50 For 50 campaign ends with $4.5 million raised for local charities

SINGAPORE - After two rounds of fund-raising, social campaign 50 For 50 drew to a close last month with close to $2.25 million raised for local charities, which was matched equally by the Government for a total of $4.5 million.

Beyond raising funds, many of the 80 young people and companies who participated also launched sustainable projects to help the 58 charities, such as through social media campaigns or providing training or employment opportunities for beneficiaries.

Ms Rebekah Lin, 30, and Ms Cheryl Chong, 29, friends and founders of The Social Co. - the team behind the campaign - thanked participants at a brunch event at *Scape on Saturday.

They also outlined plans for their next project - 1 For 1 - which aims to get all Singaporeans to give $1 to charity.

"If all Singaporeans donate just a dollar, which is around a sixth of the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee, collectively the amount could have a great impact on Singapore," said Ms Lin.

The duo are hoping to roll out the campaign in the first half of next year to help around 10 lesser-known charities that work in areas such as mental health, elderly, children with special needs and social cohesion. The funds will be managed by the Community Chest, said Ms Lin.

For now, The Social Co is working with some of the 50 For 50 participants to continue implementing their ideas. Some of the 38 projects developed include:

- The Social Pantry, by Mr Ang Kian Peng, 38, director of Samsui Supplies and Services, a subsidiary of Soup RestaurantGroup. Beneficiary: Movement for the Intellectually Disabled Singapore (MINDS)

Mr Ang started a warehouse project last year to supply pantry items such as biscuits and coffee to offices, providing employment for around 12 to 20 MINDS beneficiaries who help to pick and pack items to be delivered. A new website is being launched this month to expand the reach of the project. "It's a sustainable project that we hope can continue indefinitely," said Mr Ang.

- Floristry training, by Ms Pauline Ho, 28, owner of floral studio Fleurapy. Beneficiary: Casa Raudha Women Home, a shelter for abused women and children

Ms Ho conducts training workshops for women at the shelter, and has linked up with larger studios who are open to hiring well-trained florist assistants. "We want to allow the women to see that floristry can be a revenue generating area, and an option if they can't hold a full-time job," she said. She will employ those who are interested as part-timers at her studio first, so they can be sure the job is a good fit. "Some people don't know what they are signing up for. It's not all a bed of roses."

- Concerts and masterclasses, by composer Tze Toh, 37, and musicians of TO Ensemble. Beneficiary: Very Special Arts Singapore (VSA)

From giving music lessons to VSA musicians, to performing together at concerts and events, Mr Toh hopes his project will empower the beneficiaries to become role models for others. "We hope that by collaborating more with professional artistes outside, some of the musicians will be able to step forward and inspire others in their ranks. It's important that people think of themselves as being able to achieve everything despite their limitations," he said. He and colleagues from TO Ensemble are also offering to perform at house concerts to raise funds for and raise awareness about VSA.