Fortitude Budget

Top-ups for 2 fund-raising programmes to boost social service sector

Charities and social service agencies have been facing difficulties like a fall in the number of donations.
Charities and social service agencies have been facing difficulties like a fall in the number of donations.PHOTO: ST FILE

Two fund-raising programmes under the Tote Board and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) will get top-ups to help the social service sector tide over the corona-virus pandemic.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday that charities and social service agencies have been facing difficulties such as fall-ing donations.

He told Parliament during his speech on the fourth Budget for this year that the Tote Board's Enhanced Fund-Raising Programme will get an additional $100 million on top of the $70 million it had already set aside.

The programme will allow charities to receive dollar-for-dollar fund-matching from the Tote Board on eligible donations raised from projects implemented from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, capped at $250,000 per charity.

This includes donations raised through approved digital platforms such as Giving.sg

If a charity hits the $250,000 cap, it will still be able to get a further 40 per cent in fund-matching for eligible projects, capped at $100,000 per project.

Charities must be registered with the Commissioner of Charities to be eligible, and the fund-raising project must not have benefited from other government matching funds such as the Cultural Matching Fund or the Bicentennial Community Fund.

Another programme, the Invictus Fund set up by the NCSS, will get a top-up of $18 million.

The fund is supported by donations raised through the Community Chest, which receives 20 per cent fund-matching from the Bicentennial Community Fund.

It was started to help social service agencies maintain service continuity, retain staff and adopt technology to transform their work amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

As of May 22, the Invictus Fund had raised $6.2 million, and 171 social service agencies had app-lied for it during the first round of applications.

More details on the next round of applications for the fund will be given later.

Mr Heng said these agencies and charities are key partners which have been supporting families and vulnerable groups during the pandemic.

A stronger social service sector will be even more critical in the years ahead, he added.

"I urge our social service agencies to accelerate their digitali-sation efforts, scale up capabilities, and share resources and efforts to solve common challenges," Mr Heng said.

"We will continue to provide our strongest support for you."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2020, with the headline 'Top-ups for 2 fund-raising programmes to boost social service sector'. Print Edition | Subscribe