President's Challenge likely to raise record $13m this year

Metta Cafe apprentices Heng Shen, 26, and Shirley Heng, 28, presenting cookies to President Halimah Yacob and her husband, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, at the President's Challenge appreciation night at the Istana yesterday. Metta Welfare Associati
Metta Cafe apprentices Heng Shen, 26, and Shirley Heng, 28, presenting cookies to President Halimah Yacob and her husband, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, at the President's Challenge appreciation night at the Istana yesterday. Metta Welfare Association is one of the beneficiaries of the Empowering for Life Fund, and the President's Challenge has raised $2.5 million for the fund.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

The President's Challenge is expected to raise $13 million this year, a record amount for the annual community outreach and fund-raising campaign.

As part of the campaign, it has raised $2.5 million for the Empowering for Life Fund (ELF) which was launched earlier this year. This will be matched by the Government, bringing the total to $5 million.

This amount was announced by President Halimah Yacob during the President's Challenge appreciation night at the Istana yesterday.

The ELF aims to empower vulnerable groups through skills upgrading to help them find employment. It supports 13 organisations this year, such as Methodist Welfare Services, Autism Resource Centre and Metta Welfare Association.

Madam Halimah said: "Employment is important as it helps them sustain a livelihood and be independent. More importantly, it helps these individuals and their families regain dignity and self-worth.

"As we talk about SkillsFuture and lifelong learning as a nation, it is perhaps even more critical that we support those who are less fortunate to upgrade their skills, so that they too have fair opportunities to secure employment."

Madam Halimah gave out tokens of appreciation to 70 top donors and volunteers. They included organisations such as the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Institute of Technical Education.

There have also been more donors and volunteers this year. The number of donor organisations grew from 47 in 2013 to 82 this year.

Over 8,000 young people volunteered for the President's Challenge this year, almost 40 per cent more than last year, Madam Halimah said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2018, with the headline 'President's Challenge likely to raise record $13m this year'. Print Edition | Subscribe