We treat our grants as investments. As such, we invest in people: partners with whom we can develop a fruitful, long term relationship.
Social Entrepreneurship and Venture Philanthropy Education
In 2013, YFP started a pilot course on social entrepreneurship and venture philanthropy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Offered at the MBA level, the class was also open to students from different faculties. The students formed interdisciplinary teams that acted as consultants for local Hong Kong social enterprises, pitching on behalf of the social enterprise for HK$250,000 from YFP. The students also helped to decide which organization received the grant funding, as they took on the role of a funder.
Two years later, YFP formed a tripartite partnership to promote Social Entrepreneurship and Venture Philanthropy education in Hong Kong, by engaging stakeholders from diverse sectors, including government, NGO, social enterprises and academia.
Selected as one of the appointed Intermediaries of the Hong Kong SAR government’s Social innovation and Entrepreneurship fund (SIE Fund), YFP has collaborated with three reputable universities – HKUST, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), and the Hong Kong Baptist University to deliver 13 interdisciplinary action-based courses on social entrepreneurship and venture philanthropy at the MBA, postgraduate, and undergraduate levels. The program is named Nurturing Social Minds.
To date, over 339 students have learned about social entrepreneurship and social finance best practices in both a local and global context. 51 social enterprises have benefited from student-initiated consulting projects. YFP has also granted HK$ 3.25 million in grant funding to support 13 winning social enterprises to tackle pressing social problems such as environmental sustainability, social inclusion, education, innovative fundraising for charities, elderly services and mobility services.
Nurturing Social Minds has a program-dedicated website, which can be found here.
Leadership Development Through One-to-One Tutorials
As of 2014, Kwai Chung district had a poverty rate at 25.7%, the second highest among the 18 districts of Hong Kong (Hong Kong Poverty Situation 2014).
In 2015, YFP collaborated with H.K.S.K.H Lady MacLehose Centre ("LMC") to pilot the S.M.A.R.T. Program, which aims to mitigate the vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty by supplementing education opportunities and resources for underprivileged students. Secondary school students from Kwai Chung district with outstanding academic performance are trained to become youth tutors, providing one-to-one tutorial services for underprivileged primary school children from the same district needing help with their studies.
In this "community capital" model, the primary pupils have a role model to look up to, who comes from the same background as them. As a result, their learning attitudes, academic abilities and personal capacity have all been elevated. The youth tutors have been empowered to become role models and leaders within the community, while developing their soft skills for future success.
S.M.A.R.T. Program holds a belief that strong bonding between youth tutors and their pupils can jointly motivate positive learning changes and ultimately alleviate poverty in the long run.
After the first pilot, S.M.A.R.T. was redesigned to better serve the beneficiary groups, and to better integrate with the local school system. The findings and recommendations of the HKCSS Kwai Chung Needs Assessment Study (see below) were also incorporated into the program design for further effectiveness.
Teacher Training and Professional Development
Founded in 2008, Teach For China (TFC) is an educational non-profit organization committed to closing the education gap in China's under-resourced regions. TFC is working to eliminate one of the greatest challenges facing China today – education inequality – by enlisting the most promising future leaders from China to become TFC Fellows and teach at rural Chinese schools for 2 years.
In 2012, YFP recruited and supported two TFC Fellows from renowned universities. TFC provided them with the training and tools to become leaders, and placed them into rural schools to motivate and inspire rural students.
In 2013, YFP partnered with an international corporate foundation to support an impact strategy and evaluation-consulting project, to help TFC develop a refined Theory of Change and hone their strategic vision for impacting Chinese students.
YFP's latest TFC collaboration involves a multi-year program to improve TFC's teacher training and professional development.
Find out more about TFC here.
Kwai Chung Youth Education Needs Assessment Study
In 2014, The Yeh Family Philanthropy engaged the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (“HKCSS”) to conduct an education needs assessment study of low-income students in Kwai Chung district, to “explore the premise that an individual’s neighborhood environment has an influence on his or her school performance and the education outcomes which can change his or her life chances.”
HKCSS worked in collaboration with the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to develop its research methodology and focus. Key research questions examined include:
- Who are the vulnerable groups of students in need within the community?
- What are the needs of these vulnerable groups to attain academic achievement and personal development?
- How do the home and neighborhood environment affect the student’s education outcomes and challenges in schooling?
- What do schools and social service providers currently do to help students and their families to mediate their disadvantages?
- What are the weaknesses in current educational support and potential opportunities for greater impact?
The research used qualitative and quantitative methodology. In-depth interviews were conducted with parents, school personnel and community stakeholders to understand the perceived challenges and attitudes of these groups regarding the educational needs of the youth. A community wide survey was also conducted with a sample size of 655 students residing in the district to understand the views of different groups of young people with respect to their learning, educational advancement and career development.
The results of this needs assessment study were incorporated in the program design of S.M.A.R.T. Program's second pilot (see above), and continues to inform YFP's work.
Center for Molecular Analysis and Design, Stanford University
The CMAD sits at the forefront of innovation and risk taking in Chemistry research by providing a new mechanism for research students to collaborate across disciplines. CMAD Fellowships allow student researchers to move away from the traditional mold of research education tied to a single discipline and move toward more student focused, entrepreneurial, and collaborative model.
This new model will be enabled by granting portable fellowships to graduate students who aspire to solve our world’s most pressing problems, especially in health, energy and the environment.
Fellowships are awarded to students who propose the most innovative research projects. Fellows partner with at least two faculty members, in order to bring a variety of perspectives to bear on their projects. As financially independent scholars no longer tied to a single faculty member, graduate students will be able to pursue their own early-stage interdisciplinary research projects under the mentorship of several faculty members.
YFP has sponsored the following fellows in their academic pursuits:
James Flanagan, a PhD candidate in Chemistry, is researching ways to generate new plastics in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way from non-petroleum sources by working with the Environmental Engineering & Science and Chemistry departments.
Naomi Clayman, a PhD candidate in Chemistry, is researching inorganic materials in the perspectives of conductivity and porousness in responding to external stimuli.
Mary Anne Manumpil, a PhD candidate in Chemistry, is doing research at the intersection of inorganic chemistry and materials science, leading to renewable energy applications.