Operation Santa Claus: bankers club together for charity
More than HK$500,000 was raised at this year's BAML charity golf do, all part of a commitment to forging a strong community
Over the windswept hills of Clear Water Bay, the sun finally broke through the clouds after days of rain. The golfers were unsure what they day might bring, but it turned out well for the crowd at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) charity golf day.
About 70 men and women - clients, business partners and friends of the bank - putted and swung away to raise money for Operation Santa Claus. The Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club generously hosted the event at no cost.
John O'Toole, general counsel for BAML Asia Pacific, said as he launched the event: "We have a strong tradition of supporting local communities, which we encourage everyone to do."
The bank has been an important sponsor for Operation Santa Claus, organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK for the past 15 years. This year OSC donations will go to help a wide spectrum of underprivileged people in Hong Kong, including children, the elderly, victims of domestic violence and people with mental and physical disabilities.
Huen Wong, deputy chairman of the club, said: "It's wonderful to be able to support 300 life-changing [operations] with Operation Smile."
The BAML charity golf day alone raised more than HK$500,000 this year, through registration fees, raffle tickets and the sale of "mulligan" tickets (entitling the bearer to one free shot).
O'Toole said: "This is a special treat, but it also means that many of us will have to work tonight and tomorrow, so thank you for coming out."
The bank is also selling Operation Santa Claus badges for the ninth year, and organising a mini-golf tournament in its office to raise more funds for this year's 18 hand-picked charities.
Winnie Ho, vice-president of marketing and communications at BAML, said: "These guys build these amazing mini-golf structures from office materials, cardboard, straws - anything they find lying around.
"It's something our staff get excited about each year. It's become part of our DNA.
"Strong communities are great places to work and live, and great places to do business. And part of our philanthropic effort globally is to strengthen the economic and social health of these communities," Ho said.
HOW YOU CAN GIVE
- Donate online by credit card at osc.scmp.com
- Donate at an ATM or at any HSBC branch (account no: 502-676299-001 for SCMP Charities Ltd - Operation Santa Claus)
- You can donate with a cheque payable to "SCMP Charities Ltd - Operation Santa Claus" and mail it to: Operation Santa Claus, Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, New Territories,
- Donations of HK$100 or more are tax-deductible. If you would like a tax receipt, please send the completed donation form and original bank receipt, with your name, address and phone number, to the above address. Please call 2680 8159 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any inquiries, or visit us online at osc.scmp.com