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Volume 8, Pages 802-810

Enthusiasm-Based or Evidence-Based Charities: Personal Reflections Based on the Project P.A.T.H.S. in Hong Kong

1Centre for Quality of Life, Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
2Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau, Macau
3Social Welfare Practice and Research Centre, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Received 2 July 2008; Revised 2 August 2008; Accepted 10 August 2008

Copyright © 2008 Daniel T. L.¬†Shek.


In charitable foundations throughout the world, different approaches are used to allocate funding. As many projects with good will (i.e., enthusiasm-based charity) actually fail to help those who really need it, it is argued that the evidence-based approach (i.e., charity guided by scientific evidence) represents the best strategy to support projects that can really help the needy. Using this approach, scientific research findings are systematically used to (1) understand the nature of the problem and/or social needs, (2) design appropriate intervention programs based on the best available evidence, and (3) systematically evaluate the outcomes of the developed program. Using the Project P.A.T.H.S. funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust as an example, the characteristics underlying this approach are outlined. The systematic use of scientific evidence in the Project P.A.T.H.S. is exemplary in different Chinese societies. This project provides much insight for charitable foundations and funding bodies locally and globally.