Looks like pressure for the Community Chest this year If you happen to meet any local charity organisers this month, you are likely to find them worried, if not flat-out tired. A common explanation is that in a year when a major catastrophe such as the Sichuan earthquake strikes, charity organisations working on other causes have a hard time competing for donations. A case in point is the Hong Kong Community Chest, the biggest local non-government organisation, which had seen its donation rise every year since 2000, except in 2004-05. That was the year of the Southeast Asian tsunami, when most public donations went directly to the benefit of victims; other donations dropped across the board as a result. Now the Community Chest faces an even bigger challenge, after breaking the record with donations it received in the first 11 months of last year, when it expanded 5.2 per cent to HK$231.9 million, according to one person in the know. The Community Chest will on June 26, after its annual general meeting, make public its income statement ended March. Last year the biggest single donation came from the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing stock code balloting scheme, which contributed HK$63 million, or more than 20 per cent of total proceeds. Unfortunately the initial public offering market has been bad this year, with only 19 companies listed so far, compared with 27 in the same period a year ago. More than half of the 82 companies listing last year joined the stock code balloting scheme. One bright spot, we hear, is that Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp chairman Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen will take over as executive committee chairman for the charity, while Hang Seng Bank chief executive Raymond Or Ching-fai will continue with his hard-hitting role as committee campaign manager. But the Community Chest is expected to face another challenge: the rise of corporate social responsibility. Many corporates are getting together their own charity act, producing an annual report on their community services. 'Why would corporates choose to donate to a big charity boutique when they can donate directly to a charity body?' asked a businessman who sits on a few charity boards. Bankers are not the only ones complaining about how hard it is to raise capital. Goodbye to the king of rice The chairman of Hong Kong's largest rice exporting company, David Lam Kwing-chan, died on Thursday. His company, Golden Resources Development International, yesterday made the announcement, thanking him posthumously for his 47 years at the helm, and lamenting that his 'wisdom and guidance will be dearly missed'. Mr Lam, 70, was made a member of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant of Thailand by the king in 1989, having devoted his career to rice trading. Black week for the markets It was not just a Black Friday, but also a black week for equities. The Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets had their worst week in 12 years, and the Hang Seng Index fell 1,800 points in five trading days, shedding 431 points yesterday alone. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing might have known something we didn't. In the first 25 minutes of trading yesterday morning its website mistakenly displayed the HSI's change as being 500 points in negative territory, when in fact it was down fewer than 200 points. The mistake was said to be related to a wrong configuration of Thursday's closing price. But it did set the mood for Black Friday.