This meeting we welcomed our own Rotarian Tony as speaker. Immediate Past President Mark made the speaker introduction, noting that Rotarian Tony’s hobby, in fact, is doing community service. As the Head of Mainland Strategic Development of Hong Kong Jockey Club, Rotarian Tony’s topic was “Social Betterment Projects in Mainland.” For most of us, when we think about Hong Kong Jockey Club, we think about horse racing, Mark Six and sports betting. Rotarian Tony’s presentation gave us an overview of the community service portfolio of the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Established in 1993, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, reflects the evolving nature, scale and scope of donations. The Charities Trust is one of the world’s top ten charity donors. Approximately 90% of the Jockey Club’s annual operating surplus after tax is donated to the Trust, enabling it to play a significant role in the community’s development. Locally, in Hong Kong, we are familiar with Tai Kwun, a heritage site developed and preserved by HKJC. Ocean Park, at its inception, was also a HKJC project, providing locals and visitors alike with a world class recreational facility. There are many more community projects. HKJC has 10 areas of community contributions, including: youth development, elderly services, sports & recreation, arts/culture & heritage, education & training, medical & health, rehabilitation services, family services, environmental protection and emergency & poverty relief. Normally, HKJC Charities Trust does not operate in Mainland China, with limited exceptions such as in case of a major disaster. The Sichuan earthquake in 2008 prompted HKJC’s action. Today there are 7 HKJC-funded reconstruction projects related to the Sichuan earthquake including schools, medical facilities, a vocational college, an Olympic school and Sichuan University – Hong Kong PolyU Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction HKJC Building. HKJC has developed its Mainland China membership base through community service. It views its membership as intellectual capital, and matches members’ personal networks and donations into its community service platform. Mentorship program for students in rural areas, arts/music education project and children’s book project are a few examples that Mainland China members can get involved in. Asked whether HKJC focuses on poverty or remote areas in Mainland China, Rotarian Tony answered that HKJC has a “limited bandwidth” in a country as big as China. Instead of chasing large projects, by utilizing its extensive experience as a charitable organization and leveraging its membership base, HKJC focuses on projects that reflect its social betterment values. We finished the meeting by recording a congratulatory message to our sister club, Rotary Club of Taoyuan Southeast, for its 26th anniversary in April.