The Hub’s Bruce Stinson on giving back to society and this year’s upcoming charity ball
October 17, 2019
It’s that time of the year again – to give back to society and to raise money for those in need.
As we all know, poverty has been a pressing issue in Hong Kong for years, with many families living below the poverty line and kids not having access to education. The Hub Hong Kong‘s Founder David Boehm and Co-founder Bruce Stinson started their very own children-focused charity organisation in 2012, which allowed many underprivileged children to access classes and sport trainings, among other things.
Presented by K.S.Sze & Sons, The Hub’s annual fundraising charity ball will take place on Friday, October 18th at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. Celebrities such as Myolie Wu, Heidi Chu, Geoffrey Wong and many others will attend the event in support of the charity.
We recently sat down with The Hub’s Co-Founder Bruce Stinson to talk about education, giving back to society and how people can help with the charity.
Tell us about The Hub Hong Kong
The Hub Hong Kong is a registered charity founded by myself and good friend David Boehm in 2012. We were quite surprised to read government statistics at the time which showed around 20% of Hong Kong children living below the poverty line. We then visited some of the homes of these children which gave us even more incentive to try to help. We opened our first service centre in Sham Shui Po in 2013 and over the years we’ve served over 3,000+ kids aged 6 to 18 years old, providing 400+ classes per year. Our focus is to empower disadvantaged kids with opportunities to overcome the poverty cycle through enriching them with educational and developmental programs.
What is The Hub’s focus this year?
While we have been very successful with the number of younger children and their families using the centre’s services, as well as with the range of services we provide, we see a need to support more of the older children. They are not always easy to engage, so youth programs are high on the agenda this year and we are working with some corporate supporters to provide programs for teenagers to help them prepare for further education and, eventually, employment. We’re also planning to expand our services in the areas of STEM education which I believe is the key to job security and equal opportunities for the future success of the next generation.
Any future plans for The Hub?
Recent government statistics are haunting and still shows that the poverty situation in Hong Kong hasn’t improved, with even more children now classified as disadvantaged. So one of our foremost goals is to provide further facilities in other low-income areas. We hope to set up our second Hub centre in Hong Kong and have it up and running in a couple of years’ time. We have recently grouped all our Hubs in Asia under the roof of “The Hubs of Asia” (www.thehubsofasia.org) – that includes Hong Kong, Thailand and the newest one in Yangon, Myammar. It’s our vision to see more Hubs set up in Asia to provide and serve children in need with non-discrimination.
As the co-founder of The Hub, can you tell us about the importance of child education?
I think we all realize that the education we receive lays down the map of our life. All children deserve the best possible opportunity to access education and one of the core programs at The Hub is daily homework support, supplemented by various classes in languages and other knowledge-based classes. This might be the most important thing we do for children whose parents can’t afford tutors and coaches to help them keep up. But education nowadays is beyond academics. That’s why we offer a wide range of the extra-curricular activities to equip them with soft skills such as critical thinking, leadership, teamwork, communication and social skills, all of which will help them merge better into this increasingly competitive world.
Why is giving back to the society so important?
I’m sure anyone who’s had success has also had support somewhere along the line, with a degree of luck. When you look at what people like Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet are doing with the vast sums they have accumulated, you can find the inspiration to do something to “give back”. And you don’t have to look around very far to see opportunities. We can’t have a good society unless it is based on generosity and fairness.
How to raise awareness for a charity?
We organize our own fundraising events such as the Annual Gala in October, Charity Concert as a means of updating supporters and bringing them together, but we also have a team of three wonderful ladies working with various foundations, corporate supporters and other individuals to involve them in our work. Word of mouth is an important element – our donors and supporters come to visit us at the Centre to understand and experience our work first-hand and usually afterwards they’d want to tell their friends and connect us to others. We also make use of social media to engage the regular interests of our supporters and promote our cause.
How can people support The Hub?
People can always be a part of our fundraising events – whether it is through participation, donation or sponsorship. They can also make direct donations through our website www.thehubhk.org and other donation platforms such www.twopresents.com, www.simplygiving.com, www.heart.hk01.com . I would encourage people to connect with us through our website or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/hubhk/. – our team can always guide them to an area of our work they’d like to support. Sometimes it’s not just about money – people can also give their time and expertise as volunteers. We work with a lot of large corporations for their CSR projects. We also collaborate with other NGOs to leverage on each other’s strengths and resources and make our charitable work more efficient, so we welcome organizations that share similar synergies to contact us.
Who’s your #legend?
As you know, we are fortunate to have a generous supporter who is a Hollywood producer and he has brought a major Hollywood movie star to our Gala each year since our first event in 2013. The first star who came was the late Carrie Fisher and she was amazing in the way she supported the charity while in Hong Kong. Meeting some of these famous people and reading what they, and others, do with their time and money is eye-opening. I first met Michelle Yeoh at a Hong Kong Cancer Fund Ball some years back – she was a wonderful supporter of the Cancer Fund. George Clooney quietly does some great things in the community. But I guess we would all say the real legends are not necessarily the famous ones. There are so many people who give so much to others. Reverend Bill Crews, who has spent his life looking after the needy in Sydney – incidentally the original home town for both David and myself – was one of the main inspirations for the formation of The Hub Hong Kong. Bill could certainly qualify as a #legend.