Alfred Chuang from Kensington Capital Partners Wins the 2023 Ted Anderson Community Leadership Award
When Alfred Chuang was five years old, he and his family immigrated to Canada from the Philippines. Witnessing his parent’s daily struggles starting over in a foreign country, including looking for employment and affordable housing, made a lasting impression on Chuang.
After obtaining his accounting degree from the University of Waterloo, Chuang spent much of his career working in the pension space. “I was drawn to the public mandate of the work as it involved helping to ensure the financial security of pensioners,” Chuang recalls.
Chuang quickly developed a passion for social impact, and one that extended beyond his day job. From 2012 to 2018, for example, he served as a Board Member at Access Alliance, a multicultural health and community services organization with the mission of improving health outcomes for immigrants, refugees, and other communities that have been made vulnerable by systemic barriers and poverty. As the organization’s treasurer, Chuang played an integral role in its financial stewardship and advocated for attention around key social determinants of health, including precarious employment, housing, and mental health.
In 2018, Chuang got the opportunity to join the HPC Housing Investment Corporation, a social impact fund focused on providing low-cost financing to housing nonprofits. As CFO, he helped build the organization’s infrastructure, fundraising, and operations from the ground up. An inaugural financing round resulted in two significant housing projects that created homes for more than 270 low-to-moderate income families in Western Canada.
“As a father with three kids who will eventually need to find their own homes, I spend a lot of time thinking about the lack of affordable housing in Canada,” says Chuang. “It’s a complex problem that requires public-private partnership to solve and one that I feel very strongly about.”
Since 2019, Chuang has been on the board of Support House, an agency that provides housing at the intersection of mental health and addiction issues. As a member of the Finance Committee, he’s heavily involved in the process of launching two housing projects in the Halton region. In 2020, he also helped create a safe beds program in Oakville, converting office space into shelter beds.
“Alfred has been instrumental in helping to drive this organization forward and pushing us to build additional housing stock for the unhoused across the Halton region,” says Support House Executive Director Paul Gregory. “He’s always up for a challenge and has dedicated an enormous amount of time, expertise, and conviction to his work with us, and has helped pave the way for a potential of $28 million worth of construction over the next several years.”
In 2021, Chuang joined Kensington Capital Partners as Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer. He was drawn to the firm in large part because its mission, which goes beyond building businesses, but also partnerships and communities. “It’s not just about the returns we’re generating at Kensington, it’s also about the value that we’re able to generate.”
At Kensington, Chuang has leaned into another of his interests, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors in investing. He also puts that interest to work at the CVCA, where he actively contributes to both the ESG and Technology CFO working groups. Chuang believes that strengthening governance and standardized reporting are crucial steps to bring about meaningful conversations that will ultimately shape future policies and decision-making.
“The endeavors I undertake are strongly aligned with my lived experiences” says Chuang. “I know firsthand what it’s like to be a newcomer to Canada and how difficult that transition can be. Navigating your way through the challenges of finding housing and employment can take a real toll on your mental health. My mom and dad owned a business back in the Philippines, but decided to give that up in hopes of a better future for their kids and in the process worked several labour-intensive jobs in order to support us.”
Chuang says he is humbled to win the Ted Anderson Community Leadership Award and is quick to point out that issues like housing and mental health are everyone’s problem and need to be dealt with accordingly. “No one can afford to turn a blind eye on these challenges that are both national and local,” he says. “One way or another, it impacts all of us and we are seeing the impacts to our communities. We need to work together to address these issues and there are many ways people can contribute to drive change.”