29 Dec 2008
Unconventional activities by impassioned senior management execs, staff and sales force pull in the funds for needy Singaporeans affected by economic downturn
Singapore, 29 December 2008 - Even in tough times, there's enough love to go around - as NTUC Income has shown with its charity fundraiser, Project Love. The homegrown insurance company's senior management team, staff and sales force have worked to raise more than $300,000 through a series of off-beat and quirky activities, showing that doing well goes hand-in-hand with doing good.
The month-long fundraising campaign will culminate today in a party at Clarke Quay pub Yello Jello where NTUC Income's Public Affairs Head Caroline Fernandez will have her head shaved bald for charity, with contributions expected from on-the-spot donations and amounts pledged by staff, friends and business associates. She will be accompanied by the resident live band, Retro Groove, who will don bald caps as a show of support.
This grand finale caps off a month of other exciting activities that included yoga sessions led by NTUC Income's CEO Tan Suee Chieh, a 42-hour hunger drive by a Senior Vice President, a car wash in costume by three female Senior Vice Presidents, a cabaret by the sales division, a concert by the senior management team and a football match between NTUC Income staff and Singapore's former national team players.
As at 26 December, the amount raised was $330,000, which exceeded the original $300,000 target by some 10 percent. More than 80 percent of the funds raised came from individuals. About 1,000 NTUC Income staff were involved in the fundraising, out of the company's 1,500 staff and 500 financial consultants.
Commenting on the success of Project Love, NTUC Income Chief Executive Tan Suee Chieh thanked his staff and their supporters for surpassing the fundraising target, attributing it to the high level of staff participation at all levels and the company's ongoing commitment to helping the needy.
He said: "Project Love was conceived to help needy Singaporeans in this economic downturn, as part of NTUC Income's important social purpose. Our success in surpassing the fundraising target shows that even in tough times, it is possible to raise money for a good cause. A contribution comprising largely individual donations is the most powerful demonstration of our social purpose during these times, and we are heartened by the level of enthusiasm that has come forth from our staff and supporters who rose to the challenge.
"It also speaks as much about NTUC Income's transformation into a vibrant workplace where people work as hard as they play, with autonomy to explore unconventional ways to achieve goals while injecting a sense of fun and excitement in the process."
Every single cent collected in Project Love will go to charity. The funds raised will go towards NTUC's Care and Share programme, an umbrella initiative by the Labour Movement covering several programmes aimed at helping needy children and the elderly. Part of the proceeds will also go towards the Moral Home for Disabled, the Singapore Children's Society, and Action for Aids. The small amounts raised by the departments will be used for fulfilling wishes such as towels, sleepwear, slippers, soap and shampoo from some homes for the elderly and needy.
Project Love also marks the first time NTUC Income has used the Internet media platform for its charity drive, by sharing details of Project Love, including event highlights, photos and updates on the fundraising progress, on Facebook. This can be accessed by Facebook users by typing 'Income Love' in the search field. Details are also available at the following website: http://projectlove.income.com.sg.
Marking the end of this unusual fundraiser, NTUC Income's Public Affairs Head Caroline Fernandez will be beseeching staff, friends and business associates for dedications in this grand finale. Those attending will be treated to the sight of Caroline Fernandez having her head shaved.
Explaining the rationale to sacrifice her tresses in the name of charity, she said: "I was largely persuaded by my CEO, Tan Suee Chieh. He's a difficult man to refuse (in the best possible sense). He agreed to contribute part of the proceeds to Action for AIDS, where I'm
currently a member of the EXCO.
"There is only a finite amount of money I can contribute. But this dare is sufficiently dramatic in drawing awareness for the project, the charities, and helped to raise more funds. So through this act, I hope to have made a difference somewhat. Plus I could do with some celestial brownie points."
Commenting on her act of sacrifice, Mr Tan said: "I asked Caroline because she is one of the few people who have the courage to overcome this fear for the cause (AfA) she believes in. Also given her gregarious personality, no one is capable of making a greater and more dramatic impact in the NTUC Income ecology. And I know, after this, she will know how to reposition her new look as a new paragon of style for NTUC Income!
"I tried going bald on Christmas Eve online - it felt rather good, but then again I am a man, and it was for a few hours. Honestly, it is a big sacrifice Caroline is making, but few can do this as well as she can. I am grateful that she does - this finale gives the whole Project Love a certain edge."
An Overview of Events
CEO Yoga Session - Bend Over Backwards for Charity
NTUC Income CEO Tan Suee Chieh, who has been practising yoga for about four years, led yoga sessions at the NTUC Income Centre Auditorium which staff participated in by making a donation.
A total of 60 staff attended the two sessions.
Quote by Mr Tan: "I have asked my staff to bend over backwards for charity - Laurence on a 42 hour hunger strike and Caroline to shave her hair. And as I felt that it is important to lead example, I am also doing something unusual to raise funds.
"I thought for the staff to see me in various yoga poses - twisting my legs round my head, stand on my head, touching my ear with my toes - would fit the bill and keep them entertained. This is my bending over backwards for charity!
"Besides, we advocate work-life balance and a healthy lifestyle, and yoga is an excellent form of activity for people of all ages, types and health status."
Charity Car Wash - Suee Chieh's Angels Will Wash
Three female Senior Vice-Presidents rolled up their sleeves to generate donations by washing cars at NTUC Income Centre's basement car park, dressed up as Charlie's Angels.
Head Shaving Fundraiser - Boldly Bald
NTUC Income's Public Affairs Head Caroline Fernandez will have her head shaved bald for charity at this dedicated fundraising event, with contributions expected from on-the-spot donations and amounts pledged by staff, friends and business associates.
Charity Hunger Drive - Hungry for LOVE
NTUC Income's Senior Vice President and General Manager for Partnership Distribution, Laurence Wong, embarked on a 42-hour long fast to raise funds for charity. He lived within the office premises for the duration of the fast and was monitered on CCTV cameras. His updates on his progress were shared via Facebook. The dare culminated in a buffet dinner at the NUSS Guild House, where he broke his fast and shared his thoughts and experiences. Mr Wong's fast raised about $35,000.
Charity Football Fundraiser - Cup of LOVE
A team comprising of selected NTUC Income staff pitted their soccer skills against the former Singapore national team who competed in the Malaysia Cup. Players who made an appearance included household names like Dollah Kassim, Quah Kim Song, V Sundramoorhty, David Lee, Lim Tong Hai, Nazri Nasir, and Amin Nasir. The game was refereed by Joanne Tan, one of the few licensed woman referees in Singapore.