8 January 2003 - There has been an outpouring of support from the public to the highly-anticipated Ren Ci Charity Show - Channel U’s charity project - which will be brought "live" to viewers from the University Cultural Centre at 7.30pm on Sunday (Jan 11).
Most of the tickets for the two-hour star-studded show in the 1,450-seat theatre have been snapped up. And even before the hotlines start ringing, generous pledges of donations have already come in.
In the last few weeks, dozens of volunteers, from students, housewives, retirees to young professionals, have been pitching in to set up the show and charity drive, which aims to raise $5 million for Ren Ci Hospital and Medical Care.
"We now have a surplus of volunteers. Support from the public has just been overwhelming," said Ms Alison Hack, Corporate Affairs Manager of Ren Ci Hospital and Medical Centre.
Over at SPH MediaWorks, artistes from Channel U have been going all out to perfect their acts and performances to make this year’s show even more exciting and spectacular. Many of them are still going through their final paces, with two days away from the show on Sunday. Hong Kong stars Lisa Wang, Nancy Sit and Lor Kar Ying and local singing sensation Stefanie Sun will also perform in the show.
Last year, the Channel U’s flagship charity show raised nearly $6.5 million – the largest collection for a single event in Singapore.
Commenting on Channel U’s efforts, Ms Alison Hack, Corporate Affairs Manager of Ren Ci Hospital and Medical Centre, said: "Channel U’s celebrities have been super. I hear they have suffered all sorts of injuries during their stunt try-outs but yet they are asking us after Venerable Shi Ming Yi’s health and urging him to look after himself, eat and rest well. I have not seen more selfless and sincere stars like them. We are truly, truly lucky to have them rooting for our patients."
MediaWorks’ Chief Operating Officer Man Shu Sum said the funds raised this year would be used to improve facililties for Ren Ci patients, such as setting up therapeutic gardens and nostalgic corners for reminiscence therapy.
"For us at MediaWorks, Ren Ci is no longer a production to grab ratings and viewerships. What motivates our artistes is how they can help raise even more money for the needy. This is remarkable and given their enthusiasm and compassion, I believe they can surpass all expectations," said Mr Man.
SPH´s unwavering support for community and charity causes
The Ren Ci Charity Show is just one of the many charity and community events which the SPH group has contributed to as part of its social corporate responsibility to foster community spirit and make a positive difference.
SPH believes that healthy companies need healthy communities. As a good corporate citizen, it maintains that it has a social responsibility for the continued well-being of the broader communities which have helped the company grow – in good times and bad.
It demonstrated its unwavering commitment through its support for various community and charity events last year, despite the gloomy economy.
The media group and its subsidiaries helped raise over $11 million in funds for various charities, donated $20.368 million to charity bodies and sponsored about $1.8 million in worthy causes, ranging from arts and culture, education, conservation, to sports and community development.
“More and more businesses today accept that corporations are citizens with responsibilities and obligations that go beyond making money and providing jobs,´´ says Mr Alan Chan, CEO of SPH.
“That is why corporate citizenship is gaining momentum, despite the challenging business environment. And many companies have demonstrated this by walking the talk and reaching out to the communities.
“Good corporate citizenship is good business. Increasingly, large companies view this as a strategic business investment which will enhance their licence to operate in the community. It is a win-win for both the corporation and the community. For SPH, we see our community involvement as a way of giving back to the community. I am also very gratified that so many of our staff have come forward so willingly to help the less fortunate ”
Here are the highlights of SPH’s fund-raising and sponsorship projects in 2003
ST School Pocket Money Fund
One of its top fund-raisers is undoubtedly The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, initiated by its flagship English daily in October 2000 to give financial assistance to needy students from low-income families.
In the first year (2000), The Straits Times raised $1.3 million and supported 3,735 beneficiaries, followed by $2.5 million in 2001 for 7,177 students and $3.4 million in 2002 for 9,500. Last year (2003), despite the poor economy, the Fund managed to collect $3.5 million which will go to support 11,000 kids. This brings the total amount
raised by The Straits Times to $10.5 million.
The newspaper´s effort in community service has also helped it to clinch the “Newspaper of the Year” award in 2002 given by the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers´ Association (PANPA).
The New Paper Big Walk
The New Paper Big Walk in May last year raised $100,000 for the Singapore Amateur Athletics Association to promote walking as a mass community sports.
The New Paper also did its part in August for the less fortunate through Be Yourself Day, a fund-raising event targeting students, raising $66,000 for President´s Challenge.
The Chinese newspapers, through the “Show You Care, Buy a Tile” charity project, raised $316,000 for the Challenge. SPH MediaWorks artists also lent their star appeal to help sell the ready-made ceramic wall tiles to the public at a two-day road show. These efforts boosted the funds raised during the week-long charity drive from Aug 29 to Sept 14 to $9 million since the President´s Challenge started three years ago.
Coin sale to help Kidney Dialysis Foundation
The Chinese newspapers also raised $25,000 through the a charity sale of the Year of Goat Venhonia Commemorative Coin in aid of the Kidney Dialysis Foundation.
Business Times Christmas auction
The Business Times, which has been organising an annual Christmas auction, raised $11,000 in December for charity. The financial daily has not named the beneficiary yet.
Community Chest´s Share programme
SPH has been a corporate donor of the Community Chest´s SHARE programme since November 1993. The company, which matches employees´ monthly contribution dollar-for-dollar, contributes about $5,000 each month to ComChest. Its 2003 contribution was about $60,800. SPH was given a corporate bronze medal by the Community Chest in recognition of its contribution.
Tamil Murasu raises $500,000 seed money for trust fund
Tamil Murasu spearheaded the setting up of the G Sarangapany Education Trust Fund to help raise the education potential of Indian students in Singapore and provide financial assistance to the needy ones. The fund, which will be launched on 18 Jan 2004 by President SR Nathan, has raised the initial seed money of $500,000.
Displaying a strong spirit of volunteerism, some SPH staff also went out of their way to raise funds for the charity homes adopted by their departments under the SPH Adopt-a-Charity programme, launched in 2001.
These departments include Administration, Customer Service, Information Technology and Classified. Administration, for instance, raised $1,123 for the Society for the Visually Handicapped´s White Cane Day last year while Customer Service donated $600 to the
Singapore Cheshire Home.
Last month (December), SPH staff from various divisions banded together to hold an in-house charity bazaar to raise money for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. From the sale of fruit baskets, cakes, second-hand items to handicrafts, the bazaar raised $13,600.
Many others chipped in through creative fund-raising ways. Straits Times reporter Soh Wen Lin held a photo exhibition-cum-charity sale, Life! Sold CDs and books, ST photo-desk produced and sold their works through a commemorative book, ST Home Desk used its Christmas party to raise money, as did the Special Projects Unit, which held a food fair. Some staff simply donated cash.
Fund-raisers from SPH subsidiaries
Channel U’s flagship charity event, the star-studded Ren Ci Charity Show on 12 January 2003, raised $6.5 million – the largest single collection ever achieved in Singapore.
Orchard 290, which manages the Paragon at Orchard Road, also organised its own charity drive through a series of activities during the year and raised nearly $21,000 for various charities and the Pocket Money Fund.
$20 million donation to Press Foundation of Singapore
In August 2003, SPH contributed $20 million to the Press Foundation of Singapore, a charity organisation set up in January 2003 to help build a life-long learning community that embraces language enrichment, creativity, diversity, healthy living and sports.
Following the donation, the Foundation organised a day-long Conference on The Use of Newspapers in Teaching and Learning on Nov 17, which was attended by 420 primary and secondary school teachers.
Aid to 30 charities
During the year, SPH, through its Corporate Relations Division, donated some $168,000 to about 30 charity and non-profit organisations, ranging from welfare and senior citizens home, Singapore Red Cross Society, Samaritans of Singapore, to handicap associations, children´s homes and other needy charity functions.
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
SPH also contributed $200,000 in 2003 to help set up the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. SPH will contribute $1 million over five years, at $200,000 a year.
Donation to education trust funds
On the education front, SPH donated $5,000 to the G Sarangapany Education Trust Fund, $10,000 to the Education Trust Fund to help needy Malay and Muslim children from low-income families, and $10,000 to the Ong Teng Cheong Education Trust Fund.
Sars Courage Fund
To help Singaporeans and the nation return to to normal in the wake of the bruising impact from the devastating Sars outbreak from March to May last year, SPH joined in national efforts to fight the Sars threat on all fronts.
To galvanise publicity and support for The Courage Fund to help Sars victims and to honour the contribution of health-care workers, SPH newspapers played a crucial role in providing information about the deadly virus and ran numerous appeals for donations in their news pages and on its TV news bulletins and helped the fund net $28.5 million, far more than was anticipated.
SPH newspapers such as The Business Times and The Straits Times worked with Citibank on different charity projects to help collect $176,000 for The Courage Fund.
Sars TV Channel
To help the nation overcome Sars, SPH even joined hands with two other media companies – MediaCorp and StarHub – to set up the Sars Channel in May last year to provide Sars-related programmes and information updates on Sars until the outbreak was brought under control. The channel ended on July 9 2003.
Singapore Contact Bowl Campaign
SPH was also roped in to publicise the Singapore Contact Bowl campaign to help in contact tracing of Sars victims in the event of an outbreak. It sponsored $50,000 worth of ads to launch the campaign in its newspapers and 30,000 publicity posters, stickers and contact cards to raise awareness for the campaign.
For its efforts in helping to fight Sars, SPH was awarded the President´s Certificate of Commendation last National Day.
Despite the difficult business environment, SPH remained an active corporate citizen, contributing some $1.8 million to various worthy causes in the areas of arts and culture, conservation, sports and community development, which reach out to all races.
Its Corporate Relations Division received some 400 requests for sponsorship and donations for the year. Of these, 25 per cent received support, amounting to nearly $1.2 million. They included sponsorship of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, Singapore River HongBao, Chinese Cultural Festival, the Singapore Arts Festival, Singapore Writers´
Festival and SPH-NAC Golden Point Awards, TheatreWorks´ Writers Lab, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, SPH Georgraphy Challenge, Singapore Zoo and Jurong BirdPark.
For its contributions to supporting the local arts and cultural activities, SPH received the Distinguished Patron of the Arts award given by the National Arts Council for the 11th consecutive year, since 1993.
SPH Chinese newspapers forked out $625,000 in sponsorship for various activities to promote the appreciation of Chinese language and culture. These events included Chinese writing competitions, quizes, public seminars and concerts.
Issued by Singapore Press Holdings
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading news and information provider, offering quality content for print, Internet, TV and radio. It publishes 14 newspapers in the four official languages and six lifestyle periodicals. Everyday, 2.78 million individuals, or 90 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications while the online editions of its six main dailies enjoy some 120 million pageviews a month. SPH has ventured into the broadcast medium and operates two popular free-to-air TV channels, Channel U in Chinese and Channel i in English. It also operates two entertainment radio channels, UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English, under a joint venture company UnionWorks with NTUC Media.