HKRU COMMUNITY FOUNDATION USHERS IN NEW CHAPTER OF POSITIVE CHANGE

01 Apr 2022

As it prepares to enter its second decade of supporting the city’s youth, the Hong Kong Rugby Union Community Foundation (the “Foundation”) has announced the appointment of a new Chairman and Board. 

The Foundation was established in 2013 as a charity with the vision of harnessing the positive power of rugby to tackle the most pressing challenges faced by the local community and drive positive change for young people in Hong Kong. Borne out of the community work of the Hong Kong Rugby Union (“HKRU”), the Foundation sits as a wholly independent entity with a charitable mandate.


Since inception, it has developed into one of the leading sport-for-development organisations in the Asia region, with a focus on helping youngsters address issues of social inclusion and dealing with change. Prior to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Foundation was helping over 20,000 youngsters through more than 20 programmes, including Deaf Rugby, Prison Rugby, ADHD Rugby, Refugee Rugby and SEN Rugby. The Foundation works in partnership with the HKRU and local rugby clubs to bring the positive power of sport to young people in need.

Positioning for the future and the need to actively support youngsters that have struggled over the past few years, the Foundation has built a strong platform of funding support for its programmes. Over the past year the HKJC has come on board as a major funder, joining the Kadoorie Foundation, Carbine Club, Cathay Pacific, HSBC, Wilson Group and Ageas, among others. The Foundation is committed to maximizing funding support from the community, charitable entities and corporate partners to extend the reach of its programming.


A new Board has been appointed to realize the Foundation’s mission and is poised to take the charity forward in an exciting new chapter in its history. Pooling together experience, passion and rugby pedigree, the Board aims to be a dynamic driving force for the Foundation’s future growth.


The incoming Chair is Ben Harris, a well-respected member of the legal and business community and who has represented Hong Kong in rugby on the international stage. He is joined by former Hong Kong team mate Jon Abel – the first local player to captain the national team - who has held numerous roles across community rugby. The leading name in the global sport-for-development sector is Laureus Sport for Good, and the Foundation is very fortunate to have Rebecca Dance-Shuker, the Head of Development for Laureus, add her skills to the mix. 


Whilst independent of the HKRU, the Foundation works closely with the team at the HKRU to formulate and deliver its various programmes, as well as significant behind the scenes assistance.  The Board of the Foundation therefore includes members of the HKRU board and management. These are Kim Kan, yet another national player, who sits on the HKRU Board as Director of Women’s Rugby; the current HKRU Chair, Paddy Donovan; and David Greaves, CFO of the HKRU, who has been on the Foundation Board since the very beginning in 2013. 


“I am delighted to take up the role of Foundation Chair, rallying a strong and dynamic team that is wholeheartedly committed to building upon the great work the charity has done during its first decade. As we enter into our second decade, we hope to support even more youngsters and others in our vibrant community. The last few years have been challenging for Hong Kong and the impact on our youth cannot be overstated. We hope the Foundation can play a leading role in supporting youth in need as we recover and regenerate as a community”, said Ben.  “Over the coming months we will work with the Foundation staff on a strategic review to determine our roadmap for the mid-term. We have some exciting initiatives lined up for later in the year, and look forward to engaging with the whole rugby community and beyond as we deliver our promise that sport can change lives.”


Ben Harris - Chair

Ben has been based in Hong Kong since 2000, starting as a banking lawyer with Stephenson Harwood before moving into investment management. Ben is now a Principal at OCP Asia, an Asia-focused alternative investment fund.   

Ben played as fly-half for Valley RFC and HKFC, as well as the Hong Kong XVs team. Ben is currently a coach at Valley Fort where his son plays.

A proud Welshman, Ben is a past President of the St David’s Society of Hong Kong and in that role was instrumental in raising significant funds for Hong Kong charities and arranging various community focused events.

 

Rebecca Dance-Shuker 

Becky has an extensive background in the charity sector generally and is a well-respected expert in the sport-for-development sector. She has held roles with a number of English Premiership football clubs, worked on the legacy programmes for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and is currently Head of Development for Laureus Sport for Good where she leads business development and partnerships with funders, corporates, and philanthropic donors who via the Laureus movement give back to some of the most vulnerable children and young people around the world.   In addition to her Laureus role, she Chairs the British Chamber Social Sustainability committee, and sits on various changemaker groups in APAC including the Richemont DEI committee championing the Disability workplace agenda.

 

Jon Abel

Jon Abel started his rugby at Kai Tak Mini Rugby Club in 1984 and was a product of HK's grassroots rugby, age grade squads and Senior Elite system culminating in his ultimate accolade in 2009 of becoming the first local player to captain Hong Kong's XV's team. He is an active coach at Sai Kung Stingrays Under 8's and Under 10's and is father to 3 children aged 4, 8 and 10. He has held committee and coaching roles at DeA Tigers and is an ex Chairman of the club. 

 

David Greaves

Dave has been the Chief Financial Officer of the Hong Kong Rugby Union since 2013 and has also served previously as a Director of the HKRU Community Foundation

Dave became a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales in 2019 and worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers in both Hong Kong and London prior to joining the HKRU. He is a graduate of the University of Birmingham with a bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree from the Institution.

 

Kim KAN

Kim was born and raised in Hong Kong, and has been an active participant in the Hong Kong’s Women's rugby community since returning after university in the US. She has played more than 100 league games for HKFC, captained their team, and represented the Hong Kong national team over a six year period. She is Director in Business Development for KPMG, and is currently serving her second term as the Director of Women’s Rugby on the HKRU Board.

 

Paddy Donovan

Paddy is a previous Chair of the HKCC Rugby Section, served on their General Committee, and has played across virtually all grades of domestic rugby during his time in Hong Kong.

Off the pitch he is a Chartered Accountant member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, and a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand. He is currently employed as a Managing Director with an international financial services organisation and has more than 20 years experience in finance. He has served on the HKRU Board for almost 9 years as Director of Finance and since 2019 he has been Chairman.


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