The Next Step With Amanda Cheung
Graduate of the University of Cambridge and daughter of David Cheung and Michelle Ong-Cheung, Amanda Cheung knows a thing or two about philanthropy, thanks to her mother’s Hong Kong-based charitable organisation, First Initiative Foundation (FIF).
With an aim to “uplift the Hong Kong community at home and abroad”, the Foundation has fundraised for its outreach programmes in arts, culture and heritage since 2011.
Supporting FIF from a young age, Amanda has taken up the role of managing director to futher the Foundation's endeavour to empower local communities and shed light on local talents.
In our ‘The Next Step’ series—where we pose six questions to Hong Kong-based women about their philanthropic work—Amanda spoke to us about where her charitable ambitions started, the importance of giving back and her current and future projects.
How and when did you first get involved in philanthropic work?
As a young child, I joined my family volunteering on visits to elderly care centres and orphanages, bringing them toys and gifts and just spending time with them. These experiences taught me the value of caring for others and giving back to the community from an early age.
When I was a bit older, I wanted to participate more and my mum let me help with her charitable initiatives. She was very encouraging and made me realise that there are many ways to give back, and that—whether big or small—we must get involved.
What are the causes you care about?
I’ve always cared about causes that relate to equal access to opportunity. I am personally most interested in educational and art initiatives, as I believe everyone should get to experience the joy of learning and be inspired by the beauty and refuge art can provide in our busy lives.
Since moving back to Hong Kong, I've seen so much talent in the local community. This led me to become more involved in events that provide a platform for HK creatives to showcase their work, as well as working with internationally renowned artists to create mentorship initiatives that not only nurture and cultivate our local community, but also offer exposure to the arts industry.
See more: It Girl: Amanda Cheung
Which of your philanthropic endeavours are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the 'Meet the T.Rex exhibition we held this summer—an initiative aimed to inspire all to be curious and take a fun approach to learning.
For the first time in Hong Kong, we brought in a 12-metre-long T-rex skeleton and other museum-grade fossils that visitors could touch. We purposely took an awe-inspiring object and put it in the middle of IFC mall—making it accessible and approachable for the public— to emphasise that fun learning is for all and not restricted to the classroom or museum.
Why is giving back to the community important to you?
I learned the importance of giving back from a young age. Hong Kong, this city where I grew up and proudly call home, has given me so much that it is my responsibility to give back and play a part in its uplift and betterment.
Can you tell us what are you working on right now?
On December 1 we will celebrate FIF’s charitable initiative "The Art of Music". Keeping with FIF's focus on community outreach, heritage and cultural enhancement, the event will be presented at and hosted in conjunction with Tai Kwun on Hollywood Road.
The evening will start with dinner at Aqua Group’s new restaurant The Chinese Library, followed by a recital by internationally renowned pianist Clive Britton. He will play Franz Liszt’s Sposalizio while images of the artworks that inspired him in 1837 will be projected in the background. The performance will also be livestreamed at the outdoor theatre for the public to enjoy.
The Foundation has also prepared a special light installation in collaboration with local curator, Karen Chan, that will be showcased in the evening at the Tai Kwun Parade Ground for public viewing.
See also: Will Travel For Art: 10 Global Exhibitions To See This Winter
What is your next step?
I will continue to work with my team at FIF to provide multifaceted experiences for the public. We will continue to focus on art, as well as cultural and educational projects, to promote Hong Kong heritage and talent to the rest of the world while giving equal importance to bringing in international talent for the Hong Kong public to enjoy. Stay tuned!
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