Nature Society, Aware and SPD win top prizes at Charity Governance Awards

From left to right: Council Member of Nature Society Margie Hall (Singapore), SPD's President Chia Yong Yong, and Aware's Executive Director Corinna Lim.
From left to right: Council Member of Nature Society Margie Hall (Singapore), SPD's President Chia Yong Yong, and Aware's Executive Director Corinna Lim. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - The Nature Society Singapore (NSS) and the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) have been lauded at the Charity Governance Awards (CGA) for the first time.

The two charities were among the top three overall winners along with the Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD), which had previously won in 2012.

NSS won in the small category for charities with gross annual receipts of less than $1 million in the two immediate preceding years, while Aware won in the medium category. SPD won in the large category for those with gross annual receipts of $10 million and above.

The awards were handed out on Wednesday (Sept 28) night at the Sheraton Towers Hotel. The three charities were recognised for their excellent standards in eight key areas of governance.

Launched in 2012 by the Charity Council, the award recognises the best governed charities in the sector, while simultaneously setting a standard for others to achieve.

Breaking from the self-nomination system of previous years, this year's winners were selected from a pool of 35 Charity Transparency Award winners. This award was introduced by the Charity Council this year to recognise charities with good disclosure practices.

"Transparency is a key pillar of good governance," said Mr Gerard Ee, Charity Council Chairman during the award ceremony. "Therefore, as part of the review, it was a considered decision to place more emphasis on transparency and disclosure so as to nudge charities towards our shared vision of a self-regulating sector that is well- governed, thriving and receiving strong public support."

This year's winners impressed the judges with their performance in areas such as governance and management, integrity, transparency and succession planning.

Each charity had diverse measures in place to meet the criteria.

Environmental organisation NSS recently set up an internal audit committee, while Aware has made great strides in ensuring that its board members are familiar with the group's work and have the right skills for the job.

The prizes, which included a plaque and $10,000 for each CGA winner, were presented by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.

She said: "By recognising charities with exemplary disclosure practices and high standards of transparency, we are setting the standards expected of the sector."