James Chen (www.jameschen.vision) is a Hong Kong based philanthropist. He is a key proponent of the concept of ‘catalytic philanthropy’, which like a business investment, involves putting loss-absorbing capital, expertise and a deep understanding of issues into a cause to bring about long-term change.
James has used this form of philanthropy to focus on two key areas, early childhood literacy and the world’s largest unmet disability: poor vision. He is the Founder of Clearly (www.clearly.world) (est 2016), a global campaign aiming to bring clear vision to the 2.5 billion people who are denied it, and the author of: “Clearly: How a 700 Year Old Invention Can Change the World Forever”, in which James explains his mission and identifies the barriers to delivering universal access to glasses.
As an innovative blended value investor, James co-founded the variable power lens technology company Adlens (www.adlens.com) (est 2005), and is Founder and Trustee of Vision for a Nation (www.visionforanation.net) (est 2008), an award-winning charity, working to make eye care accessible globally. In just five years, Vision for a Nation established a transformative, sustainable eye care service in Rwanda that is now accessible to its entire population of 12 million people. It has now moved into Ghana to roll out its programme.
James was an early adopter of venture philanthropy with the Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation (www.cysff.org) (est 2003). Alongside his wife, Su Lee, the Foundation founded Bring Me a Book Hong Kong (www.bringmeabook.org.hk) (est 2006), an NGO promoting family literacy, and the Feng ZiKai Chinese Children’s Picture Book Award (www.fengzikaibookaward.org) (est 2008). He is the Chairman of his family’s enterprise Wahum Group Holdings.