Koon Ho Yan: Keeping It In The Family
Discover the portrait of Koon Ho Yan, who set up the EasyKnit Foundation.
“Doing it as a family really helps. We grew up together and have our own bond. What makes a family so different from anything else is the support within. We review it together and decide whether or not we want to go forward.”
Koon Ho Yan, founder, EasyKnit Charitable Foundation
Family is at the centre of the EasyKnit Foundation’s activities. For 32-year-old Koon Ho Yan, who set up the foundation named after the family business in Hong Kong, it was an opportunity to “align my passion with the interest of the group”. All the initiatives they support are funded from the profits of two businesses under the EasyKnit Group, which was founded by her father and started out as a garment trading company but has now expanded to include real estate and finance.
Ms Yan observes that large family businesses in Hong Kong are well placed to engage in philanthropic activities. “I think it’s very well-structured in Hong Kong, to the extent that it’s easy for a big business like us to start up a foundation,” she explains. She believes their familiarity with legal and banking requirements helps them navigate more easily through the complexities of setting up and running a foundation.
The EasyKnit Foundation also relies on the expertise and views of the company board members and family members to review and approve projects. “I will have to find a project, come up with a proposal and estimate how much money I will need. I then present it to the board for approval. It’s done on a project-byproject basis.” In this way, Ms Yan was able to secure financial support for the J Life Foundation, which aims to alleviate child poverty and provide support for low-income families in Hong Kong.
But for Ms Yan it goes beyond the formalities of the review and approval process. It is a way to channel her family’s values into efforts to improve the lives of other families. “Doing it as a family really helps. We grew up together and have our own bond. What makes a family so different from anything else is the support within. We review it together and decide whether or not we want to go forward.”