SINGAPORE, October 25, 2013 – Microsoft Singapore today announced that it has raised over S$330,500 in cash and software for President’s Challenge 2013. Since 2006, Microsoft, its employees and business partners have actively contributed towards enabling technology training of people with disabilities through the Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD), a President’s Challenge beneficiary. The total contribution to SPD now stands at more than S$1.9 million in cash and software.
In addition, Microsoft announced an additional contribution of S$30,000 to RSVP Singapore – The Organization of Senior Volunteers, to train seniors in technology skills. Including today’s donation, RSVP has received over S$730,000 in cash and software donations from Microsoft.
The latest contributions were announced at the company’s finale fundraising event for the year, The Ultimate Telematch, held today at Nanyang Polytechnic. This also marked the seventh major event that Microsoft has organized in support of the President’s Challenge. Guest-of-Honour, His Excellency President Tony Tan Keng Yam graced the event for a day of fun and games, alongside Microsoft staff, partners, their families and more than 29 beneficiaries from SPD and RSVP. He also received the cheque donation on behalf of the President’s Challenge from Ms Jessica Tan, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore.
This year, The Ultimate Telematch brought together five teams of 12 to 16 members consisting of SPD and RSVP beneficiaries, sponsors and Microsoft employees and their families. Together, the participants took on four different games, demonstrating strong teamwork as they pit their wits against each other. For the final challenge, the teams exercised their creativity to put together a mascot that best represents the spirit of the President’s Challenge.
The funds raised from The Ultimate Telematch and earlier fundraising activities by Microsoft Singapore will go towards supporting the Infocomm Accessibility Centre (IAC), which SPD manages, and the Silver Infocomm Junction at RSVP.
As part of its ongoing citizenship programme, Microsoft also awards the YouthSpark scholarships to students with disabilities who wish to pursue higher levels of learning in IT at a local university or polytechnic. 19 scholarships have been handed out to date, through IAC which administers the local scholarship programme.
Aside from cash donations, Microsoft also donates software to NGOs, totaling a value of close to S$4.3 million since 1998, to enable them to better serve their communities through technology. Microsoft has a long and proud track record of community support that is embedded in the company’s culture. Microsoft Singapore strongly encourages volunteerism and offers a Voluntary Service Leave program where each employee is accorded three days per year to participate in volunteer work. Employees can choose to utilize this for causes that they support, team community service efforts or to volunteer efforts in line with company-level programs with SPD and RSVP Singapore.
Ms Jessica Tan, Managing Director of Microsoft Singapore said, “At Microsoft, we remain firmly committed to contributing to a better and more caring Singapore through our active participation in the President’s Challenge. We believe that technology holds the power to bridge the opportunity divide. Even as we continue to grow our business locally, we want to ensure that seniors, people with disabilities and disadvantaged youths can also participate and benefit from Singapore’s growth. Thus, we have worked closely with our partners to invest in talents from all walks of life. This includes our long-standing partnerships with SPD and RSVP to equip their beneficiaries with relevant technology skills, which we hope will level the playing field for them and enable them to be active, connected members of the society.”
Through Microsoft’s partnerships with SPD and RSVP, close to 1,900 people with disabilities and over 15,476 seniors have been equipped with basic technology skills. More than 250 people with disabilities have undergone vocational training and 37 trainees with disabilities have found employment so far. More than 116 seniors have also found job opportunities in IT-related fields as a result of their training.
Mr Abhimanyau Pal, Executive Director, SPD said, “We strongly believe that technology is a powerful enabler with far reaching effects on the lives of people with disabilities. Over the past seven years, our partnership with Microsoft has allowed us to provide technology training to people with disabilities and equip them with IT competencies that enable them to keep in pace with society and enhance their employment opportunities. We treasure our partnership with Microsoft, a like-minded partner and look forward to working together to extend help to even more people with disabilities through our Technology Training and Vocational Training Services.”
Mr Koh Juay Meng, President, RSVP Singapore said, “The Microsoft IT training provided to seniors at RSVP has definitely enabled them to become more productive and enriched their lives. We now have 16 Certified Microsoft Office Specialists and six of them even went on short-term assignments to train government officials in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar in Microsoft Office skills. Others have also volunteered in another RSVP program to train physically challenged persons to use Microsoft Office. We are grateful for the continued partnership with Microsoft.”
Microsoft Singapore’s support of the President’s Challenge and other worthy causes goes beyond the company and its employees. Over the years, it has rallied support from its extensive partner ecosystem and communities to participate in these causes. This year, 21 Microsoft business partners were involved in sponsoring The Ultimate Telematch including Accenture Pte Ltd, Atria Technologies Pte Ltd, Datapulse Technology Limited, KPP Packaging Pte Ltd and Nanyang Polytechnic.
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About the President’s Challenge
Launched on 22 March 2013 by President Tony Tan Keng Yam, the President’s Challenge 2013 aims to build on the momentum of two new initiatives which was started in 2012 – the President’s Challenge Volunteer Drive and the President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award. While fundraising continues to be at the heart of President’s Challenge, the campaign has gone beyond the giving of money to the giving of time, skills and talent for the less fortunate. The President’s Challenge Volunteer Drive aims to help people understand the critical needs facing the less fortunate in Singapore, and help them experience the satisfaction of volunteerism.
The prestigious President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award recognises outstanding social enterprises, be it existing enterprises, start-ups, or social enterprises managed by youth, for their contributions made to the social service sector.
For more information about the President’s Challenge, please visit https://www.pc.org.sg