Wealth Blog

Get behind Mission Possible and beat last year’s Sevens triumph

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 March, 2014, 9:41am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 March, 2014, 5:57pm

At last, a man with a mission and a breath of fresh air after all those cliched charity balls. We’re talking about Mission Possible, a fund raiser that’s fun, with zero expenses and every cent spent going to the charities. With only four weeks to go until the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens (March 28 to 30), there’s still time to dig deep in your pockets. Last year retired financier Peter Bennett amazed everyone by raising HK$2.8 million for local charities with a box he persuaded the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union to donate.

HKRFU: three year deal
Mission Possible was so successful the RFU Community Foundation has wisely decided to do it again, in fact for three years, as equal partners with the Peter Bennett Foundation. In addition to ramping up its role, the RFU has given him a great box right by the raucous South Stand.

Donations claimable against tax
Mission Possible has Section 88 charity status and all the sponsorship and donations go direct to the four local charities. In no particular order, they are SoCO, the Society for Community Organisation, which help alleviate poverty, particularly for sub-divided flat dwellers. Then there’s the Crossroads Foundation, which collects surplus goods and distributes them to the needy. Third is the Changing Young Lives Foundation, which helps many people in many ways at its Sham Shui Po centre, but particularly with classes for single parents and after school activities. Last but not least is the Po Leung Kuk Scholarship Fund, which helps students with university places finance their studies.

Background cheques
Being from a business background, Bennett happily leans on his former finance sector chums to dig deep into their pockets. It’s only right, says Bennett, they got their break in Hong Kong and it’s their opportunity to give back to their adopted community.  High on his thank-you list are the Holiday Inn, who supply the food and staff for the box throughout the Sevens. “Without Holiday Inn and the Harilela family we simply could not do it,” he says. Others on his good-guys list include insurance giant AIG and LIM, (George Long’s Long Investment Management) and hedge funds CQS Global and Double Haven. But they took little persuading. “As soon as I told them what I was doing, they put their hands in their pockets immediately,” says Bennett. Then there’s Wine Shop Asia, who supplies the booze for the Mission Possible Sevens box.

Giving is Easy
Now is the time to choose how you can make Bennett’s and the RFU’s dream of raising HK$3.5m come true. You can be a gold, silver or platinum sponsor for HK$50,000 to HK$500,000. Or you could donate an auction prize. Luckily, says Bennett, he knows lots of fortunate folks with gorgeous holiday homes and divine wines, who are in the enviable position of being able to share these for charity. Then there’s a chance to have one of the 76 seats in the Mission Possible box for the Sevens. Minimum donations are HK$15,000. Not cheap, agrees Bennett, but it all goes direct to the right causes. Bennett and his daughter Jessica are once more set to prove the Sevens can be about much more than fun. Visit www.missionpossible.org.hk and see how you can do some good.

Queen’s Taunton – no Chinese houses
Since this is my last blog, I’ll take the chance to say thank you all for reading and writing to me.

I’d also like to put straight what seems to be a misunderstanding. I received a note from Henrietta Lightwood, marketing and development director of Queen’s College Taunton, an independent school in Somerset, south west England.

“You made reference to my school having ‘Chinese Houses’. I would be interested to learn where you get your information as we certainly don’t house students together in nationalities,” she says. In fact, they integrate students with in-depth EAL programmes and a myriad of co-curricular activities, trips and events.

Queen’s was second choice for my daughter’s secondary school and during the selection process, I was indeed led to believe by another headmaster that Queen’s had specific houses for Chinese pupils. Apologies Queen’s, obviously not the case. She continues: “Our pastoral care is rated as excellent and Queen’s is described by our students themselves as a warm, friendly school where life-long friendships are made.  I hope that Chinese families feel very welcome at Queen’s College.”  I’m sure they do and again, apologies for the misunderstanding.