What a pleasure it is to be writing to you as Executive Director of HER Fund, after having served as Programme Officer and Manager for 11 years. My leadership transition journey has been very encouraging, challenging, and full of love! I feel so fortunate to have worked with and learned from Linda To, our dear founder and former Executive Director.
The past year has seen HER Fund staff, volunteers and board members focused on taking our organization to a new phase of growth, given the great needs we see in the communities of vulnerable women and girls that are at the core of our mission. We reached out to the corporate sector proactively to introduce HER Fund to both corporate representatives and professional individuals. In my many coffee chats, I was heartened to meet people with diverse backgrounds who cared deeply about gender equality for the most marginalized women and girls in Hong Kong.
To that end, we increased the number of young professionals engaged in our capacity building programme—our grantee partners and these young professionals learned so much from one another. We provided presentation skills training to 15 migrant domestic worker’s leaders. We also helped 18 women leaders from diverse organizations to improve their project management, fundraising and communication skills. Our ultimate goal for all our training is to increase both the confidence and capacity of these incredible women leaders.
We continued to give grants to grassroots women’s organizations so that they can have the resources to turn their passion and ideas into reality. The grants that we give are a life-line to our grantees, who often have no other source of financial support for their critical work on behalf of marginalized women and girls.
We increased our public education and outreach efforts, to tell the stories of marginalised women and girls in Hong Kong to diverse audiences. Far too many of the grantee partners we support are invisible in our society, and we aim to change that—because their perspective and needs are vital.
As a community foundation, we treasure the values of “bottom-up” and use a collaborative approach with the organizations we support. “Shifting the power” is another important value that we try to build with our grantee partners, volunteers, donors, staff and executive committee members.
We know that so many of you share our values. We need more (and more sustainable!) financial support, knowledge, skills, and love from our community of donors, grantee partners, women’s funds, corporate partners, volunteers, executive committee members and staff to create changes together.
HER Fund is, at its core, a community of people. Thank you very much to our entire community for all you have done so far—we appreciate every dollar, every minute, and every piece of advice!
In the blink of an eye, HER Fund has been established for more than 15 years. I still remember how thrilled I felt when I first learn about the creation of the fund from my friends. Because Hong Kong needs more women’s organizations to support gender equality, especially by mobilizing resources for the marginalized and empower women at the grassroots level.
As we mark on this journey, the years glided unknowingly, and it has already come to our fifteenth year. In the past few years, the fund is always undergoing transformations, whether it is in terms of personnel management, or the orientation and direction of the organization. What remains unchanged, however, is the fund's vision and mission, which is exactly the very same reason and intention as the day of the establishment - through the work of the fund, all women can enjoy basic rights and live in a society of gender equality.
In the past, the Fund mainly relied on making grants to local groups and organizations to support various gender equality work, especially those with scarce resources or newly established organizations, as well as marginalized and grassroots women. In 15 years, the fund is ecstatic to witness the small groups and new initiatives we supported back in the day, gradually expanded and thrived today, such as women grassroots communities and organizations supporting sexual minorities, and so on.
In recent years, HER Fund has noticed that in addition to grants, capacity building and connecting local and international resources are also essential to realizing the fund’s vision and mission. In the past few years, to implement our work more effectively and to promote the longer-term overall development of the organization, HER Fund has made many changes, including strengthening the training of Executive Committee members and staff, working with employees to develop internal policies and capacity building became priority work items. As well as, the strengthening links and exchanges with women's funds in the Asia Pacific region, and so on.
Today, the changes are gradually on track, and I am especially grateful to all the friends, organizations and colleagues who generously walk alongside HER Fund throughout our journey. We understand that change has never been easy, but we believe that the days ahead, just like a butterfly breaking out from the cocoon, will be more vibrant, flying higher and farther, and becomes more colorful.
In the future, we hope that through the work of HER Fund, we can connect more local organizations who fight for gender equality, and promote their cooperation and exchanges, as well as externally, with regional and international networks, to achieve greater gender empowerment in an individual and organizational level. As a local women’s fund based in Hong Kong, we believe that as long as we continue to work together on the road of gender equality, the road will only become wider and wider.
Add Oil Together! (This is a HK version of “Keep fighting”)
Founded in 2004, HER Fund mobilizes resources for women’s empowerment, the promotion of social changes and gender equality. We support the most vulnerable women and girls in Hong Kong by providing capacity-building, leadership training and small grants to grassroots organizations led by and serving the most disadvantaged. We also increase the visibility of marginalized women and girls—and the issues they face.
HER Fund is an active member of Hong Kong’s women’s rights community, Human Rights Funders Network and of Prospera - International Network of Women’s Funds. HER Fund is also a member of The Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS).
Chairperson of Teen’s Key,
recipient of grant funding from 2011-2018
Chairperson of Virtuous Lady Club,
recipient of funding grant from 2016-2018
Chairperson of Les Corner,
recipient of funding grant from 2016-2019
HER Fund Donor since 2018
Executive Director of the Kering Foundation
HER Fund sees the potential in marginalized women and girls—and thus, we focus our grant-making on grassroots organizations led by and serving the most disadvantaged. Far too many are cast aside in our society, marginalized by their gender combined with their economic status, sexual orientation, social position, ethnicity, age, and many other factors.
HER Fund’s philosophy is unique in Hong Kong. We are one of the only foundations in Hong Kong to support innovative new groups with seed funding. We take chances on small, community groups with great promise who dare to take up new and difficult issues and support women's efforts to change their lives for the better. We give flexible funding because we know that grassroots groups know their own needs, challenges and opportunities.
Both domestic and sexual violence in our city affects women disproportionately. Social Welfare Department statistics show that over 80% out the 2,937 reported spouse/cohabitant battering cases and over 95% of 1,020 reported sexual violence cases in 2018 are women. Even this stark picture is incomplete, with many cases going unreported. Intimate partner violence also rife among lesbians and other female sexual minorities in Hong Kong, with little public awareness. According to findings from Chinese University’s University of Hong Kong’s Department of Social Work, 77.8% of female sexual minorities experienced some form of violence including physical, sexual and psychological abuse with only 22% of victims seeking help from the police due to fear of insensitivity by authorities in dealing with same-sex relationships. HER fund is committed to expanding the narrative of violence against women and protecting women's physical and mental well-being.
Supporting Sexual Minority Women Combatting Intimate Partner Violence.
The project aims to increase awareness, build a database and set up guidelines for social sector and government units in dealing with intimate partner violence among lesbians
- Meeting with Social Welfare Department and Hong Kong Police to understand their work on domestic violence prevention and handling and discuss the lesbian perspective to approach domestic violence.
- Collaboration with Prof. Chen Ji-kang, CUHK in conducting the research “Intimate Partner Violence Facing Sexually Marginalized Women in Hong Kong” to increase public awareness among lesbians.
- Increase volunteers’ participation and ownership by having them promote Les Corner’s “Survival Kit”. 80 participants attended the press conference and the research was reported by 8 media platforms/newspapers.
Discrimination is the basis of inequality. It denies groups of people their basic rights and obstructs their potential. Many women in Hong Kong face discrimination based on their gender; this discrimination is often compounded by their ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, economic status and other factors. Only by being free from discrimination can women become less vulnerable to economic hardship, social exclusion and violence. HER Fund is committed to supporting grassroots groups that are leading the fight against gender discrimination for the most vulnerable women and girls in Hong Kong.
Towards a Socially Inclusive Society for Transgender People.
The project provides training and workshop to enhance the confidence of transitioning transgendered people, as well as providing legal support against discrimination. It also holds public education activities to change their negative or misunderstood views on transgendered people.
- Workshops to enhance transgender people's confidence when transitioning to their new gender;
- Public education activities and the premiere of the movie "A Woman is a Woman" to change the general public's negative view towards transgender people;
- Legal support services to the transgender people who have suffered from discrimination.
Wealth disparity is a pressing issue in an affluent city like Hong Kong, and one that effects women enormously. According to the 2017 census, approximately 451,700 women earned less than HKD 6,000 per month, compared with 80,800 men. Access to the public health system for women living in poverty, especially ethnic minority women, face barriers such as language, culture, and a lack of appropriate health‐related information. HER Fund is committed to giving grassroots groups the helping hand they need to address their health and the cycle of poverty that disproportionately affects women.
Grassroots Women's Physical and Mental Health Empowerment Project
This project aims to establish a support network for women facing Menopause and provide organised training with gender perspective to train women leaders and advocates in improving medical and welfare services for menopausal women.
- After trainings, the Virtuous Lady Club successfully transitioned to new committee members. Three core members are able to do independent planning, decision making and event planning, bonding 120 members.
- Represented 120 members and spoke on legislative council, established street station to gather information, participated in conversations with district representatives for more than 4 times, handed in opinion letter, held press conference, got response from Government in setting up Falls & Fractures Prevention care.
- Held 2 community musical performance, 8 gender drama workshops (let women express themselves through drama), reported by different news outlet
Traditional gender roles fail to see women as leaders, and our ideas and priorities are often ignored. Therefore, women's voice in legislation and policymaking are often silenced. Promoting active civil participation among women is the key to advancing women's rights and changing the status quo for marginalised women. HER Fund is committed to supporting marginalized women’s groups who are critical players in the sustainable development of our society.
Women's Voice Project
Women have long been the primary carers of the family, but this identity often means the loss of financial independence. At the same time, Hong Kong has insufficient family friendly policies and childcare services, resulting in inadequate support for women and with enormous consequences for their ability to participate in other work. The project aims to encourage more women to become policy drivers and improve their situation by establishing a women community team to collect residents’ opinions, educate women on policies and eventually draft a women’s plan to submit to the government.
- Brought in new members and expanded the number of core members. Participants learned about different policies, social welfare and protection of women’s rights
- Encouraged women’s groups to express their views to government officials.
HER Hub is our flagship capacity-building programme, dedicated to giving grassroots leaders that helping hand they need to put their energy, drive and ideas into action.
During 2018, HER Hub organized 15 training sessions to build our grantee partners’ skills on leadership, organizational planning and sustainable development. The trainings also connect corporate and professional volunteers with marginalised women, to break through stakeholders’ assumptions about each other and join forces in promoting gender equality.
“HER Hub” consists of 3 parts—The Inspired, The Core and The Energizer.
NGO Governance x Gender Perspective
This workshop was co-organized by “Governance and Management for Excellence for Public Benefit (GAME)” and “Women’s Studies Research Centre, HKU” on 7th April 2018.
23 core members or executive committees from 12 different advocacy groups, NGOs, grassroot organizations and self-help groups joined the 3 guest speakers - Ms. Christine Fang GAME Founder and Director; Former Chief Executive Officer of The Hong Kong Council of Social Service, Mr. Ng Hang-Sau and Ms. Mabel Au Chairperson of The Association for the Advancement of Feminism to discuss the role and responsibilities of an Executive Committee, the common ambiguity between an Executive Committee and a management team, how to deal with and avoid conflict of interest for management staff, and the importance of including a gender perspective and increased female participation in governance.
Resource Mobilization & Communication
After completing management trainings in 2017, 18 core members from Concern for Grassroots’ Livelihood Alliance – Tin Zi Zok Wai, Teen’s Key, Virtuous Lady Club and PrideLab learned strategies and skills for resource mobilization and communication.
HER Fund was fortunate to have these five training sessions facilitated by Kris Chiu, who has over 10 years’ experience with grassroots and international organizations in programme, organizational development, fundraising and communication.
Topics include how to concisely and clearly introduce the work of the organisation, evaluate the available resource networks and learn the importance of building relationship with donors.
Mentorship for better presentations
With the support of Linklaters LLP, 15 domestic workers from the Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions FADWU attended 3 sessions of HER Hub’s presentation skills training from March to June 2018, which enabled them to effectively make their voices be heard, from speaking out for Hong Kong domestic workers to recruiting members and proposing policies to improve the situation of domestic workers.
Besides the trainings, being able to put the skills learned to practice in real life is also very important. Therefore, this programme includes 6 members from Linklaters acting as mentors, who shared their experiences and views on public speaking skills, as well as advice on the participants’ 3-minute speech. In the process, mentors learned about the issues and situations faced by Hong Kong domestic helpers.
Mentoring to facilitate mutual learning and fuel capacity building
We are heartened to see so many professional individuals who wish to contribute their skills and time to HER Fund grantee partners—who need additional talent and networks to amplify their work. The Energizer bridges these two goals.
In order to make the mentorship more effective, 18 mentors joined our mentorship training programme. Through the mentorship training, they learn about issues affecting marginalized women and girls, the characteristics, strengths and challenges of small organizations, and tips on being a mentor with feminist perspective.
HER Fund is honored to be invited by corporates, organizations and universities to share our grant-making and capacity building as well as the situation of local women. We take every opportunity we can to raise public awareness of gender issues, call for joint efforts in promoting gender equality and promote positive social changes for the women and girls of Hong Kong.
Mandy Cheung, former Chairperson of HER Fund, was invited to be one of the guest speakers of ARNOVA-Asia Conference at HKU on June 27th, 2018. The conference theme of “Evolving Government-Third Sector Relations in Asia” joined NGOs and community foundations with students to talk about government and civil engagement in advocacy and philanthropy. Mandy shared HER Fund’s experience as a community foundation in Hong Kong, and the evolving roles of community philanthropy and community foundations in supporting the collective voices of the community.
At TED X CUHK 2018, Executive Director Judy Kan was invited to share on this year’s theme “Lost nor Found”, the feeling of we experience as we journey along the path in achieving our dreams. She shared on the topic of “Speak Up!: Bringing the forgotten stories of women in Hong Kong”, where she talked about the power of listening to people challenged by difficult circumstances, while speaking up to stimulate change and start empowering each other. Judy also delivered the speech as a lunch talk to Linklaters staff on 17th July 2018 about the “Lost nor Found” voices of grassroots and marginalized women in Hong Kong.
HER Fund was a supporting organization of the 7th Asia Pro Bono Conference from 25th to 27th October 2018, at Harbour Grand. The conference was held in Hong Kong for the first time, where legal practitioners, students and NGO representatives came together to exchange thoughts on how to positively impact the lives of most disadvantaged individuals and marginalised communities. HER Fund co-organized a side event called “How can men and lawyers support the women’s movement?” with PiLnet and Stephenson Harwood. Linda Wong, Chairperson of HER Fund, was the facilitator and Mimi Wong, Director of AWCHK was one of the panellists.
HER Fund organized a public sharing session on 16th December 2018 at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. Natalie Leung and Charing Lee, two HER Fund volunteers organised the sharing session open to the general public, including talks by several foreign domestic workers, to talk about the problems that foreign domestic workers face and the relationship between domestic workers and their employers.
HER Fund staff were invited to Pink Season as one of the “human books” in their event, “How To Be An Ally (2.0)” on 11th October 2018 and showcased personal stories of our grantee partners to introduce women’s issues in the local context.
HER Fund was the community partner of Pink Dot HK 2018, which is an annual outdoor carnival and concert in support of the LGBTQ+ community at West Kowloon Cultural District Art Park. We set up a booth at on 21st October 2018 with mini games to engage the public and show the hidden voices of marginalized women in Hong Kong.
HER Fund presented at The Education University of Hong Kong on 4th December 2018 to 30 to education students about having a gender perspective in a school context and the importance of having a safe and inclusive learning environment.
Media is a vital tool in providing the most marginalized communities with a platform to gain visibility and tell their story and struggles to the society. HER Fund strives to bring the voices of our grantee partners and the work of HER Fund to a wider audience.
Topic: Create positive change in society
The HER Fund Executive Director, Judy Kan was interviewed by the Agenda Café on RTHK Radio 3 together with Bess Hepworth of Planet Ally on 26th October 2018Listen
Topic: HER Fund and Run for infinity
The HER Fund Executive Director, Judy Kan joined the organizers of Run for infinity to Speak at CRHK to introduce the work and impact of HER Fund on 27th Feb 2019
Topic: How to advance women’s rights and gender equality
HER Fund’s Project Officer, Jade To was interviewed by RTHK 3 “123 Show” to share HER’s work and story of the grantee partners on 8th March 2019Listen
This year, we raised HK$735,929 through fundraising activities, individual donations, and charity events organized by corporations and donors.
An annual gathering was held by the young ladies on the fourth floor "Rainbow Village" of the University of Hong Kong Simon K.Y. Lee Hall no 10th April 2018. A total of HK$4,325 was raised to support women’s empowerment.
HER Fund collaborated with Happeriod, a company committed to providing more choices and awareness in menstrual products for women, in coordinating a handmade cloth pad workshop. 19 participants joined the two workshops on 28th May and 16th June 2018, generating a revenue of HK$5,500 for advancing women’s rights in Hong Kong.
In May 2018, HER Fund facilitated a Mother’s Day lunch sharing for the staffs of Women@Microsoft, together with our grantee partners Concern for Grassroots’ Livelihood Alliance - Tin Zi Zok Wai and Teen’s Key. Microsoft donated HK$10,000 to HER Fund.
Fine Voices Concert “The Wonder in Every Woman” supported the work of HER Fund and the community by holding a concert on behalf of HER Fund and Plan International. The concert raised HK$9,360 towards advancing women’s rights.
Run for Infinity 2018, a charity run was held in April 2018 with the support by Lan Kwai Fong Association. Runners had the chance to run past top Lan Kwai Fong attractions as well as some of the city's iconic landmarks - The Fringe Club, and Tai KkKwun and Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens. The annual Run for Infinity Race nominated HER Fund as their event beneficiary in April 2018 and raised HK$53,864.
To help trans-women to speak out, HER Fund organised a charity screening of the film ‘A Woman is a Woman’ for both public education and fundraising in November 2018. Linklaters and Churchill Finance sponsored the event which allowed HER Fund to raise HK$143,285 to be allocated to HER Fund’s work on grant-making and capacity building to promote gender equality.
We commemorated International Women’s Day 2019 by partnering with Stephenson Harwood to provide our supporters and network with an opportunity to engage and network with our grantee partners and celebrate our impact in the community. Joe Li, Chairperson of Les Corner Empowerment Association and HER Fund grantee partner since 2016 highlighted the importance challenges of advocating the importance offoer gender and sexual orientation equality for sexual minorities in Hong Kong.
One of the important parts of HER Fund’s mission is to connect the local women’s rights movement to the international community so that more people are aware of the situation in Hong Kong. Together with women’s funds globally , we strive for more resources to promote women’s rights movement around the world to improve the situation of women.
The Executive Director of Prospera – International Network of Women’s Funds, Emilienne de Leon, and the Senior Program Officer for Institutional Strengthening, Fadekemi Akinfaderin, visited HER Fund in June 2018 on the mission of strengthening women’s funding organizations. They analyzed and discussed with us the support HER Fund needs to enhance the impact of their work on advancing women’s rights.
After meeting with Prospera - International Network of Women's Fund, HER Fund travelled to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in June 2018 with funding from Mama Cash, to build and develop relationships with our other women’s funds in the Asia Pacific region. Meeting with our peers at other women’s funds was such a wonderful learning experience!
HER Fund staff travelled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July 2018 to participate in the Community of Practice Conference with other international women's funds. The aim was to learn best practices in monitoring, evaluation and learning of our programmes while strengthening our work to bring a better impact in the communities we serve.
In September 2018, HER Fund staff joined the “Collaborating for Impact” Camp, sponsored by Win-Win Strategies in Amsterdam. One of the goals of the camp was to learn how women’s funds can collaborate with corporates to further sustain the women’s rights movement.
Our Executive Director attended the Human Rights Funders Network Conference held in Mexico City, in October 2018. The trip was funded by Prospera – International Network of Women’s Fund and Global Fund for Women, to enable HER Fund to build networks with other human rights funders from all over the world. HER Fund also held a side event with Prospera Asia-Pacific, to invite different human rights funders and share their ideas on the Regional Convergence scheduled to be held 25 – 28 September 2019 OR 25th-28th September 2019.
Fondation Chanel funded HER Fund staff to participate in a learning and sharing trip to Fondation Chanel’s Partners’ Seminar “Ensemble 2018” in Paris. In October 2018, organizations came together to discuss new ideas on advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality. HER Fund participated in discussions on women’s social entrepreneurship, cross-sectional approaches to women’s empowerment and so forth.
HER Fund wants every dollar to make a big impact. That’s why our grant making strategy is aimed at supporting movements – because we know that women’s movements are the most powerful way to create lasting change.
* Designated Programmes include capacity building project, project for combating domestic violence, project for building donor and partnership acquisition programme, and fee for conference participation.
Advisors give us support, connect us to potential donors and support our events. They also provide us advice based on their expertise, knowledge and experiences.