DSW appeals for business and welfare sectors' support for PFD projects to help the disadvantaged (with photos)

     The Director of Social Welfare, Ms Carol Yip, today (March 12) appealed to the business community and the welfare sector to continue their support for the Partnership Fund for the Disadvantaged (PFD) in rolling out more meaningful welfare projects to help the underprivileged.

     Speaking at an experience-sharing session on the PFD, Ms Yip said that the Fund, which was set up in 2005, aims to encourage tripartite partnership among the welfare sector, the business community and the Government to help the needy and to create a cohesive, harmonious and caring society.

     She said, "Eight rounds of PFD applications have been launched since its inception. I am very glad to see that the numbers of applications received, welfare non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved (particularly non-subvented ones) and participating business organisations, together with the amount of approved grants, are all on the rise."

     So far, a total of over $310 million has been approved for 156 NGOs, together with 1 120 business partners, to implement 694 welfare projects. More than 1 million persons in disadvantaged circumstances have benefited.

     "Taking the eighth round of applications as an example, the number of applications received is 152, which is three times the number received in the first round. The number of NGOs taking part in this round has more than doubled from that of the first round to 63, half of which are non-subvented NGOs. The number of participating business organisations is 329, which is three times that of the first round," she said.

     "Moreover, there is a six-fold increase in the amount of approved grants from $8.9 million in the first round to $63.24 million in the eighth round. All these statistics reflect not only that the PFD meets the needs of the community, but also the wide acceptance of the Fund among the business and welfare sectors," she added.

     To step up the joint efforts in helping the disadvantaged, the Policy Address has proposed an injection of $400 million into the PFD. Half of the sum will be dedicated to support more after-school learning and support programmes for primary and secondary school children from grass-roots families for strengthening their whole-person development, she said.

     During the session, Ms Yip extended sincere thanks to all the business partners for the support they gave NGOs in running the PFD projects. Their generous support has resulted in the successful implementation of the projects, benefiting thousands of persons in disadvantaged circumstances.

     She also gave special thanks to members of the Advisory Committee of PFD for their invaluable advice and recommendations on the vetting and approval of applications as well as the development of and improvement in the management of the Fund.

     About 180 participants from about 90 business corporations and NGOs attended the experience-sharing session today. Ms Yip said she hoped that the sharing session could help the participants to network with new partners for running more and diversified welfare projects to enhance the quality of life as well as the work skills of the disadvantaged.

     One of the guest speakers, the Vice President, Public & Government Affairs - Hong Kong & Southern China of ExxonMobil Hong Kong Limited, Mrs Grace Lam, spoke on "Corporate Social Responsibility Nowadays". She said that the PFD created a win-win situation. While an organisation could fulfil corporate social responsibility and promote its corporate image, NGOs could capitalise on the additional resources and expertise acquired from business corporations to run tailor-made projects for the needy.

     Another speaker, the Associate Director of the Women's Foundation, Ms Rita Ching, talked about "Strategy to Establish and Sustain Partnership between Welfare Non-governmental Organisation and Business Corporation". She shared her view on how to find a business partner, how to work with the business partner and what the corporations may gain from the partnership. She called on NGOs to build trust with their business partners and enhance the transparency of the welfare projects so that the corporations would better understand the operation of the projects.

     The Government has injected a total of $400 million into the PFD on two occasions in 2005 and again in 2010. Matching grants will be provided to donations made by business organisations to support NGOs in running welfare projects.

     The ninth round of applications was launched on December 16, 2013, with two phases. The first phase closed by end of last month while the second phase is to close on August 29, 2014. For details, please visit the Social Welfare Department's webpage (www.swd.gov.hk/en/index/site_pubsvc/page_supportser/sub_partnership/).

Ends/Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:18