Singapore Cares spirit shines through COVID-19 pandemic with rise in community philanthropy and volunteerism
A groundswell of community support has come from individual donors, corporates and community organisations to uplift the vulnerable.
22 June 2020
- While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented challenges, it has also allowed the Singapore Cares spirit to shine. A groundswell of community support has come from individual donors, corporates and community organisations to uplift the vulnerable. From January to May 2020, Singaporeans gave about $90 million to Community Chest, Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS)’s Sayang Sayang Fund (SSF), and through Giving.sg. The amount received in the past five months is about equal to the overall donations received by Community Chest and through the Giving.sg portal for the whole of 2019. In addition, more than 13,300 people signed up to volunteer at Giving.sg from January to May 2020, a rise of almost 18% compared to the same period last year.
- Recognising the community for stepping up to volunteer and donate generously, Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth said, “This pandemic has not dampened our spirit of caring, and instead brought out the best in Singaporeans. It has also shown us that we have many in our community, citizens and all, who care about Singapore deeply. Let us to continue to grow this spirit of Singapore Together, and partner one another to overcome our challenges. By doing so, we will make it through this difficult period, and emerge as a stronger society.”
Overwhelming support from the community
- Community Chest received over $42.2 million from individual donors, ground-up efforts and corporates over the period January to May 2020, with 40% of the donations for COVID-19 related causes, as compared to $22.9 million over the same period last year. For example, companies like global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin donated their Job Support Scheme payments to The Courage Fund and The Invictus Fund in the spirit of shared responsibility and community.
- Since SSF was set up in February 2020, $7.6 million has been raised over a span of four months. SSF has funded over 330 projects that address the urgent needs of individuals, families, and seniors from marginalised backgrounds who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The donations were contributed by more than 4,500 donors comprising of individuals, multinational corporations, foundations, and small and medium-sized enterprises.
- For example, pro wrestling fitness school Grapple MAX presented a sold-out wrestling match as an online fundraising show, which raised $6,000 to support our healthcare professionals. Similarly, home-based natural skin care start-up founder Amanda Moo of Soul Good Project contributed a month’s profit to help those from vulnerable communities. These smaller but equally valuable contributions to the SSF reflect the charitable nature of many Singaporeans who are still willing to donate, even in times of adversity.
Record donations and rise in volunteerism on Giving.sg due to COVID-19
- Following the $600 Solidarity Payment on 14 April 2020, Giving.sg received $20.4 million donations in April. This brings the total sum raised via the portal from January to May 2020 to $40.7 million. The bulk of the donations were directed to COVID-19 related campaigns in aid of migrant workers, healthcare staff and other communities affected by the pandemic.
- Besides donating, more than 13,300 people signed up to volunteer at Giving.sg from January to May 2020, as compared to about 11,300 over the same period last year. This is despite a deliberate reduction of volunteering opportunities to only essential aid services during the circuit breaker period.
Decrease in donations to causes not directly related to COVID-19
- While giving to COVID-19 causes has increased, donations to causes that are not directly related to COVID-19 has decreased. Community Chest projects a 20% to 30% drop in donations in 2020 for its funded programmes. The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) also observed a drop in funds raised for charities in sectors not directly linked to COVID-19, with some experiencing as much as an 80% reduction in donations.
- In aid of these charities, NVPC launched the pilot City of Good Show on 9 May 2020, fronted by a line-up of local comedians. The show garnered 88,000 views and raised over $21,000 as of 18 May 2020. This positive turnout encouraged NVPC to collaborate with theatre company, Dream Academy, to present seven more weekly episodes of The City of Good Show, from 24 June to 5 August 2020, to continue raising funds for these charities.
Contribute to a more caring Singapore
- Individuals from all walks of life and organisations including corporates, community groups, volunteer centres and social service agencies, came together to contribute during the COVID-19 period. They have helped through various ways like distributing essential items such as masks and food supplies, providing emotional support through the National CARE Hotline, caring for seniors who are staying alone, and providing online tuition for children who might be struggling with home-based learning. These good deeds and charitable actions provide a strong momentum for building a caring, cohesive and confident Singapore. The public can visit comchest.sg or Giving.sg, and download the SG Cares App to contribute today.
- “COVID-19 continues to present great challenges and I am encouraged that our community spirit is strong, with Singaporeans from all walks of life and organisations pitching in to help the fight against COVID-19 in their own way. It is imperative that we also focus on needs from the community beyond COVID-19. Our social service agencies need our sustained support so that they can continue to deliver critical services, as well as meet growing and more complex needs in our society. With everyone lending a helping hand and looking out for one another, Singapore will emerge stronger from COVID-19,” said Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development.
Annex A – Examples of Giving
Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Ministry of Social and Family Development
Last updated on 26 June 2020