duplicable community-based elderly care models, which have been demonstratively successful and adopted by the Singaporean government.

Its key initiatives include the Hua Mei Center for Successful Ageing (community-based care for ageing in place), Hua Mei Training Academy (capacity building in ageing care provision and self-care), and International Longevity Center (policy advocacy, research and promotion of interagency collaboration). The foundation’s latest initiative is Community for Successful Ageing (ComSA), a community-wide, systems approach demonstration project

Philanthropy as Catalyst
Dr. Tsao shared with the luncheon participants her foundation’s governance, core values (innovation, excellence, catalyst for constructive change), key principles, as well as shifting strategic focus in response to evolving social needs – which is reflected by changes in the foundation’s taglines, from “ageing with grace and dignity” to “for successful ageing” to “longevity is opportunity”.

She also shared the development process and challenges of the foundation’s projects, such as engaging and convincing policymakers, the importance of documentation, low literacy rates and prevalent use of dialects among older people, and how to truly understand the elderly’s feelings and motivations. She spoke of the importance of persistence and boldness in using philanthropy to push for mindset and systematic change. After her sharing, attendees raised questions on such issues as the strategic role of family foundations and engagement of private sector in a community-wide effort for social change.

ZeShan Philanthropy Forum Series
The ZeShan Philanthropy Forum Series is part of ZeShan’s mandate of promoting philanthropy and an extension and continuation of its Family Philanthropy: Values and Strategy Forum in 2009. The series, taking place periodically throughout the year, creates a unique platform for like-minded donors to exchange ideas, share experiences, stimulate thinking and network in a peer setting.

Constructive Discourse

In early days of ZeShan, our former Executive Chair Laura Chen spoke extensively on family and strategic philanthropy, generously sharing our experiences and collaborations with other donors and foundation professionals.  She was a frequent speaker and facilitator at both global and local philanthropy conferences, including:

• The Asia Pacific Family Office Conference in Hong Kong (October, 2008)
• The 9th Annual Global Philanthropy Forum in San Francisco (April, 2010)
• UBS Philanthropy Forum in Singapore (April, 2010)
• Creative Capitalism Forum in Hong Kong (May, 2010)
• 2010 Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development in Hong Kong (June, 2010)
• CUHK Family Business Speaker Series 2010 (July, 2010)
• Philanthropy Symposium in Singapore (September, 2010)
• The 10th Annual Global Philanthropy Forum in San Francisco (April, 2011)

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