Cross-sector Task Force on Elderly Services 2014

ZeShan Foundation, Hong Kong

Subsequent to the roundtable discussion convened by ZeShan Foundation in April 2014, a cross-sector working group has been formed with a focus around Hong Kong elderly services. The group was comprised of three task forces to take lead on forum organization, policy and advocacy, and dementia, respectively, which collectively work toward addressing issues raised during said roundtable discussion. 

In the face of a rapidly ageing population in Hong Kong, the working group believes that an effective public-private partnership is required to mobilize the community and the government to work in concert towards the needs of this shifting demographic. Only in coupling policy change with innovative solutions can Hong Kong be made an exemplar of quality elderly services for the region. 

In line with the group’s goal of encouraging cross-sector collaboration, the twenty members themselves are representatives of different sectors, such as grant-making foundations, academia and service providers, so as to join forces and work in synergy towards the common goal of improving elderly services.

Task Force 1: Conference Organization

The first task force organized a 2-day forum with a focus on building sustainable public-private partnership in elderly services, which was held in Hong Kong in mid-November 2015 just ahead of Hong Kong’s Senior Citizens’ Day. The goal behind this forum was to bring together private foundations, policy-makers, academics and service providers in a platform to develop private-public partnerships, as well as to demonstrate the importance of creating sustainable partnerships detailed through case studies.

Task Force 2: Policy & Advocacy

Convenor: Mr Patrick Cheung, Managing Director, The Jade Club

The second task force reviews elderly-related policies and advocates for greater cross-sector collaboration. In meetings convened with Miss Annie Tam, JP, Permanent Secretary for Labour and Welfare, and Dr. C. K. Law, Principal Investigator of the Consultant Team for the Elderly Commission’s Working Group on Elderly Services Program Plan (ESPP), members of this task force introduced the work and future plans of their respective organizations, discussed policy developments, and expressed views on the role and involvement of private foundations in the development of elderly services in Hong Kong.

Task Force 3: Dementia and Caregiver Support

Convenor: Ms Florence Ho, General Manager of the Jockey Club Centre for Positive Ageing & Jockey Club CADENZA Hub

The third task force looks specifically at dementia, diving into the policy and institutional support given to caregivers of dementia patients in Hong Kong. There are some 18,000 new cases of dementia every year in Hong Kong, and with the city’s ageing population, this neurological condition is expected to affect some 280,000, or 4% of the local population, by 2036.

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.

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