Saturday, January 29, 2005

Bill Gates' Connections with United Way and Community Foundation

It's interesting to find out that Bill Gates, besides establishing and running his own Foundation, also has ties with United Way campaigns and with the community foundation movement. You can learn more about his past encounters with philanthropy and his thought towards it from his speech delivered in a ceremony organized by the Community Foundation of Silicon Valley - one of the fastest growing community foundations in the States - on October 1, 2004.
I thought I'd share with you this afternoon a little bit of the history of my involvement with philanthropy and some of the lessons about how I think more philanthropy at the corporate level and the personal level is both something that we should strive for and something that is needed.

I grew up in a family that was very involved in the community. My mother and father both had a chance to head the local United Way campaign, and I remember my mom coming and talking about some of the tough decisions that she faced when she ran the allocation committee, looking at the different charities, trying to understand what the needs in the community were, who was spending the money wisely, what needs would not be met and it was amazing to me the range of people, you could say entrepreneurial people who had created nonprofits to meet those needs and how they were using very limited resources to do neat things...

Friday, January 28, 2005

Charities that "Waste Your Donation"

League table of charities?? Seems like an interesting idea...

The Daily Mirror has published a league table of charities including Cancer Research UK, Oxfam and the NSPCC by Searchline Publications, warning the public not to donate to charities that "waste your donation" on administration:

An "Information Sheet" for each of over 100 well-known UK charities which analyses and details the Income & Expenditure Account, and Balance Sheet for up to the last 5 years and calculates 10 ratios and rates. These ratios and rates, together with figures, are put into "League Tables" a total of 15 which are also included. These League Tables are:

- COST OF FUNDRAISING: How much each charity spends for each £1 you donate, on fundraising.

- COST OF ADMINISTRATION: How much each charity spends for each £1 you donate, on administration.

- TOTAL COST OF FUNDRAISING & ADMINISTRATION: Some charities spend a greater proportion on fundraising than administration so, in addition, we total the two figures in the £1 together. Some charities spend getting on for half of what is donated on fundraising and administration combined.

- RETURN ON RESERVES & RESOURCES: How much income as a percentage of total reserves and resources. The greater the percentage, the more efficient the charity at raising funds.

- RESERVES & RESOURCES / ASSETS: What percentage of assets comprise reserves and resources. The higher the percentage, the less of your donation is being spent.

- INCREASE IN TOTAL COST: The percentage increase in costs of fundraising and administration between the latest year and the year before. The higher the percentage the greater the proportion of income is going on these costs.

- INCOME GROWTH: The percentage increase in income between the latest year and the year before. The higher the percentage the greater the ability of the charity to generate more funds.

- RESERVES & RESOURCES GROWTH: The higher the percentage the greater the proportion of income is being saved, not spent.

- AVERAGE REMUNERATION PER EMPLOYEE: The average amount it costs to employ a worker. The higher the figure, the greater the pay.

- TOTAL INCOME PER EMPLOYEE: How much income, on average, the charity generates for each employee. The higher the figure, the greater the average income.

HEALTH WARNING: League tables are financial analysis only. They tell you where each charity is positioned financially in terms of size, efficiency and growth but do not explain why, that's for the charities.

Voluntary sector briefing from Guardian

I've recently subscribed the weekly voluntary sector briefing from Society Guardian (member of Guardian Newspaper Group) and the following is the news items of the week. The weekly briefing also includes information on voluntary sector events, other happenings, and nonprofit job openings, etc. It would be great if a local press, say Mingpao, can compile similar information for local nonprofit practitioners...


Oxfam will end its Asian tsunami appeal today because the public has already helped the charity raise the GBP70m it needs to help the victims of last month's disaster:,14178,1400697,00.html

.... Special focus: the tsunami, one month on. We asked survivors, relatives and volunteers from 12 countries how they spent the day:,14178,1399667,00.html

.... As the Red Cross worker Ian Woolverton prepares to leave the tsunami-devastated Indonesian region of Aceh, truckloads of fresh water are finally getting through:,14178,1399838,00.html

.... The world's richest countries need to make a "quantum leap forward" in helping Africa in 2005, Tony Blair said as he announced that Britain would spend GBP45m on mosquito nets to prevent malaria:,14178,1400632,00.html

.... Small businesses are to be offered cash incentives to introduce a payroll-giving scheme enabling staff to make regular donations to charity, the government has announced:,8150,1398990,00.html

.... For more on fundraising and charity finance, visit our special report:,8145,431062,00.html

.... The UN has backed a call from Oxfam to develop an accreditation system for aid agencies working in the tsunami disaster region:,14178,1399799,00.html


A reference to 義務工作發展局 from today's Mingpao...


【明 報專訊】南亞地震及海嘯災難過後,現急需義工為災民重建家園。聯合國義工計劃組織(UNV,United Nations Volunteers)現正招募具傳媒資訊、災難重建管理、抗災技術建築、漁業、熱帶或海岸地區環境知識、土木工程、農業技術、物流或運輸等專業知識及經 驗的義工,到南亞海嘯受災地區提供6至12個月的專業支援,協助重建工作。

- 25歲或以上
- 持大學學位及能操流利英語
- 具處理災難應變經驗
- 曾於南亞地區工作及略懂當地語言
- 可短期內到任


或致電 2865 2520 義務工作發展局義工培訓及拓展中心查詢

Thursday, January 27, 2005


From the website of 聯陣 found a series of articles on the featured topic: "社會福利與扶貧"...

Copied below is the editorial introduction on the featured topic, and an extract from one of the articles which suggests - broadly speaking - there are four kinds of NGOs in Hong Kong. But is this typology a meaningful one?


今期「社會福利與扶貧專題」共收錄九篇文章,大致分兩類,首六篇討論福利主義,探討香港是否有福利主義?為甚麼有人避談福利主義?福利主義的局限,及它與社 會運動的關係。餘三篇討論扶貧,正好回應施政報告的扶貧政策。扶貧是甚麼?它與社會福利的分別?為何「非政府組織」(NGO) 喜歡扶貧?扶貧是陷阱嗎?



a) 一類是受政府資助的社會服務團體。在拉美,法西斯暴力橫行,「非政府組織」採取低調,協助一部份窮人解困,末嘗不是一件有意義的事;反觀香港,既無暴力威脅,社會服務的「非政府組織」卻絕少介入社會抗爭。近年,社會服務的「非政府組織」推動對第三條路、公民社會、社區共享,以至合作社、社區經濟的討論,當 中不乏想從政府手上搶佔更多服務,接取更大份額津貼之嫌。換一個角度看,未嘗不可視為部份社會服務界精英,在新自由主義緊縮政策下,欲借民眾之名來維護 「專業」地盤的一種企圖。歷來,香港社會福利界的「非政府組織」都是政府的忠實伙伴,是「半政府組織」。

b) 第二類是直接受「國際捐助者」資助,或作為國際組織本地分支的「非政府組織」。活動範圍由人權、扶貧、勞工,至環保也有。它們並不排斥政治議題,但較易出 現以「國際捐助者」角度來篩選本地議題的毛病,因此常孤立在本地議題之外。尤其一些NGO本身也是基金的提供者,因此它們的立場與趣味會對本地其它「非政府組織」(向前者申請資助)造成一定影嚮(甚至負面影嚮)。

c) 第三類是各種民間組織,有時稱為自助互助團體,範圍由富豪俱樂部至綜援小組也包括在內。當中既包括有政治取向的、社會行動取向的,也有非政治化、講求個人趣味或宗教的。有意見認為自助互助團體茁壯,代表了公民社會的成熟程度,有些學者因此倡議訂立量度公民社會的標準。但也有意見認為,自助互助團體蓬勃,並 不表示社會就存在公平和公義,將大財團俱樂部與窮人互助小組並排未免令人感到諷刺。

d) 第四類是基層團體,由於第三類民間組織內容太分歧,權益立場互相衝突,因此有分析將位於社會基層或邊緣的社群,如:勞工團體、失業者團體、綜援團體、新移民團體、部份婦女團體、部份宗教團體分出來,另成一個類別。


From today's Mingpao...





在專訪中,他透露了孕育這個孩子的經過。「有一天晚上我整夜輾轉反側,第二天在與家人一起吃飯時,我就對他們說,從這天開始我增添一個孩子。兒子聽了都嚇得 一片沉默,以為爸爸瘋了。其實我是想通了,假如我有第三個孩子,他都做得不錯的話,我不是也要給他將來的事業找基礎,如果我就視這個基金是我的第三個孩 子,我也給他資產,讓他可以發展更廣闊,令更多人得益。我希望我們中華民族13億人都能想得通這個道理,中國人對財產的傳統思維是世代相傳,父傳子,子傳孫,世世代代這樣下去。但假如我們全想通這個道理,是中國人一個大的轉變,大家都可以這麼做,民族會有更多幸福快樂。」





面對內地一些慈善基金的款項也會落入貪官手裏,他會如何管理基金會的款項呢﹖「我很重視管理,我們現在做的消除白內障手術、為殘疾人安裝義肢或20家在中國 大陸免費為晚期腫瘤病人服務的寧養事業所有病人資料,均以電腦記錄,我隨時都能拿起電話打到病人的家中核實情,有嚴謹的監管流程,在公益項目中挪用專款 的行為令人齒冷,犯法的人更應予以重罰。」






One Month After (Part II)

South Asia Grieves One Month After Tsunami

Amid the grieving, there was growing impatience with the sluggish progress of recovery. And leading British charity Oxfam said Wednesday that too many aid organizations without adequate skills are complicating the work.

Oxfam, in a new report on tsunami relief efforts, gave examples of how inexperienced aid organizations were hampering relief efforts.

In Sri Lanka, Oxfam said, some new houses were built too close together, leading to potential sanitation problems.

The aid group also said governments have contributed only half the $977 million emergency aid requested by the United Nations (news - web sites) even though they pledged $912 million.

All told, governments and international bodies have pledged about $4 billion for tsunami aid and reconstruction.

One Month After

From Yahoo! News
2 hours, 18 minutes ago (extracts only)

South Asia Grieves One Month After Tsunami
By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer

In Indonesia, where at least 96,000 died, there were no government or religious events to mark the day. Instead, officials said a proper remembrance was to send children back to school for the first official day of class since the tragedy.

Many students in ravaged Aceh province, however, returned to find their schools filled with mud and debris, with books, computers and other materials strewn everywhere. And many of their friends and teachers were gone forever.

Alqausar, a 6-year-old boy with neatly parted hair and a Power Rangers bag, arrived at school with his mother and wondered about his best friend, Andi. After about two hours of glancing repeatedly at the school gate, it hit him.

"I don't think he's coming," he whispered.

Only six of his class of 43 showed up. Out of the 600 enrolled at SD Kartika primary school, just 260 returned Wednesday. The rest are presumed dead.

At another school, English teacher Roslina Ramli — who lost four children to the tsunami — was one of 25 teachers who came to school. Before the tsunami the faculty was 75 strong.

"I have to put on a brave face," said Roslina. "Teachers are supposed to give the students strength and guidance but it will be hard."

In one classroom, workers doing a last-minute clean up found a body Wednesday while shoveling out thick mud.

The government estimates that 700 to 1,100 schools in the province were destroyed and 1,750 primary school teachers were dead or missing. Nearly 180,000 students have no schools to go to, Welfare Minister Alwi Shihab said.

One month on, the full death toll from the massive earthquake and the tsunami it spawned is still unknown — and probably never will be. Workers still discover bodies daily, and many more victims were washed out to sea.

Differing government tallies in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, the two hardest hit countries, have put the total number of dead in 11 countries between 144,000 and 178,000. As many as 147,000 people are missing — many of them presumed dead — raising the possibility that more than 300,000 died...

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Produce Green Foundation 綠田園基金



日期: 2005年2月26日(星期六)
時間: 第一節(上午10:00至下午12:30) 或 第二節(下午2:00至4:30)可任選一節
適合: 學校、社團、機構負責人

活動一:綠色美食嘉年華 2005年4月2日(六) 或4月9日(六)
活動二:綠色美食在社區展覽 2005年3月至5月期間
活動三:食物里程講座 2005年3月至5月期間
活動四:有機種植課 (可選擇參與與否) 2005年3月至5月期間

日期: 2005年3月13日(星期日)
路線: 由粉嶺綠田園基金有機農場出發,經鶴藪及流水響水塘,入沙螺洞,再落鳳園。全長8公里,約需4-5小時走畢全程。
適合: 任何人士、一家大小及學生均可
時間: 約上午9時至下午5時



Friday, January 21, 2005





(一) 抗議機構專權文化,反對在毫無諮詢下肆意改組服務,漠視員工及服務受眾的意見,並以不公義程序解僱現行員工。

(二) 組織及發動抗議行動


Thursday, January 20, 2005


Sadly my mother-in-law has developed Alzheimer's Disease and we need to take extra care of her since the past year. We hope to try out the services offered by the day activity centre of the Hong Kong Alzheimer's Disease Association (香港老年痴呆症協會), but the problem is that my mother-in-law simply refuses to go there. We'll try again tomorrow and see what's her reaction. Unfortunately I'm not available to help...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

11th Researching the Voluntary Sector Conference

11th Researching the Voluntary Sector Conference
University of Warwick
31st August and 1st September 2005

Last chance to submit your proposals: Friday 4th March.
The NCVO/VSSN Researching the Voluntary Sector Conference is a unique meeting place for both researchers and users of research to discuss current research, its implications and the need for further research in the voluntary and community sector.

Call for papers
The 11th conference will be held at the University of Warwick on 31st August and 1st September 2005 and we are now inviting paper and session proposals. We invite proposals on all areas of relevance to the voluntary sector, but would particularly welcome proposals on topics of current policy interest.

Topics might include:
  • Philanthropy & Giving, including: donor motivation; measurement issues; funding issues; international comparison.
  • VCS/State Relations, including: independence; the role of the VCS in public service delivery; government funding of the VCS; new localism and its implications; compacts.
  • VCS Infrastructure & management, including: contracting and procurement; performance and outcome measurement; workforce and skills; VCOs use of ICT; ChangeUp & capacity building; volunteer management.
  • Civil renewal & active citizenship, including: the role of faith and BME groups in building communities; role of VCOs in building participation; non-governmental public action.
  • Public Policy, including: accountability and transparency; gender issues; charity law reform

How to submit your proposal
* Abstracts of 400-600 words, for single papers or whole sessions should be sent to us at no later than Friday 4th March 2005.
* Authors will be notified of acceptance of their submissions by Friday 8th April 2005.
* Successful authors will need to submit papers of between 2000 and 2500 words (where relevant) by Friday 24th June 2005.

New researchers' session

Like last year, we will be running a special session for "new" researchers in conjunction with our colleagues at the Institute for Volunteering Research (IVR). The session is aimed at those who are relatively new to the field of voluntary sector research and is an opportunity to meet, discuss research and share ideas. If you would like to deliver a short presentation at this session either on a research topic, a methodological approach, or your experiences of carrying out research, please send a 200-400 word abstract to Angela Ellis at IVR ( by Friday 27th May 2005. You can attend the session either as part of the main conference, or you can come along to just this session free of charge.

Further information
If you have any questions, or would like to know more about the conference, please email us at

An Appeal from Rehab Power

Dear Friends,

I am writing to seek your kind support to our 'Sharing 28' - a event aiming at sharing with the public the positive stories of the persons with disabilities in Hong Kong.

Rehab Power was set up in 1995 by 9 young professional with physical disability who have dedicated years to the promotion of welfare for disabled persons in the Hong Kong Community. Our slogan is "To empower the disabled to develop" and our mission is "To support people with a disability to access training and open employment opportunities". We have established the fist Career Development Centre for People with Disabilities in Shaukiwan in 1997. In the last 7 difficult years, we have trained around 100 people with disabilities (physical disability, mental illness,etc.) each year and around 70% of them are finally open employed and make contribution to the community. Indeed, most of them are with low education background (Form 1 to Form 5) and aged over 40, but they refuse to live under Comprehensive Assistance and after our training, they work hard to earn their own livings (with a monthly salary between $3,000 to $10,000).

In order to share with the public the hardship/efforts/achievement of these outstanding people with disabilities, we will run a great project - 'Sharing 28' from 14:00 p.m. of 22-01-2005 to 18:00 p.m. of 23-01-2005. I should be grateful if you could help to promote this meaningful event by sending the attached self-explanatory Sharing 28 Promotional Letter to your friends and colleagues through e-mail so that they and their friends/relatives could join this meaningful event which is also full of fun and free of entrance fee. Please also request them to widely distribute this Promotional Letter so that more people can come to share with the outstanding persons with disabilities - it's inspiring.

Thank you for your kind support! Please come with your family this Weekend/Sunday to join this great event.

Leo C.W. Lam
President of Rehab Power

Saturday, January 15, 2005

HFH Two-Year Plan to Rebuild Homes for Tsunami Survivors

Can Hong Kong raise a small portion of the US$25 million of the HFH project? HFH-HK now targets HK$10 million...
I am pleased to support Habitat For Humanity in raising funds to rebuild homes for the survivors of Asian Tsunami Disaster.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, non-denominational Christian housing organisation seeking to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 175,000 houses, providing shelter for nearly 900,000 people worldwide. Now at work in 100 countries, Habitat for Humanity is building a house every 26 minutes. By 2005, Habitat houses will be sheltering 1 million people.

As many as five million people are displaced and in need of basic services as a result of the tsunami-earthquake catastrophe that struck in Southeast Asia December 26th, 2004. Habitat for Humanity will work with victims of the tsunami in India, Sri Lanka , Indonesia and Thailand. There is an urgent need at this time is to move as many families out of relief camps (media reports of overcrowding, civil unrest, gang rapes and child trafficking in these camps are very well known by now).

Based on assessment by staff on the ground, the immediate priority is to help families move out of the overcrowded, diseased and crime-infested camps and other temporary shelters and into transitional housing. Habitat for Humanity has responded to this urgent need is to help 25,000 families, moving more then 100,000 people out of the refugee camps to transitional housing.

Over time, Habitat for Humanity will begin working with families in transitional housing to build more permanent structures with additional rooms through Habitat "Save & Build" programme which will empower homeowners with dignity and skills.

Habitat for Humanity estimates it will cost approximately US$25 million to provide the 25,000 transitional houses over 2 years. To date, donations submitted through the HFHI website total US$1.4 million and donors within the Tsunami hit countries have pledged about US$1.9 million.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Mozilla「火狐」 Firefox



商業周刊指出,開放原始碼瀏覽器「火狐」 Firefox 市佔率愈來愈高,將挑戰微軟的IE。

報道引述WebSideStory Inc.報告指出,「火狐」是由非營利團體Mozilla推出,可以免費下載,「火狐」過去六個月的市場佔有率攀升至4.6%,預料可望達到 10% 目標。

反觀,微軟Internet Explorer在同一時期的市佔有率則跌至91%,創下三年來最低水準。


See earlier post: Firefox「還網於民」快閃行動

Beatles' Strawberry Field and the Salvation Army

Find this news item from another blog -

Never thought that the "deinstitutionalization movement" (and the preference of foster care service over institution-based services) would somehow relate to the Beatles' song.

In Hong Kong, children's homes like St. Christopher's Home has long turned into private housing properties (鹿茵山莊) and made lots of $$$ (by Cheung Kong and the Anglican Church??)... So don't think the present day St. Christopher's Home is really a physical building/home; nowadays its main service model is called Small Group Homes which are scattered in various public housing estates.

Hope the UK Salvation Army would decide to keep Strawberry Field and use it for some meaningful purposes instead of turning it into a redevelopment project...

Residential Child Care Services in Hong Kong

Service Description
Residential child care services are provided for children and young persons under the age of 21 who cannot be adequately cared for by their families because of various reasons such as behaviour, emotional or relationship problems, or family crises arising from illness, death and desertion.

Types of Services
Non-institutional Care includes:
  • Foster care -- for children under 18 years of age
  • Emergency foster care - for children under 18 years of age
  • Small group homes -- for children from 4 to 18 years of age
Institutional Care includes:
  • Residential creches -- for babies under 2 years of age
  • Residential nurseries -- for children aged from 2 to under 6
  • Children's reception centres -- for children aged under 18 years of age
  • Children's homes -- for children or young persons between 6 and under 21 years of age
  • Boys'/girls' homes -- for children or young persons between 7 and under 21 years of age with behavioural or emotional problems. Schools for Social Development are run within some of these homes
  • Boys'/girls' hostels -- for young persons between 14 and under 21 years of age who are studying or working

本土經濟 - 土生良品

A friend's recommendation -
" 聽說他們的有機果醬及有機柑桔都非常得,不妨一試。 "


土生良品指的是本地有機 農民、手作小戶、個人設計、社區組織或者非牟利團體的牟利製作,項目無所不包,最健康的有機麵包、蛋糕、糙米、米粉、蔬菜、黑醋豆等等吃的,和穿的、用的,新的、舊的衣服布袋器皿林林總總......總之是你在超級市場絕對見不到的土生良品﹗由於我們首間土生良品店在油麻地區架設社區經濟網絡,油麻地的街坊在本店購物,將會獲得特別優惠﹗


重新掌握自己的生活,就是衣、食、住、行,不靠超人﹗我們踏實地生活、我們老實地經營,不搞一蚊一個西瓜,因為這樣祇會害了種西瓜的人、苦了賣西瓜的小販; 我們不搞此地市民不聽話,此地政府不俾面,我地就遷冊、我地就調走資金這些忘本的要脅,土生良品,自有香港人讚賞,生於斯,長於斯,活在當中,樂在其中。 或者今天我們不可以一次過重新掌握生活的資源,然而從穿衣、飲食等等生活細節著手,我們仍可以創造一個新的生活空間。

創造一個生活空間, 需要一點時間,需要集結共識,土生良品2005年1月試業,希望在新的一年,一面小本經營,自給自足,一面集結共識,廣結本土社區生產者製作的土生良品, 為期一個月,然後總結經驗,落實將來在每一個社區架設具有活力的社區經濟網絡,從而建立一個廣闊的本地經濟網絡,讓更多市民一起營造生活。



Thursday, January 13, 2005




New Issue of "Democracy & Society"

Georgetown University's Center for Democracy and the Third Sector (CDATS) announces its new issue of "Democracy & Society," a venue for the exchange of ideas about crucial issues relating to democracy and the third sector.

The new issue focuses on the commercialization of political life and the transformation of representation, featuring articles and excerpts by Jane Mansbridge (Harvard), Lizabeth Cohen (Harvard), Ronald Rogowski (UCLA), Dario Castiglione (CDATS Visiting Fellow), Mark Warren (Georgetown), and others.

Please download the PDF here.

Habitat for Humanity - Tsunami Response

Habitat for Humanity's Tsunami Response

Habitat for Humanity has announced a two-year plan to rebuild homes for up to 25,000 families in a first phase reconstruction efforts in the tsunami-affected countries of India, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

The 2-year plan will require a commitment of US$25 million over the next two years. Your donations are urgently needed. Habitat for Humanity Singapore would like to seek your support in helping the tsunami victims move out of the overcrowded, diseased and crime-infested camps and other temporary shelters into transitional housing.

What you can do for reconstruction work:

1. Make a cheque donation to "Habitat for Humanity Singapore" to support the 2-year reconstruction efforts. Please indicate 'Tsunami Reconstruction Fund' at the back of the cheque.

All cheques can be sent to:
Habitat for Humanity Singapore
12 Prince Edward Road
#04-12 Podium B
Bestway Building
Singapore 079212

2. We will be sending out more updates in future emails on volunteering opportunities in the Tsunami affected areas. If you are not currently in our database and would like to receive the updates, please sign up at

For enquiries, please call Tel: 6224 1882

Dear Terence Yuen

Phuket Tsunami - Living to Tell the Tale (by Lau Kai Ming)

It went as fast as it came, and it hit as silent and quick as a spider. Moments ago, I had scrambled to the second storey of the beach-front villa, dragging along my belongings in one hand and my sister in the other, with my parents and my other sister following behind. We had narrowly escaped the rapidly rising water level that pummeled through everything in its way that wasn’t as strong as it was. As the murky water receded, it revealed upturned soil, uprooted plants and parts of bridges, huts and even a suit case. The serene and tranquil hotel resort had been transformed into an un-kept abandoned construction site. I didn’t dare imagine the level of destruction on the rest of Phuket.

When we had safely landed in Changi Airport on the same evening, it hit me - I was there and I survived to tell the tale of fearsome tsunami that struck half a dozen countries in the Bay of Bengal. Thousands and thousands of others didn’t. Millions more have lost sons, daughters, cousins, and best friends. Entire villages reduced to rubble, and homes swept away. People are left without fresh water to drink, and in need of shelter to sleep, and to live in.

From my experiences building houses in Batam and Kuching with Habitat for Humanity, I know that the simple yet obscure act of total strangers building homes for those in need of one can be a powerful demonstration of pure kindness. In this case, the victims of the tsunami that hit on Boxing Day 2004 are in need to basic shelter, and Habitat’s raison d’etre is to build homes for those who need a decent one. It couldn’t be anymore relevant. Your help and support is needed to build houses for those who have lost theirs. It never too late.

Build a Home. Build Hope.

"If it ought to be, it's gotta start with me." - anonymous

Kai Ming is a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity who has been on a building trips to Kuching and Batam. Currently helping the Habitat Singapore office with adminstrative work pertaining to the Tsunami Reconstruction efforts.


Yang Memorial Methodist Social Service (楊震社會服務處) used to be one of my favorite multi-service welfare agencies in Hong Kong, with lots of innovative services and the heart to advance social work professional practice. Its past Executive Director, Rev Tung, is also a respectable figure who has given me many great advice, despite the fact that we only managed to have more sharing when he's about to retire from Yang. Rev Tung had even given me a phone call from his Texas home (he lives there after retirement) when I was staying in New York for my fellowship program two years ago to give me some advice. It's very sad when I (by accident) came across this blog of Yang's employee's association. Hope Yang's board and its present director can resolve the staff grievance to everyone's satisfaction... (but is it possible?)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

European Institute of Advanced Studies - Nonprofit Management Workshop

The fifth workshop of the European Institute of Advanced Studies in Management on the Challenges of Managing the Third Sector will take place in Belfast, Sep 6-7, 2005. It is chaired by Bernd Helmig, Marc Jegers and Irvine Lapsley. Local organizer is Noel Hyndman. Deadline for submission of papers is April 15.

For further information, click here.


(see earlier post on「機會工程」計劃)




這 項創新的計劃始自去年1月,志願機構以自行籌得的50萬元,在沙田及深水協助區內100名貧童擺脫「跨代貧窮」的宿命,每天為他們提供3小時輔助服務, 包括課本補習、情緒智商訓練,並且提供食物,對貧童進行全面的人力資本投資,促進他們的學習能力、心智發展和健康成長。


目 前,很多志願團體都有本身的服務對象,如老人、兒童以至殘疾人士,如果這些機構能夠同樣利用本身的服務相對優勢,為貧窮的老弱或殘疾者提供針對性的服務, 而非只用「增加援助金額」的方式,來改善他們的福利狀,無疑是更直接有效的扶貧措施。一位參與計劃的學童的母親指出,「派錢」也不及社工的輔導服務,因 為即使有錢,她也不懂如何啟迪子女成長,有效協助他們建立汲取知識的動力﹔這位當事人的意見,正好一針見血地反映出扶貧工作應力的關鍵點。

這個成功的扶貧模式更帶出一個根本問題﹕特區政府必須檢討目前的福利撥款和分配結構。由於過去5年香港經濟不景,失業率高企,以致申領綜援的人數上升,政府 的綜援開支也不斷增加,由2000/01年度的135億元,增加至2003/04年度的173億,分別佔整體福利支出的46%及52%。綜援這種「現金支付」的資助,勢必產生資源的「排擠作用」,令其他福利志願機構所得的撥款減少。




【明報專訊】即將公布的施政報告其中一個重點,是要解決隔代貧窮問題。3個新移民婦女昨日表示,最大願望是不希望孩子再走自己的辛苦路,但作為父母的,面對電腦化、多元智能教育要求,根本束手無策。有非政府組織設計了「機會工程」改造計劃,向貧窮兒童提供EQ輔導、補習班、通識教育,推出3個月後孩子成績大躍進,野蠻小子也懂 得關心別人。有媽媽坦言﹕「你給我錢,不及給我一個社工,我拿『錢』也不懂幫個仔,社工就識。」


新移民林太、劉女士、陳女士住在貧窮重災區深水(該區四分一人口是貧窮戶),丈夫分別是清潔工人或失業,她們來港後生活都捉襟見肘。「兩餐都要憂,孩子放 學便回家,行街買無可能。」她們異口同聲道﹕「不想孩子將來像爸爸一樣做得這麼辛苦,希望他們識字,做一份自在的工作。」




劉女士說,女兒的英文默書成績突飛猛進,默書由50分進步至90分,班主任也讚賞。林太說,曾經是「野蠻小子」的龍仔成熟了﹕「以前很倚賴,擦身洗面水也要我倒,但來了這裏,他懂得關心別人,我不舒服,他會問候我,叫我看醫生。」另外,中心亦安排10元親子旅遊團,以低廉的費用,讓孩子與父母一起遊山頂、海洋公園等 地。




Monday, January 10, 2005

The 4th ISTR Asia and Pacific Regional Conference on Third Sector

The 4th ISTR Asia and Pacific Regional Conference on Third Sector will be held in Bangalore, India, in November 2005. The overarching theme of the conference is Civil Society and Social Justice.

Other sub-themes of the conference include:
· Third sector and inclusive development
· Impact and challenges of globalisation
· Values in government and the Third sector
· Cooperatives
· Mutual interest groups
· Addressing Dilemmas and diversities
· Inequalities and empowerment
· Philanthropy

Comparative studies and studies on other related themes are also encouraged. Proposals should be received by 15 March, 2005.

Program enquiries: Email:
For conference details visit:

Voluntas - Coming Book Review

Below you will find a list of books. Please e-mail me (Elke Zuern ezuern@SLC.EDU) if you are interested in any of the books and (in case I cannot accommodate you) please include your broader research interests and specializations that I may contact you for future reviews.

Reviews are about 800 words and we request that the review be sent in within 2 months of receiving the book.

Elke Zuern
Voluntas Book Review Editor

  • Marion Fremont-Smith - Governing NonProfit Organizations - Federal and State Law and Regulation
  • Susan Raymond - The Future of Philanthropy - Economics, Ethics and Management
  • Sarah Waters - Social Movements in France - Towards a New Citizenship
  • Sarah Henderson - Building Democracy in Contemporary Russia - Western Support for Grassroots Organizations
  • Sohail Hashmi ed. - Islamic Political Ethics - Civil Society, Pluralism and Conflict
  • Benjamin Gidron, et al - The Israeli Third Sector - Between Welfare State and Civil Society
  • Diana Mitlin and David Satterthwaite eds. - Empowering Squatter Citizen - Local Government, Civil Society and Urban Povery Reduction
  • Annette Zimmer and Eckhard Priller eds. - Future of Civil Society - Making Central European Nonprofit-Organizations Work
  • Ian Smillie and Larry Minear - The Charity of Nations - Humanitarian Action in a Calculating World
  • Brian Dollery and Joe Wallis - The Political Economy of the Voluntary Sector - A Reappraisal of the Comparative Advantage of Voluntary Organizations
  • Leslie Groves and Rachel Hinton eds - Inclusive Aid - Changing Power and Relationships in International Development
  • Peter Karoff ed. - Just Money - A Critique of Contemporary American Philanthropy
  • Marlies Glasius, David Lewis and Hakan Seckinekgin eds. - Exploring Civil Society - Political and Cultural Contexts

Saturday, January 08, 2005

International Action


【明報專訊】International Action為本港一個由18至35歲青年人自發組成的志願政治團體,自團體於兩個多月前組成至今,已有7名來自英國、新加坡、菲律賓及本地會員加入。此 團體成立的宗旨是「為香港的社會公義、公平原則、自由和民主而抗爭」。他們主力為社會低下階層市民提供援助,亦會協助受歧視、遭遇不平等對待的市民,更會 就社會不公平的事抱打不平。如市民欲對此團體有更深入認識,可瀏覽其網站

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Main Points of the UK Draft Charities Bill

Draft charities bill report: main points

Tash Shifrin rounds up the main conclusions of the parliamentary joint committee's report on the draft charities bill published today

Tash Shifrin
Thursday September 30, 2004

Public benefit

· The report repeats the committee's criticism of the "schism" between the Charity Commission and the Home Office over how a public benefit test would be applied to private schools. "The [Charity Commission's] interpretation left the draft bill in the ludicrous position of promising to bite the public benefit bullet, without having the teeth to do so," it states.

· The principles for a definition of public benefit - central to the bill's new definition of charity - should be set out either in non-exclusive criteria included in the bill or in non-binding statutory guidance issued by the home secretary, the report states. The principles should be based on the recent agreement drawn up between the Charity Commission and the Home Office. The committee rejected the options of writing a full definition of public benefit into the bill or leaving the matter entirely to the Charity Commission.

· The government should consider reviewing the charitable status of private schools and hospitals, and look at the possibility of removing their charitable status while retaining favourable tax treatment "in exchange for clear demonstration of quantified public benefits".

· The bill should clarify the effect of loss of charitable status. The government should consider including measures that would allow trustees to retain their assets to run the organisation as a not-for-profit body without charitable status.

Charitable purposes

· The report calls for an extra charitable purpose - "the provision of religious harmony, racial harmony, and equality and diversity" - to those listed in the draft bill. It wants an extra clause to make clear that "the advancement of religion" includes non-deity and multi-deity beliefs. It also calls for the words "and culture" to be added to the new charitable purpose of the advancement of arts, heritage and science, and "the saving of lives" to be added to that of the advancement of health.

Regulation and the Charity Commission

· The controversial new objective for the Charity Commission, to ensure charities maximise their "social and economic impact", should be dropped.

· The government should commission a review of the burden of charity regulation to ensure it is fair and proportionate, especially to smaller charities. The bill should include a duty on the Charity Commission to act fairly, reasonably and proportionately.

· The Charity Commission should be required to tell charities that it is investigating, under section 8 of the 1992 Charities Act, why it has launched an inquiry into them.

· The new independent appeals tribunal should be able to review all decisions of the Charity Commission - including the decision to launch inquiries under section 8. It should also be able to award compensation and/or costs against the commission.

· The bill should include a stronger statement on the independence of the Charity Commission from government. The commission should appear each year before the Commons home affairs select committee and its annual report should be debated by parliament.

· The committee says the evidence it heard "has given us reason to question whether the Charity Commission is properly organised and properly resourced to make it effective in its new tasks". There should be a review of the commission, looking particularly at "the quality of its processes, methods and organisation" and "the calibre of its staff" as well as its resources.


· Explanatory notes, published with the bill, should set out the criteria on which the home secretary will decide whether a new self-regulation system for fundraising is working effectively. The Home Office should review the proposed system to make sure it can root out cases of bogus fundraising, similar to those highlighted in evidence by Leeds city council.

· The committee makes a series of recommendations to ensure paid professional fundraisers make their status clear to the public. Written material should set out how they are paid - by salary, fixed fee or commission - and fundraisers should also carry an identification card from the charity for which they are collecting. This "could be supplemented" by a requirement for charities to state the basis on which fundraisers are paid, and the ratio of costs-to-funds raised, in their annual reports.

· Commercial participants in fundraising drives should be required to make as accurate a representation of the return from the venture as possible. Either the Charity Commission or trading standards officers should have the power to prosecute where these measures are breached.

· Local authorities should retain powers to license street fundraising, but the Charity Commission should be the body to grant certificates of fitness to carry out public collections.


· The bill should be amended to let charities trade directly, without setting up a separate company, and enjoy tax breaks on trading income - up to a point where trading income reaches 25%, or £5,000 if greater, of the charity's total turnover. This is a compromise, suggested after the government rejected proposals by the prime minister's strategy unit in 2002 to allow direct trading by charities.

After the bill

· The committee wants to see the new bill and the Charities Acts of 1992 and 1993 consolidated into a single charities act to make it easier for small volunteer-run charities, among others, to understand. © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

News Roundup

NEWS ROUNDUP - from Philanthropy Journal
(selected items only; my comment inside bracket)
12.28.2004 -

* Due to emergency food crises and budget cutbacks, the Bush administration has withdrawn commitments and cut donations to global food aid programs, as much as $100 million, some charities estimate, at a time when global hunger is on the rise, the New York Times reported Dec. 23.

(so is the U.S. Government "stingy"...?)

* The first charity reform bill in England in 400 years requires public schools to demonstrate a "public benefit" to keep their charitable status, charges the Charity Commission with establishing the parameters of public benefit and provides regulations for street fundraisers, the Guardian reported Dec. 22.

(an important development that all past and present Commonwealth countries/regions should pay attention to, given we all follow the British law tradition, including laws relating to charity...)

* A renewed surge in philanthropic activity in China, brought about by greater reform and openness, will fuel social development in the country, experts said at the Second China Philanthropy Forum in Beijing, China Economic Net reported Dec. 23.

(one important development is the release of the new foundation administration regulations by the State Council, but need to see how the new law is implemented...)

* The National Alliance for Choice in Giving will host more than 50 workplace giving groups, including the American Red Cross and Community Shares USA, at a conference Jan. 20-23 in Las Vegas to discuss increasing diversity and choice in workplace drives, which raise an estimated $4 billion for charity, CSRwire reported Dec. 22.

(workplace drive - recurrent giving from employees by way of regular payroll deduction - should be revived in Hong Kong... perhaps starting from the civil service?)

Cost of Appeal: 45 Cents of Every Dollar Raised

Think twice before you respond to a donation solicitation, especially telemarketing appeal...

Fundraising fees down
Share of dollars raised that solicitors pocket hits historic low, study says.
12.28.2004 -
from Philanthropy Journal

Professional solicitors and telemarketers that help North Carolina charities raise money keep 45 cents of every dollar they bring in, a share has hit a new low, a new study says.

The Charitable Solicitations Report, published annually by the N.C. Secretary of State's office, examines gross receipts from nonprofit fundraising events conducted by outside firms.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall says in a statement she hopes charities' rising share "indicates a greater understanding by all parties that the public wants charitable dollars to be used in the most effective manner possible."

The 504 fundraising events conducted by those solicitation firms in the year ended June 30, 2004, grossed $145.6 million, down from $316 million in 2003 when post-Sept. 11 sentiments fueled giving, but more than any other year since the study began in 1998, the report says.

Overall, solicitation firms kept almost half of what they raised, but percentages returned to charities ranged from 96.6 percent for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to zero for more than a dozen groups, including the United States Fund for UNICEF and Easter Seals.

Marshall says some groups conduct fundraising efforts more for educational purposes and may raise money through other channels.

"Some undertake extensive educational efforts as an integral part of their fundraising program as well," she says, "but that's counted as part of the expenses, or additional money may come in after the reporting period ends."

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Information on Donating to a Relief Agency

Information on Donating to a Relief Agency
USAID encourages cash donations because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, warehouse space, etc); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; ensure culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate assistance.

Links to Relief Organizations and Activities:
InterAction (links to list of relief agencies)
ReliefWeb - Information on relief activities of the humanitarian community

Additional information on making effective donations:
Center for International Disaster Information - Guidelines for Appropriate Int'l Disaster Donations
InterAction - Guide to Appropriate Giving
InterAction - PVO Accountability Standards

Information on choosing a charity (in the US):
Better Business Bureau
GuideStar - A National Database of Nonprofit Organizations
The American Institute of Philanthropy
Charity Navigator

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Shelter Needs of Tsunami Survivors

Habitat for Humanity - another renowned international development agency - has set up its representative office in Hong Kong recently but yet to launch its fundraising and volunteer recruitment operation. Like other international relief agencies, HFH has turned its attention to the tsunami disaster and in particular, the shelter needs of tsunami survivors. It would be a very meaningful cause if HFH can organise Hong Kong volunteers to assist in the effort to rebuild homes and shelters in the countries destroyed by the tidal waves (HFH has a presence in six of the 12 affected countries – Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh). The international head office of HFH (US-based) is now appealing for online donations for its operations in the tsunami affected areas.

Tsunami Displaces 5 Million Survivors
One in 12 Sri Lankans Now Homeless

AMERICUS, Ga. (Dec. 30, 2004) - As many as five million people are displaced and in need of basic services as a result of the tsunami-earthquake catastrophe that struck in Southeast Asia last Sunday. Habitat for Humanity has a presence in six of the 12 affected countries – Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh. The organization is working with local Habitat offices and international partner organizations to assess and respond to short- and long-term shelter needs.

In Sri Lanka alone, one in 12 people are now homeless. Habitat for Humanity is working with partners to help families whose homes have been wiped out or severely damaged by the floods to construct semi-permanent shelters and repair damaged homes. Initial assessments by Habitat staff indicate that foundations of many homes remain intact, while everything above the foundation was knocked over by the tidal waves.

Habitat for Humanity staff in Sri Lanka estimate that some damaged houses could be made habitable for between $50 and $100, depending on the damage and the amount of materials that can be salvaged from the destroyed or damaged home.

The Sri Lanka staff is now conducting an in-depth assessment of the needs throughout the island nation. There are 2,176 families in Sri Lanka who were living in Habitat homes and 2,628 additional families who were in the Habitat-sponsored savings group to buy homes in the near future. Habitat’s first priority is to assist the existing Habitat homeowners and the Save and Build members and then turn our attention to the millions more who are now in need of a safe, decent, and affordable place to live.

Habitat for Humanity has launched an emergency appeal to help facilitate the rebuilding. To help in these efforts, please visit our Asia Tsunami Response donation page.


Another option is to donate directly to the affected countries. One of my blog readers suggests this:


【明報專訊】南亞海嘯發生後,港人一直踴躍捐助,善款數字於數天內已突破2億元,而無國界醫生更出現有救援 組織善款「爆滿」而停收捐款。該會發言人解釋,港人愛心「爆棚」,短短5日內,善款額已逾1700萬元,佔該會全球籌款目標的11%,相信足以應付現階段 救災工作,但不排除會再舉辦籌款活動以應付更長遠的需要。雖然南亞災民善款特設戶口停收款項,但市民可捐款至該會全球救援戶口(匯豐銀行 ﹕0024398224),協助其他有需要人士。

受海嘯打擊的災民,衣食住行等基本生活都受到極大影響,在港人籌款熱情濃烈下,市民只要 一出門,從乘搭兩鐵外出,到往蘭桂坊狂歡、在商場購買禦寒衣物、到酒店跟友人晚膳,甚至在便利店內使用八達通付款,統統可以不同形式捐款賑災,讓災民得到 衣食住行各方面的照顧。救援組織及慈善團體籌得的善款,至今已突破2億元。

在行方面,市民乘火車地鐵都可捐款,九鐵會把除夕通宵延長服務 的4小時內所有車費收益撥作賑災,而明天(2日)市民每乘搭地鐵一次,地鐵都會捐出5毫。地鐵發言人估計,當日有近200萬人次搭客,可籌得約100萬 元。另外,兩鐵全線逾100個車站都開放予救援組織及慈善團體擺放捐款箱。駕車人士也可出一分力。蜆殼石油由今起至7日將把56個油站除稅後的私家車電油 營業額的8%捐贈紅十字會,油站內亦設有捐款箱供駕車人士捐款。

災區居民衣服並不足夠,港人行商場買衫時,可找找商場的籌款箱,因恒基、 九倉、信和及新鴻基等旗下的部分商場已設置多個大型籌款箱﹔連鎖時裝店Moiselle亦準備在店內放置捐款箱。OK便利店、7-Eleven便利店和屈 臣氏亦成為各慈善團體的「捐款站」,其中在OK便利店更接受八達通捐款。