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Dear Friends of ACS,

We hope that you have all been keeping well, and staying healthy and connected. 

ACS has had a full 8 weeks since our last newsletter : 
  • In terms of program delivery, 3 out of 4 ACS programs went online: IGNITE, ASCEND and ENGAGE have all now been presented virtually. 
  • At a macro level,  ACS collaborated with other NGOs to form an NGO Taskforce which surveyed our peers and then, amazingly, successfully lobbied the HK Government for subsidies on salaries to be extended to registered charities. This relief is now available under the Employment Support Scheme, part of the Government’s second round of emergency funding announced on 8 April 2020, to all employers (critically, including NGOs) who maintain an MPF scheme.  
  • The Taskforce then drafted an open letter to funders to encourage trust, flexibility and multi-year unrestricted funding, and more holistic partnerships between funders and nonprofits. Our ultimate goal is to change mindsets and to move (one step at a time) towards a more inclusive, civil society.  
10 weeks ago, we were all mostly going about our own business. With these challenging times have come many opportunities to collaborate and grow the community: whether to jointly deliver service, or to jointly bid to extend or renew grants, or simply to work smarter, better and more efficiently, to support and learn from one another.  
 
This quarter, the themes of ACS seminars and workshops focus on Corporate Communications, Resilience and Mental Health, all topics which have been on our minds since “Covid19” became part of everyday speech. 

In this marathon, while we work in the present to secure emergency and bridging funding to ease the cashflow crunch of the next 6 months, and to save jobs, let us also remember to look beyond the crisis to how we can rebuild our organisations, the sector, and Hong Kong, in order to thrive again once the crisis is past. What is our unique role and offering to the greater social ecosystem?  

The ACS Team
Covid-19 Emergency Responses &
Other Resources and Opportunities
The HK Government Anti-Epidemic Emergency Fund has designated more than HK$130 billion to support enterprises, employees and the public. Learn more about the Employment Support Scheme here.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has designated HK$100 million in its COVID-19 Emergency Fund for eligible charities to fight the virus and a further HK$30 million towards the distribution of anti-epidemic care packs to vulnerable groups. Learn more here.

HSBC Hong Kong Community Partnership Programme 2020 is open for application, for grants ranging from HKD200,000 - HKD700,000, up to 6 May 2020.  The Programme seeks to inspire district-based community initiatives to address the needs of disadvantaged groups.  Learn more here.

The HK Church Network for the Poor Love in Action Fundraiser uses small individual donations of HK$1,200 each to buy meals from small local eateries to feed poor individuals who live in the area, for a win-win outcomeLearn more here.

FringeBacker Virtual Run Against COVID-19 benefitting Hong Kong Charities is an open challenge not just for runners but for anyone to have some fun while supporting the charities. The challenge begins on Monday, 27 April 2020. You can get your charity on the shortlist or rally your community to participate. Learn more here.

Social Career has established an online platform for the distribution of free essential supplies to vulnerable groups during this COVID-19 crisis. Learn more here.  
 

The Open Letter to Funders drafted by the NGO Taskforce is here for you to refer to and use in your discussions with your funders.  We hope to encourage conversations on trust, multi-year unrestricted funding under flexible conditions and a more complete partnership between nonprofit organisations and their funders.

Probono Legal Support: If you are an NGO in need of probono legal support on employment law-related issues, please complete this short questionnaire here.
 

HBS Community Partners is hosting a free webinar on how to keep your NGO afloat and plan for the rest of 2020. Learn more here

DreamImpact, an ACS Community Partner, recently launched the DI Studio initiative to support social impact organizations for online engagement in your video production, webinars, online streaming, etc. Find out more here and mention "ACS" to get a 50% off their standard rates, valid till 31 May 2020.

LinkedIn offers a free learning path with 16 online courses on Working Remotely that can help both employees and managers navigate the challenges of working remotely and managing a remote workforce. Learn more here.

Volunteering Opportunities: If you are looking for volunteering opportunities at this time when many NGOs need more hands and feet to deliver their services, learn more from HandsOn HK and Social Career.
What We've Been Up To

A series of “First” milestones:

Coming Up at ACS
Check out our full event calendar for 2020 here and save the dates!

IGNITE Online Seminar: Resilience in the Face of COVID-19

-   How can NGOs fundraise better and smarter during this time ?
-   How does a financial sustainability plan make an NGO more resilient ?

Learn to be a more effective and resilient Leader, Team and  NGO, both during this time of crisis, and beyond, as we look ahead to the post-Covid19 rebuilding work. 
Join us for a facilitated workshop, interactive breakout groups and a panel discussion with NGO leaders.  Sign up, and we look forward to seeing you on April 28, 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm.
Join Now
I am a Face of ACS: John Louie
John Louie is a well-known face of ACS, having started as a regular volunteer in 2013 at the ASCEND workshops, before devoting 3 years (from 2015-2018) to run the show at ACS as Executive Director. John then left ACS to spend more time with his family and on other pursuits but, to our delight, he allowed himself to be lured back to the fold last year, to assume the role of Director of Volunteer Engagement. He shares his story here :
1.  The 3 words you chose to describe yourself on the ACS website are “Impartial, Sociable, Humorous”. Why?

I try to be objective on issues I’m confronted with and am interested to see and understand different points of view. My detractors would say that I sit on the fence too often. Over the years, I’ve found that humour can help to break the ice and narrow people’s differences. I, therefore, try not to take myself too seriously.

2. An inside joke at ACS is: "No one actually leaves ACS". Could you tell us more about when you first joined ACS as Executive Director (from 2015-2018), and why you returned to re-join the ACS Team last year as Director of Volunteer Engagement?

I was first introduced to ACS by Janice Ng, who was then the IGNITE Program Manager and started volunteering towards the end of 2013. After joining several strategy workshops (now named ASCEND), I was really impressed by the passion and dedication of the NGO leaders who serve their target beneficiary groups tirelessly even though most of their organizations were under-resourced. I also got to know a whole new network of like-minded business professionals from very diverse backgrounds, industries, and fields who were volunteering like me. So I found my volunteering experience and the ACS community extremely stimulating and rewarding.

As my corporate career was winding down, I learnt in 2015 that ACS was recruiting a new ED, so I applied for the position and became a full-time staff member that October. After more than 30 years in the corporate sector, I found managing a small NGO very challenging, but it was also a never-ending learning experience. In retrospect, I thoroughly enjoyed my 3 years as ED, especially the friendships built up with other NGO leaders, volunteers, and our corporate and foundation partners.

After officially becoming a senior citizen, I decided to step down in late 2018 in order to have more time to travel and visit family members overseas, and spend time with my grandson. I’m very much enjoying my present part-time role as Director of Volunteer Engagement at ACS since October last year.

3. You had a successful professional career of more than 30 years in the corporate arena. Could you share an observation of the next generation in the NGO community, as well as a word of encouragement to them? 

What I’ve learnt through my long working career is that no one can be sure what the future will bring and that the only constant in the world is change. So we all need to have a lifelong learning mindset in order to keep up with the constant technological and societal changes. I’ve also learnt that we should always try to think outside the box, and there’s no harm in adopting the trial-and-error method to go forward.

Thank you, John! 
Community Outreach
Have we met you yet? If your organization would like to be included in our community outreach, please send a message to our Outreach Team :
Message us
What We Are Reading 
The social sector needs a lifeline – how everyone can help |  Foundation for Shared Impact
Hong Kong relies on NGOs and social enterprises to provide critical services for under-served populations, such as children and youth, the disabled, migrants, ethnic minorities, and the elderly.  These organizations address a range of issues, from homelessness, poverty, hunger, sanitation and hygiene, and social inclusion...
Implications of COVID-19, From The Perspective Of 500 Social Impact Leaders | Philanthropyu.org
At a time when they are most needed, many social impact organizations must close or limit their operations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They are doing what is best to keep the most vulnerable communities safe. But at what cost? Communities that rely on them will go without essential nutrients, medicine, education, and basic supplies to sustain their families...
What About Migrants And Refugees? The Stark Reality Faced By The World’s Displaced During COVID-19  | Sally Ho | Greenqueen.com.hk
As Covid-19 continues its spread across the world, the pandemic will disproportionately affect the world’s most vulnerable populations, among them asylum seekers, refugees, internally displaced peoples and migrant workers. The world must turn its attention to respond to this global crisis in a way that recognises the acute challenges these communities face…
Don't Let A Virus Stop A Mission | Alix Guerrier | Globalgiving.org
As the COVID-19 pandemic plunges the world into a state of uncertainty, GlobalGiving’s CEO has a simple message to share: we're here to help…
Beware the Perfectly Average Nonprofit |  Stanford Social Innovation Review
The typical capacity building focuses on fixing nonprofits' weaknesses. It instead should start with the premise that every organization has core strengths on which it can build…
We hope you enjoyed reading our newsletter and  found the links to resources helpful.  We invite you to share our newsletter with your friends, colleagues and industry peers, and to get in touch with us to find out about volunteering opportunities. If you would like to support the work of ACS, your donation will be gratefully received and applied towards expanding the impact of our work.  Thank you in advance for your generosity.
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