50 For 50 campaign raises $4.5m for charity

Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng (centre) in a panel discussion on charity initiatives, moderated by National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre chief executive Melissa Kwee (far left).
Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng (centre) in a panel discussion on charity initiatives, moderated by National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre chief executive Melissa Kwee (far left).PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Team behind charity drive now wants to roll out 1 For 1 - to get all S'poreans to give $1

They managed to raise $4.5 million for charity in 19 months.

Now, the team behind the social campaign 50 For 50 have come up with another novel idea to raise funds - by getting all Singaporeans to donate $1 each.

They call it 1 For 1.

"If all Singaporeans donate just a dollar, collectively, the amount could have a great impact on Singapore," said Ms Rebekah Lin, 30, who along with her friend Cheryl Chong, 29, founded The Social Co. - the team behind 50 For 50.

The duo hopes to roll out the new campaign in the first half of next year to help around 10 lesser-known charities that work in areas such as mental health, elderly care, children with special needs and social cohesion.

The project was launched through social campaign 50 For 50, which drew to a close last month with close to $2.25 million raised for 58 local charities, which was matched equally by the Government.

Details are being worked out, but they are considering developing a mobile app and school campaigns. The funds will be managed by the Community Chest, said Ms Lin.

The team launched 50 For 50 in September 2014 as an SG50 project, to get 50 young people to help lesser-known charities here through fund-raising projects, such as dinners and sales. In the second part of the campaign, young people and companies launched 38 sustainable projects to help the charities, like running social media campaigns, or providing training or employment opportunities for beneficiaries.

By the time 50 For 50 drew to a close last month, it raised close to $2.25 million for 58 local charities, matched equally by the Government, for a total of $4.5 million.

One of the beneficiaries was voluntary welfare organisation Care Corner, which operates a youth centre in Teck Ghee to provide a safe space and activities for around 50 young people aged 10 to 18.

Non-profit design group Participate in Design (P!D) participated in one of the 50 For 50 projects to help redesign the centre for free, with the help of the youth who use it.

The group's director Mizah Rahman, 29, an architecturally-trained designer, said working together with the young people created something special. "We want to give them the tools and empower them to carry on contributing," she added.

Mr Daniel Ong, 54, Care Corner's head of youth services, said they hoped involving the youth in the revamp would help them feel a sense of ownership of the space, and it seems to be working. "They're proud of their ideas and invite their friends to come along," he said.

Yesterday, during an event at *Scape to thank those who took part in 50 For 50, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Baey Yam Keng, also joined a panel discussion on charity projects.

Responding to comments that initiatives sometimes run into roadblocks when working with Government agencies, such as when cooking for beneficiaries, he said : "Beneficiaries deserve the best... It's not just because we are doing it for low-income groups, or VWOs, that we can have sub-standard (rules)."


Correction note: An earlier version of this article stated that Mizah Rahman is a trained architect, this is incorrect, she is actually an architecturally-trained designer. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 24, 2016, with the headline '50 For 50 campaign raises $4.5m for charity'. Print Edition | Subscribe