Funds for fun with a purpose

Funds for fun with a purpose
"Salvon Drums" by Temasek Polytechnic perform as the opening act at the "Robert Casteels presents: Percussion 101" concert held at the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The concert will be the first ground-up project of 2015 that is supported by the SG50 Celebration Fund.

SINGAPORE - With Singapore's Golden Jubilee just around the corner, many have responded to the call to initiate projects to celebrate the nation's 50th birthday.

More than 100 projects have received grants from the SG50 Celebration Fund, which was launched in January last year to encourage Singaporeans to come up with novel ways to celebrate SG50. Another 250 proposals are either being reviewed by the five evaluation panels or being refined.

The panels comprise representatives from the SG50 committees, who are drawn from non-profit organisations and the private sector.

These representatives will assess each project on its ability to:

Raise the awareness of our Singaporean identity and sense of belonging to Singapore;

Reach out and engage the community;

Show potential in successful completion and execution according to plan.

Ideas can be submitted until Aug 31.

The fund offers up to $50,000 a project, or 90 per cent of the qualifying project costs.

The SG50 Programme Office says it does not disclose the amount of funding given to individual projects.

An initial $5 million has been set aside for the fund, of which $3 million has already been utilised. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, who heads the SG50 Programme Office, has said that the kitty can be increased if more good ideas surface.

The funding for successful applicants is disbursed in two tranches. They will receive up to 20 per cent of the approved funding amount at the start of their project, and the remaining 80 per cent of the approved amount will be reimbursed upon successful completion of the project.

In response to SundayLife!'s queries on how each project is supervised, the SG50 Programme Office says it keeps in touch with the project owners to get updates on the progress, and to discuss any adjustments due to unforeseen factors.

"Ultimately, we do want to see as many meaningful projects as possible being realised with the support of the SG50 Celebration Fund," says a spokesman for the SG50 Programme Office.

Some projects have already been completed last year, and this year's first ground-up event backed by the fund was Percussion 101, a 11/2-hour free evening concert held at the Botanic Gardens and featuring 82 musicians.

So what else can Singaporeans look forward to? SundayLife! highlights six noteworthy projects being funded.

This article was first published on January 18, 2015.
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