SINGAPORE - Community Chest raised more than $87 million for social service agencies in Singapore and gave out $58 million to its funded programmes in the last financial year.
The money supported the activities of 100 social service agencies and 200 critical programmes, as well as multiple Covid-19-related causes such as The Courage Fund and The Invictus Fund.
In a keynote speech during an annual award ceremony to honour organisations for their community contributions held at the Istana on Tuesday (Oct 19), Community Chest chairman Phillip Tan also said that about $4 million has been given out to 4,500 beneficiaries under The Courage Fund, which has been expanded to support those that continue to be impacted by the pandemic.
The Courage Fund was set up in 2003 for healthcare workers and victims who battled the severe acute respiratory syndrome.
A total of 90 social service agencies have also benefited from The Invictus Fund, which disbursed about $7 million last year.
It was set up by the National Council of Social Service to channel private donations to social service agencies that deliver critical services to vulnerable groups.
In his speech, Mr Tan commended companies for rising to the challenge despite the difficulty of raising funds during the pandemic.
"We are grateful for our partners' sustained support despite the restrictions. This has enabled us to uplift the lives of those in need of assistance, especially during these challenging times. It is with their dedication towards the social service sector that we can enable service users to achieve their potential and flourish," he said.
A total of 190 organisations and individuals were honoured at the awards ceremony on Tuesday, which was attended by President Halimah Yacob and Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli.
Singapore Exchange (SGX) received the Pinnacle Award - the highest honour given by Community Chest to recognise an organisation for donations, volunteerism and inclusive hiring - for its initiatives last year.
SGX raised more than $3.6 million through its annual SGX Bull Charge Charity Run, which followed a virtual format last year.
The money benefited organisations including AWWA, Autism Association (Singapore), Fei Yue Community Services, HCSA Community Services and Shared Services for Charities.
Through SGX Cares, its outreach volunteering initiative, the company mobilised its employees to clock more than 1,300 volunteering hours in activities such as packing and delivering care packages to lower-income families, and art jamming sessions for individuals with autism.
Mr Lee Beng Hong, senior managing director and head of fixed income, currencies and commodities at SGX, said the company was heartened by the recognition from Community Chest.
"SGX Cares beneficiaries can continue to count on our diverse and international community of business, data and technology partners, as well as staff volunteers, to exemplify the spirit of 'Better Happens Together'," he said.
Property developer CapitaLand Group received the Volunteer Partner Award while its philanthropic arm, CapitaLand Hope Foundation, received the Charity Platinum Award.
Capitaland collaborated with The Food Bank Singapore to provide more than 44,000 meals and food bundles for those in need.
More than 150 staff and their family members volunteered to deliver meals to beneficiaries.
Noting the need to address future challenges facing the social sector, Mr Tan said it was important to develop the capabilities of social service agencies here in the long term.
He added: "This is why Community Chest has also started fundraising for the Community Capability Trust, a fund that will enable our social service agencies to have strong organisational and manpower competencies to enhance the quality of their services and in turn support more service users.
"We hope our partners and donors can join us on this journey to build a strong social service sector for the future."