With a phenomenal effort at fundraising, Citigroup has become the top new donor to Operation Santa Claus. Following the brave decision by three senior executives to throw themselves off the 233-metre Macau Tower, the highest sky jump in the world, in mid-December, which brought in more than half a million dollars for our charity campaign, Citigroup went all out to bring in a further $700,000 for the 12 beneficiaries. Earlier this week, the finance firm handed over a cheque for $1.23 million to Operation Santa Claus at their offices in Central. Following the sky jump - by Frank Slevin, managing director and head of corporate and investment banking, Hong Kong; Quek Kwan Meng, head of real estate investment for the Asia-Pacific, Citigroup Private Bank; and Kevin Rasmussen, manager and foreign exchange counsellor, investment, Citigroup Private Bank - Citigroup staff were invited to take part in a Santa Claus Day, an opportunity to buy a day off from the firm this year. Depending on their rank within the firm, staff members paid between $150 and $3,000 to buy a day back from the company. 'As a first time OSC sponsor, we are very excited to be this year's OSC top new donor,' said Robert Morse, chief executive of Citigroup corporate and investment banking, Asia-Pacific. 'We had an enthusiastic response from our staff. 'We are delighted that we could contribute in a meaningful way. It was started by the three brave individuals who sky-jumped off the Macau Tower. Frank has been quite pale ever since. 'I look forward and hope we can participate in Operation Santa Claus in 2006 and beyond.' Operation Santa Claus is co-organised by RTHK and the South China Morning Post. Bryan Curtis, head of RTHK's English-language Radio 3 attended the event. Amanda Turnbull, marketing director at the Post, said she was delighted to have Citigroup on board for the campaign and congratulated the company on its innovative fund-raising initiatives. Mr Slevin said: 'Our aim initially was to exceed half a million dollars. That was the original target.' Santa Claus made his final appearance for the campaign, to collect the cheque which could see Operation Santa Claus on the way to breaking the $10 million mark for the first time in its 18-year history. Mr Morse said Citigroup employees had a long history of donating to needy causes and the firm matched employee contributions. Others who benefited from staff initiatives this year included tsunami survivors and South Asian quake victims.