Hwa Chong's virtual dinner raises over $50k for Straits Times Pocket Money Fund

SINGAPORE – An annual fundraising dinner, initially scheduled for Saturday (March 21) but subsequently cancelled in light of the social distancing measures enacted to combat the Covid-19 outbreak, has gone virtual.

The event, which was organised by the Hwa Chong Alumni Association as both a fundraiser and a large Founders’ Day Dinner gathering, still managed to raise a total of $52,280 through the sale of 104 tables. This was done through a website where members could purchase virtual tables for $500 each and virtual seats at $50, in celebration of Hwa Chong’s 101st Founders’ Day.

Money raised was donated to the Straits Times Pocket Money Fund on Saturday (Mar 28) in a cheque presentation at the Hwa Chong Alumni Association Club House at 681 Bukit Timah Road.

This virtual fundraising dinner project was led by Mr Chia Min Chong, deputy president of the Hwa Chong Alumni Association and chairman of the Hwa Chong 101 Organising Committee.

“We wanted to have an event that allows our alumni to rally their ex-classmates and friends to come together for Founders’ Day, especially when we cannot gather physically for dinner. We decided that raising funds for a meaningful cause like the Straits Times Pocket Money Fund would do just that,” Mr Chia said.

The website was set up within two days and was promoted on social media. Its design was in the form of a “floor plan”, occupied by virtual dinner tables, which would reflect the names of the donors and allow them to check the progress of the fundraiser.

“This is a meaningful present from Hwa Chongians to our alma-mater, on her 101st Founders’ Day, while giving back to the community,” Mr Chia said.

He added: “It was meaningful for us to celebrate this occasion by putting aside the money which is meant for the Founders’ Day Dinner to a cause – similar to what Mr Tan Kah Kee and many other community leaders did 101 years ago.”

The amount raised will help beneficiaries of the Fund, which provides pocket money to children from low-income families to help them through school. Since its inception in 2000, the fund has helped close to 180,000 children and youths in need and disbursed more than $70 million. The fund disburses about $6 million yearly, which helps around 10,000 needy students.

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