SINGAPORE – A total of 249 top donors and partners were recognised for their contributions to the Community Chest on Wednesday (Oct 9).

The Community Chest Awards ceremony at the Istana also marked the launch of the Step Up 200 initiative, which honours 20 organisations and individual donors for their increased fundraising and engagement efforts to rally the community in giving.

The United Overseas Bank (UOB) took home the highest accolade of the night – the Pinnacle Award – which recognises an organisation for being exemplary in holistic caring, and is a role model in the giving of donations; volunteerism and/or making non-monetary contributions; and inclusive employment.

The bank was recognised for partnering social service agencies in the recruitment of employees.

Its UOB Scan Hub, the bank’s key nerve centre for the digitisation and archival of customer documents, employs 23 persons with disabilities from the Autism Resource Centre, Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds), and SPD.

Other reward recipients included CapitaLand, which received the Charity Award for significant donations to the Community Chest; Heartwarmers and Changi Airport Group which received the Volunteer Partner Award for their exemplary regular volunteerism scheme; and SMRT and Resorts World Sentosa, which received the Enabler Award for significant non-monetary contributions that resulted in substantial cost savings or a multiplier effect in outreach or fundraising efforts for the Community Chest.

“We are encouraged to see many partners stepping up to pursue giving beyond monetary donations. Some have integrated inclusive business practices in their hiring, while others use their skills and talent to make a difference in the lives of others,” said Mr Phillip Tan, chairman of the Community Chest.

“We hope these exemplary organisations and individuals will inspire more to take action in building a caring and inclusive society for all.”

Wednesday night’s event was attended by President Halimah Yacob, patron-in-chief of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), and hosted by Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, patron of the NCSS.

The 20 organisations and individual donors under the Step Up 200 initiative had unlocked the dollar-for-dollar matching – which is up to 20 per cent of total donations garnered till March 31 next year – from the Bicentennial Community Fund.

One of the donors was Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which raised S$426,000, 22 per cent more than the previous year’s donations.

It reached out to the public and its business partners for donations through the “Double the Love” campaign, where SPH matched public donations dollar-for-dollar up to S$350,000, as well as opened its 35th Anniversary Charity Concert to social service users.