Trade associations and member organisations rally together to take care of employees via the Industry-Led Compassion Fund
Launched in June 2020, the industry-led Compassion Fund has since raised over $1.9 million to provide aid for employees in need.
The results of the programme are attributed to the efforts of seven trade associations and chambers (TACs) that came forward to rally their respective business communities to contribute.
Mr Hsieh Fu Hua, Chairman of the SBF Foundation said, “Charity begins from the heart and businesses can display how they put their employees first and do so on a larger scale. We know many businesses are facing challenges but this is why SBFF, as the social impact arm of the SBF, is building a collective effort through the Compassion Fund to enable TACs and companies to support employees in need together. I am grateful to our industry leaders for their support this past year.”
Although the Covid-19 pandemic brought about the need for support for those who faced job losses, financial insecurity and health concerns, care for employees goes beyond times of economic downturn. This is where the Compassion Fund, an ongoing initiative by the Foundation, provides an avenue for business leaders to galvanise their members and create a culture of care within their communities. This in the long run also benefits employers and workers as it helps create a more resilient and productive workforce.
For every dollar raised by a participating TAC, SBF Foundation will match dollar-for-dollar up to $200,000 per TAC.
Overwhelming support from business community
Seven TACs took the lead to put out a call for their members to contribute to the Compassion Fund and together raised $1,005,500.
These included the Security Association of Singapore (SAS), Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME), Singapore Cocktail Bar Association (SCBA), The Law Society of Singapore, The Singapore Contractors Association Limited, Singapore Furniture Association and Association of Certified Security Agencies.
The SAS, which recently celebrated Security Officer’s Day on 24 July, saw many of its members step up to contribute to the fund. The fund would directly benefit the security officers employed by SAS members.
“I was very happy that even in the midst of the pandemic, when our members have their own concerns to deal with, they rallied together, came forward, and contributed generously.
The direct beneficiaries are our members’ officers. These officers have faced difficulties, whether in their own lives, or their families and loved ones, and the support that they receive is a strong message that we truly care for our workers,” said SAS President Mr Raj Joshua Thomas.
“No one knows when tough times will hit. But when this happens, they can go to their employers, the employers will come to us, and we will be able to provide them with their initial financial support and also a referral for them to go to other aid agencies and support groups,” he added.
He noted that the fund came in timely for and eased the burden of an officer whose mother had just passed away as he faced significant stress at work with the company downscaling its operations.
“TACs have the best platform to mobilise businesses for good causes. It’s important to remember that as TACs ensures the business interests of its members, they also have a part to play in protecting the wellbeing of people under them,” said Mr Thomas.
A hard hit sector was Singapore’s nightlife. The SCBA, which was formed last April to help bars affected by the pandemic, raised $120,000 to help 240 lower salaried employees in the industry who had lost their jobs, suffered pay cuts of 30% and above, or were in between jobs.
“We were heartened to see staff come forward to seek help and because they had the courage to do so, we actually realised we could do more to provide them with targeted support that directly addresses their difficulties,” said Ms Gan Guoyi, President, SCBA.
Through the employees that applied for the Compassion Fund, TACs and business leaders can also learn of other difficulties they may face and can implement other programmes, such as providing mental wellness support or initiating a savings programme for staff.
Continuous effort to uplift workers and enable care from within
Through the Compassion Fund, business leaders and the larger business community can continue to assist their employees, as well as cultivate a culture of care from within that goes beyond monetary support.
When employees apply to the Compassion Fund, they are also connected to other resources and relevant social services and community care agencies that can take action and support them in managing their situation.
“People face hardships that are not apparent to everyone. This is where business leaders can be more proactive and show that they care for their employees, not just in the financial sense but also providing support for other difficulties they may be facing socially and emotionally,” said Mr Hsieh.
The SBF Foundation, in partnership with business leaders committed to supporting the community, is keeping the Compassion Fund as an ongoing effort to enable care from within respective industries for all workers in need.