6.2 The Donation from the Jockey Club

After securing the Site and detailed planning of the design of the campus, the next important step was to ensure sufficient funds in the coffers to commence the construction process.

The donation from the Jockey Club was the key source of funding which allowed CDNIS to build its present campus. 

Fund-raising has never been easy. This applies in particular to secure donation from an institution such as the Jockey Club which is the target from many charitable organizations for funding. In 1995, the Board, chaired by Chisholm Lyons, invited Maria Mui, a governor, to join CDNIS’ Special Events Committee for fund-raising. 

CDNIS was blessed with the fact that Maria Mui had the proper channel to reach both then Chairman of the Jockey Club, Sir John Swaine, and its Deputy Chairman, Mr. C.H. Wong. 

The introduction of CDNIS to Sir John Swaine was started in April 29, 1994 at the Reception Dinner to host the Canadian Governor General, Mr. Ramon Hnatyshyn. 

Subsequent to that occasion, Maria Mui had arranged a preliminary meeting with Mr. C.H. Wong informally in 1994 to have an understanding of the proper approach to the Jockey Club for funding. The meeting was attended together with John Crawford. 

On January 7, 1995, Ching-Wo Ng met with David Yau, an official of the Jockey Club so as to enable the latter to prepare a report on CDNIS to the Jockey Club. The initial request was for the sum of 110 million was considered as too large. Another concern was that international schools were generally perceived as for the privileged class only. The philosophy of CDNIS on quality education at an affordable price and its ability to carry out that mandate consistently since its inception were conveyed and David Yau had a better grasp of the situation to begin his report. 

The report prepared by David Yau made it possible and opportune to follow up with a meeting with the stewards. 

On January 15, 1995, Maria Mui hosted a luncheon party at Toscana, an Italian Restaurant at Ritz Carlton Hotel. For CDNIS, Chisholm Lyons, John Crawford, Ed Rubin and Vincent Lee attended and for Jockey Club, by Sir John Swaine, C.H. Wong and David Gairns. 


The representatives of the stewards from the Jockey Club were key members in the Jockey Club’s decision on allocation of funds. This fact was actually ascertained by both Maria and Vincent so as to ensure the approach by the Board was on the right track. That crucial meeting together with the clear support from Hong Kong government of the project through the initiative of Madam Anson Chan and Mr. Garrett Lambert, then Commissioner for Canada, were able to open door for CDNIS that would not otherwise be opened. 

Having explained the project to the senior stewards of the Jockey Club and converting some with sympathetic ears, Chisholm responded to the numerous initial questions raised and attended to the technical side of the quests raised by David Yau and a formal application to the Jockey Club was made in March 1995. The original request was for 0 million – which consisted of 150 million for the school construction and 60 million for slope costs, road widening and additional foundation works. 

The application was conducted with expediency and the Jockey Club responded for further queries by a letter dated April 6, 1995 and John Crawford, Li Ho-kin, Nick Burns, Ching-Wo Ng, Vincent Lee, Bill Lam and Ed Rubin all helped prepare the collective answers to the queries raised by, and to the satisfaction of, the Jockey Club. 

As stated in Chisholm’s memo to all the members of the Board on May 6, 1995, “The future of the School is now in the hands of the Jockey Club and the government.” The hand of fate turned in favour of CDNIS and the Jockey Club agreed to donate 90 million to cover the proposed construction cost of the superstructure in the same year and CDNIS was therefore able to commence construction and put itself on the map.

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