Community Chest donations at 10-year low

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 January, 2009, 12:00am

Donations to the Community Chest, one of Hong Kong's biggest charities, have plunged to a 10-year low, its vice-patron Dennis Sun Tai-lun said yesterday.

The organisation was expecting to collect HK$210 million this financial year but, so far, has raised only about HK$160 million.

Dr Sun said it was the worst figure in the 10 years he had been vicepatron.

'This year, we had budgeted HK$210 million in funds to be allocated to 144 social welfare agencies. But we estimated that the funds raised so far were about HK$160 million,' Dr Sun said.

'We think that would be the result in the best-case scenario. So there would be a total shortfall of HK$50 million.

'But, over the years, we have accumulated some reserves, which are sufficient to cover the HK$50 million.'

Donations to the Community Chest shrank to HK$168.63 million in the 2002/03 financial year but steadily increased to HK$258.5 million in 2007/08.

Dr Sun said much of the money raised by charities last year was for relief efforts after major disasters, such as May's devastating Sichuan earthquake, which affected donations to the Community Chest.

He said the charity would introduce more fund-raising events.

The recession and global financial troubles have also affected donations. With corporate profits and household incomes hit by the downturn, donations have suffered as companies and individuals cut costs and rein in their spending.

The charity yesterday kicked off its Hong Kong and Kowloon Walk with Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. More than 18,000 people participated, with funds raised to benefit 21 member agencies providing family and child welfare services.

The charity's remaining events this financial year include a corporate challenge for marathon runners on January 18 and the annual New Territories Walk on February 15.