Speech by President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the President’s Challenge Appreciation Reception held on 27 January 2016 at 7.30pm at the Istana

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good evening

The President’s Challenge is a movement supported by the kindness and generosity of people from all walks of life, regardless of culture, religion or family background.  Through the generous support of like-minded people, we have raised close to $10.5 million in 2015.  Coupled with government matching from the Care & Share movement, the total amount will be potentially doubled. The funds will go to 87 charities to help disadvantaged families and individuals live fuller and more meaningful lives.

2015 was an eventful year for the President’s Challenge.  A record number of 64 organisations participated in the movement.  Together, they organised 50 fundraising events - almost one every week.  More than 10,000 volunteers also came together to support the various PC events.  A record number of over 40 social enterprises were also nominated for the President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award in 2015. 

In 2015, we also commemorated 15 years of President’s Challenge by paying tribute to our major and loyal supporters who helped us raised over $160 million for the needy since the movement started in 2000.  I would like to extend my appreciation to all of you, who continue to give strong support to the President’s Challenge.  These include corporations such as MediaCorp, Singapore Press Holdings and ST Engineering, not-for-profit organisations such as People’s Association, Lee Foundation, Stephen Riady Group of Foundations as well as many individuals. I also thank the Singapore Tote Board and Singapore Pools for their continued contributions towards the movement’s administrative cost.

I am especially pleased that we have the support of various religious organisations.  The Charity Briyani initiative by MUIS and Masjid Khalid has been an annual feature since President’s Challenge was established 15 years ago. Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple and the Hindu Endowment Board have been steadfast supporters for many years. Last year, the Adam Road Presbyterian Church came on board to rally over 1,000 youth from the church, The Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade and Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Secondary School to raise funds and volunteer their time to serve eight President’s Challenge’s beneficiaries and over 800 needy residents in Toa Payoh. 

2015 also saw pre-schoolers taking part in the President’s Challenge for the first time through the “Start Small, Dream Big” initiative developed by the Early Childhood Development Agency. Some 5,000 children from 150 pre-schools, and their dedicated teachers and supportive parents, took part in meaningful activities that make a difference in the lives of others. I hope their participation can provide the foundation for them to be kind and big-hearted later in life. 

Even as we work with the very young, we have not forgotten to tap on the contributions of the elderly. In 2015, I launched the President’s Challenge Silver Volunteer Fund to boost senior volunteerism. Through the Fund, I hope to create a corp of senior volunteers. Senior Singaporeans can continue to contribute as active and valued members of our society.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the President’s Challenge is now a wide ranging movement to encourage Singaporeans to care for one another, especially those amongst us who have less. Your generous support towards the President’s Challenge helps us further this goal. Your active participation makes our nation a better home for all, and Singapore a more cohesive and inclusive society. 

Thank you for your support. Have an enjoyable evening.