I believe that communities thrive when there is an interdependent culture and we’re all looking out for one another. I give back because I am able to and hope to ensure others in similar positions to do the same so that we can work together to help alleviate poverty.
Meet Kevin Hung
Tell me a bit about yourself.
I am currently an engineer at an engineering consulting company in the city. Been with this company for 10 years now. On top of my regular duties, I also run the majority of the events/campaigns including the United Way campaign. I tend to be called the “displaced” engineer because I do everything else on top of my regular work. So, it's long hours, but I think it’s worth it.
How long have you lived in Edmonton?
Lived in Edmonton all my life. To be exact, 35 years … yikes.
Tell me about some of your hobbies and interests.
Most people around the office think I’m sort of this great avid runner. I only started eight years ago realizing an office job makes people “bigger”. I would call myself a weekend warrior runner. I’ve run seven marathons and over 50 half marathons in eight years. I tend to do more “run-cations” as an excuse to travel to somewhere else and just casually run the marathon to enjoy the sights. Also, another excuse to go to Disney World without any kids. People give you that weird look when a grown man without any kids goes to Disney World. At least I can say, I’m running the marathon there. So “run-cations” tend to combine my interest to see the world and eat as much as I want because I’m running a race. Don’t ask me what my times are because I’d rather finish the race and enjoy the experience with my legs intact.
What is something that you are most proud of?
Personally, I’m most proud of a recent accomplishment. I completed my MBA degree last year. It was a part time program where I had to attend classes after working all day long. So, it was a long grind for four years where I rarely had time to do anything with family and friends. I could have coasted through, but I had made it a goal to take it seriously and make a concerted effort to do the best I can. I made it through, had a big celebration with family and friends as sort of an apology for not seeing me, postponing events, or asking that they book at least three months in advance.
I guess another thing I’m proud of was our recent United Way campaign. I have been the Employee Campaign Chair for our company since 2013. We are part of the United Way Engineering Challenge. It’s a collaboration of many engineering companies to share ideas, do a Day of Caring, and most importantly get points on our respective campaigns. This year proved challenging as the engineering sector was hit hard with the downturn in the economy. We ran an efficient campaign, just trying to get the message out. We exceeded our goals which showed that even in a downturn, we can still rally together and raise money for a great cause. In the end, our company won the Engineering Challenge award for the first time since its inception 11 years ago. I was quite surprised of the result myself. I was also nominated for Best Employee Campaign Chair, Private Sector which is also a proud moment.
What is your approach to philanthropy and community?
I’m not a big fan of just giving money blindly. I donate to causes where there is a plan for the money. It’s easy to give money to solve a problem. But, it’s just as important to find the root cause of the problem and solve it. Like the story of giving the fish to a starving person. It’s easy to do that. But, they’ll just ask for another fish afterwards. It’s best to teach that person how to fish so they can do it themselves rather than ask for it every day.
Why do you support United Way?
United Way has programs that create pathways out of poverty through their three pillars of focus: Education, Income and Wellness. That’s why I donate to United Way. They are trying to solve the root cause of problems.
What inspired you to give?
Our company runs a United Way campaign in house. At first, I would donate just because our company matched our donations. It was getting a better bang for the same buck. It was a company sponsored payroll deduction program so its spread out over many pay period. In the end, you don’t even notice the minor deduction off your paycheque. As I learned more about United Way programs, it inspired me to continue to give. I remember one day in my youth where I had forgotten my lunch at home. It was not the best feeling ever. I was not really focused. Luckily, my teacher gave me an apple to eat. It taught me a lesson to remember to bring my lunch before I leave the house. But, I imagine how kids can learn when they don’t have a meal program like E4C provides.
How long have you been supporting United Way?
I’ve been supporting United Way since 2008.
Why is it important to give back to your community?
Growing up on the North side has its challenges. I was fortunate enough to have a supporting family that can support me during my younger years, especially university. But, I see the challenges of people trying to make ends meet. That’s my motivation to give back to my community.
At an Engineering Challenge Day of Caring event at KARA (on the North side), a random stranger approached me asking what we were doing. I told the gentleman that it was a group of engineering companies pooling their resources to make enhancements to the KARA facility that they would have not been able to do themselves. The engineering companies (even during hard times) donated the money and resources to make this Day of Caring possible. He mentioned he had lived in this neighbourhood all his life and projects like this makes the community whole again. I thought it was cool that people in the neighbourhood would notice.