11 Jan 2013

Link Together Initiatives launched to advance Sustainable Community Development

The Link REIT (“The Link”) announced today the official establishment of its charity and community engagement project, “The Link Together Initiatives” (“the Initiatives”).  With the appointment of HKCSS WiseGiving Limited (“WiseGiving”), a subsidiary of The Hong Kong Council of Social Service (“HKCSS”) as consultant and partner, the Initiatives will enable The Link to advance sustainable development for the communities that it serves and further The Link’s vision of serving and improving the lives of the people around us.
 
Following the passing of a special resolution at The Link’s Annual General Meeting held in July 2012, The Link will contribute an amount up to 0.25% of its net property income of the previous financial year to charity and community engagement.  By linking up charitable donations and property income, The Link extends the way that it serves the communities around its properties.  Eligible beneficiaries of “The Link Together Initiatives” include any charitable organisation in Hong Kong which has received tax-exempt status under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance and has been providing its social service to the people of Hong Kong.
 
The Initiative’s service focus will initially support the well-being of the elderly and the disadvantaged as well as education, training and development of children and youth services in communities at where The Link operates.  Through the support of community projects, The Link hopes elderly residents can enjoy fulfilling and dignified lives, while children can have access to a range of beneficial services in their communities.
 
Nicholas SALLNOW-SMITH, Chairman of The Link Management Limited, said, “As the owner-manager of a large portfolio of properties in Hong Kong, The Link is always mindful of the role we play in the daily lives of people living around our properties and always seek to operate our business in a manner that supports this diverse community. The launch of the charity and community engagement programme will help us provide this support more flexibly and more effectively.”
 
He added that for 2012-13, the donation amount will be up to HK$10 million.  Each approved project will have a maximum budget of 30% of the total fund, some HK$3 million, an amount sufficient to support a meaningful project.
 
The Link would also like to express its heartfelt gratitude to WiseGiving for serving as consultant for “The Link Together Initiatives”.  WiseGiving will facilitate the smooth operation of the Initiatives by advising The Link on how best to focus its giving in order to maximize social impact.  This includes defining which service focus areas to support, screening applications, conducting due diligence and identifying the most appropriate NGO partners to implement the Initiatives.  Christine FANG, BBS, JP, Chief Executive of HKCSS, added, “Many of The Link’s properties are situated in grassroots communities.  We support ‘The Link Together Initiatives’ to strengthen community support and to build a friendly, healthy and caring environment for those in need.” 
 
To encourage the involvement of staff, The Link invited employees to participate in a naming competition for this charity and community engagement programme.  After careful assessment, the official name – “The Link Together Initiatives” – was selected from over 130 entries.  George HONGCHOY, Chief Executive Officer of The Link Management Limited, said, “As the name of the programme clearly shows, we are dedicated to spreading our care to the community, by strengthening our support to the community, in order that The Link and the communities are tied closer together.  We will continue to invite our staff to participate in the projects sponsored by ‘The Link Together Initiatives’ in the future, including volunteer activities, site visits and other joint events.” 
 
In order that all charitable donations are properly used and managed, all successful applicants are required to provide The Link with at least two regular updates (within the project’s one-year tenure) and a final evaluation report within one month following the completion of the project.  
 
WiseGiving will invite the 400 agency members of HKCSS, all the welfare letting tenants under The Link portfolio and other relevant non-government organisations to submit applications in February 2013.
 
Timetable of the launch of “The Link Together Initiatives”

Invitation for applications February,  2013
Preliminary screening and invitation to suitable organisations to submit full proposals April, 2013
Deadline for submitting full proposals May, 2013
Review and shortlist of proposals May - June, 2013
Selection and approval of projects July, 2013
Funding approval August, 2013
Launch of sponsored projects September, 2013
Submission of midterm report by charitable organisations March, 2014
Submission of full term report by charitable organisations September, 2014
 
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