The launch of the President’s Challenge 2012 saw the introduction of two new elements in this annual fund-raising event: volunteerism and social entrepreneurship.
By Yong Yung Shin
Doing good works does not have to be limited to giving money or even one’s time or effort. Sometimes, an opportunity is all that’s needed to give somebody a hand up; hence the promotion of social enterprise as one of the two new elements in the President’s Challenge 2012.
Launched at *SCAPE on March 27, President’s Challenge 2012 will include a President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award, which aims to recognize outstanding social enterprises which have made significant and sustained contributions to the disadvantaged in society.
Already, Singapore boasts a growing number of social enterprises. For the launch, Adrenalin Events, which trains and employs disadvantaged youths and persons with physical disabilities, was engaged to provide event management services.
The food served during the reception was catered from Laksania, a social enterprise that trains and employs individuals who have received help from the Institute of Mental Health.
Those in attendance, including guest-of-honor President Tony Tan Keng Yam, Minister for Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports Mr Chan Chun Sing and Minister of State for MCYS, Madam Halimah Yacob, plus PC beneficiaries, were treated to an edgy dance performance by dancers from O School, yet another social enterprise that channels its earnings from dance classes and concerts towards financing the education of low-income Singaporean youth.
At the same time, volunteering one’s time and talents should be encouraged among the Singaporean public, hence the introduction of the second new initiative—the President’s Challenge Volunteer Drive, an awareness campaign to promote volunteerism as a way of life. That said, fund-raising will continue to be the focus of President’s Challenge 2012.
“We will expand the volunteering element in the President’s Challenge. Volunteerism should be universal and inclusive. Anyone, regardless of occupation, education or income, can make a difference by contributing their time, energy and ability for the good of their communities,” said the President. Currently, a little more than one-fifth of Singaporeans volunteer.
The launch also saw the unveiling of the new President’s Challenge logo, comprising four quadrants of a heart in four colors, each one representing giving in a different form: fundraising, volunteering, the encouragement of social enterprises and the giving of one’s self for a good cause.
Since it was founded in 2000 by former President S R Nathan, the President’s Challenge has successfully raised more than S$110 million for approximately 500 beneficiaries. In line with the growing demands on the social service sector, 55 social service organizations will benefit from the funds raised this year, up from 39 organizations last year.