By KENNETH KWOK and RELENA SEI
Jumpstarting Asia’s next-generation leadership in impact and sustainability
Representing the beginning of the ‘Decade of Action’ and marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN), 2020 is a significant year on many counts. However, due to COVID-19, many meaningful events for children throughout the year have either been postponed or canceled.
Although Hong Kong was experiencing its third wave of the virus, Jumpstart was determined to find a way to run its annual Summer kids’ program. The team reached out to two other organizations in the city, Family Mask and the MXA Group, to turn the crisis into an opportunity to make a difference.
The Jumpstart Kids: Young SDG Leaders (Junior Edition) program went live on July 27, 2020. Participating students went through a three-week program covering the UN’s role and the pressing importance of working toward its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
An essential tenet of the program was that age was not a barrier to achieving purposeful impact in less- and least-developed countries. As such, the kids were empowered to complete tasks that would support at-risk communities around the world with medical-grade Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They had the opportunity to visit a face mask manufacturing facility and personally prepare and package their donation to a foundation that aligns with their personal SDGs.
We had the chance to interview three families who created a multi-generational legacy, to understand why they were involved in the Young SDG Leaders program and what impact means to them.
The Chungs: Teddy, Faye, Jessie and Jayden
Family Mask, a homegrown Hong Kong impact startup, was founded by Jessie Chung to fulfill a simple mission: to end the critical shortage of PPE to create a safer and healthier world.
Teddy Chung, Jessie’s father, says that Jessie had just returned from a trip to China and Japan when shortages of PPE were becoming dire. She approached her father with an “almost-wild plan”: to get a mask manufacturing facility up and running within a few weeks and start filling the demand gap.
Family Mask was founded to cater to the Hong Kong demand gap initially, but soon extended its reach globally to address shortages in the most severely affected communities. So far, Family Mask has donated over 1 million face masks to communities in need, with the help of partner organizations in the UN Global Compact Community as well as members of the Global Shapers Community and the Forum of Young Global Leaders, both initiatives of the World Economic Forum.
The family’s commitment and engagement with UN activities led them to all choose a unique SDG that reflects their own life experiences. Teddy, Faye, Jessie and Jayden chose SDGs 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption), 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), 5 (Gender Equality), and 14 (Life under Water), respectively. For Jessie, this decision was particularly personal.
“My path as an entrepreneur wasn’t paved with roses as a girl in a male-dominated world. We must work towards ending discrimination against women and girls everywhere,” she says.
Following the Jumpstart Kids: Young SDG Leaders program and all that Family Mask has done in line with the SDGs, Teddy believes his children have been equipped with all they need to make impactful contributions to the world.
“I guess I’ve done my part of providing them with quality education,” he says. “Now it’s their turn to use that knowledge to explore possibilities.”
The Kwans: James, Joanna, Lauren, and Alyssa
umpstart Media is a leading ecosystem builder for entrepreneurship, with a mission to make innovation matter. The company operates at the intersection of technological and sustainable development, and has been an advocate for corporate social responsibility since its founding.
Its social enterprise, Jumpstart Kids, has been running for three years, but the pandemic led the company to pivot to partnering with Young SDG Leaders. The Jumpstart Kids: Young SDG Leaders program educates students aged between 6 and 13 on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Lauren and Alyssa, daughters of Jumpstart’s Executive Chairman James Kwan, were also part of the Jumpstart Kids program. The 13-year-old twins were most passionate about ‘SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth’ and ‘SDG 13: Climate Action,’ respectively. They felt an immense sense of satisfaction knowing that they were helping a community organization that aligned with their SDG.
As a father of three girls, James is passionate about ‘SDG 5: Gender Equality.’
“I want [my daughters] to have equal access and opportunities to their male counterparts, and not be treated as inferiors,” he says.
With a magazine that’s distributed in over 1,500 locations in 11 countries, Jumpstart Media hopes to leverage its broad reach to set a precedent for other organizations in the Asia-Pacific region in sowing the seeds of social responsibility in young minds. The company aspires to increase the program’s geographic scope and involve more participants in the following years.
James is conscious of how a mentality of giving back must be ingrained in the global populace.
“We are all citizens of the world, and helping one another should be something natural,” he says. “The journey to lend a hand never ends.”
The Wongs: Fian, Joe, Jace, and Jake
Innovation is a primary pillar and passion of the MXA Group. With its name inspired by Newton’s second law of motion, which describes the relationship between an object’s mass and the amount of force needed to accelerate it, the Group’s focus is to create a force of sustainability by leveraging technology, logistics, and healthcare to bring about tangible improvements to day-to-day life.
Its companies include Hong Kong-based logitech service, GOLS HK, and Seoul-based technology platform developer, nNtuple.
The forces behind MXA Group are the husband and wife duo, Fian and Joe. As investors and serial entrepreneurs, they have witnessed firsthand that a truly sustainable initiative must be measurable, scalable, and be innovation-driven–values they will undoubtedly imbue in their children, Jace and Jake.
Jace is the youngest participant of the Young SDG Leaders program; his chosen SDG is ‘SDG 5: Gender Equality.’ His younger one-year-old brother Jake claps in excitement when Jace teaches him the word ‘equality.’
“Jace is very just-minded and soft-hearted, so he looks for a fair outcome in everything. The soft-heartedness, especially about gender, comes from his love for the influential women in his life,” says Joe.
While Fian and Joe look forward to guiding their children and inspiring them to make a positive impact to “better the planet,” they are also mindful of giving them the space to explore and pursue their own ambitions.
“As they grow, I hope to see how they each develop in their personalities and use their beliefs to guide them on their unique journeys,” says Joe. “It will hopefully allow them to make a positive impact.”
About the Authors
Kenneth is the Founder and CEO of Global Citizen Capital, and the Co-founder of the MXA Group and Family Mask. He is an advocate for sustainable development toward a high quality of life through ESG and impact investments. Kenneth received a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Relena is the CEO of Jumpstart Media. She is experienced in several industries, including PR, fashion, law, and property development. Relena served as the Interim COO of NY Silent Models prior to joining Latham and Watkins. During her time as a capital markets lawyer, she focused on IPOs, debt issues, and cross-border M&As. Relena received her J.D. from Harvard Law School.
This article was written in partnership with Jumpstart and Family Mask.