Marina Bay Sands raises $3.6m for local non-profit organisations

SINGAPORE - Named the Sands for Singapore Festival, the charity drive featured various activities such as a charity walk, charity auctions and gala dinners. "This year's Sands for Singapore Festival was a huge success," said MBS chief executive officer and president George Tanasijevich. "We have demonstrated the spirit of giving back to the local community, through a strong combination of active volunteerism and generous donations from fellow Singaporeans and our overseas visitors."

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Here is the full statement from Marina Bay Sands:

Singapore (19 August, 2013) - Marina Bay Sands' Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme, Sands for Singapore, capped off its first annual three-day signature charity event, Sands for Singapore Festival on a high note on 18 August, raising over S$3.6 million to benefit local non-profit organisations, exceeding its initial target of $3 million.

The integrated resort was bustling with activities on 16 - 18 August, doing its part for charity and doubling up as an inspirational platform to motivate others to give back to the community. Through various inventive fund-raising events, the Sands for Singapore Festival reached out to a larger audience collectively than what the integrated resort can achieve alone. More than 400 Marina Bay Sands volunteers also donated a total of 1,416 hours during the festival to create additional buzz such as distributing small giveaways to visitors, participating in the ComChest Heartstrings Walk 2013 and more.

"Our first Sands for Singapore Festival was a huge success and this is made possible by the joint efforts between Marina Bay Sands, our partners and of course the larger community who have contributed in every way. We have demonstrated the spirit of giving back to the local community, through a strong combination of active volunteerism and generous donations from fellow Singaporeans and our overseas visitors. I am also honoured that Marina Bay Sands has not only played its part but also inspired others to join us in doing the same," said George Tanasijevich, Chief Executive Officer and President of Marina Bay Sands.

As the biggest event for Sands for Singapore Festival, the co-organised annual ComChest Heartstrings Walk 2013 @ Marina Bay, by Community Chest and Marina Bay Sands, has crossed two milestones this year. It attracted the highest sign-up rate ever, with over 7,200 participants for its charity fun walk and raised a record-setting amount of $1.35 million. In addition, Marina Bay Sands has donated the weekend ticketing proceeds from four of the integrated resort's popular attractions - ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, Sampan Ride, Sands SkyPark Observation Deck and Skating Rink - and the net proceeds of Little Sun, a solar-powered lamp selling at ArtScience Museum since 16 July, to Community Chest.

"It is truly a fruitful event for both Marina Bay Sands and Community Chest as we are able to achieve our shared goals of helping the local community. Into the third year of co-organising ComChest Heartstrings Walk 2013 @ Marina Bay and as the grand finale to its first-ever Sands for Singapore Festival, it is heartwarming to see many community partners participating and making a difference to the lives of the disadvantaged in Singapore. We hope to be able to continue this strong partnership with Marina Bay Sands to help those in need," said Ng Ling Ling, General Manager of Community Chest.

Sands for Singapore continued its stream of contributions to the community this weekend with the latest being a $1 million donation to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Endowment Fund. The contribution came at the back of a weekend of community giving at Marina Bay Sands. The Government will provide a matching grant of 1.5:1 for this endowed donation, resulting in a contribution of $2.5 million to ITE Endowment Fund. Set up in 2010, the fund is expected to benefit some 400 ITE students this year and will be used to provide a sustainable disbursement of funds to students from financially-disadvantaged families, through financial assistance and enrichment programmes.

Pitch to Win, championed by Marina Bay Sands and National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), was a victory for everyone. All of the five non-profit finalists pitched and benefitted as they secured additional funding to service their innovative ideas and programmes. The initiative also inspired 20 companies ranging from banks to local small and medium enterprises and provided them with an opportunity to support causes aligned to their CSR goals.

Said Jason Foo, Chief Executive Officer of Alzheimer's Disease Association, the non-profit organisation which secured the highest funding of $111,000, "It is a privilege to have such an exclusive platform to pitch in front of a corporate audience and secure immediate funding for our project. This unique collaboration between NVPC and Marina Bay Sands will benefit local non-profit organisations like us because it provides us the opportunity to reach out to the right audience. We would also like to thank the Marina Bay Sands' executives for donating their valuable time to help us in our pitch."

Serving as the main entertainment component for the festival, O School's remarkable performance, Wonderment, wowed its audience over two nights during Sands for Singapore Festival. The young adults from O School were also able to fulfil their dreams of having a first-hand experience of managing their own show with the help of theatre professionals at Marina Bay Sands.

"There are many kinds of corporate giving and Marina Bay Sands always has the ability to map the right ways to the right organisations. It is also about giving people opportunities that are not available elsewhere and Marina Bay Sands did just that. I am very fortunate to be able to go through a mentorship programme with the professionals at Marina Bay Sands to learn the ropes in a real working environment. More importantly, I had a part to play in my very own show, on a world stage," said Aaron Aw, 24, a student of O School who underwent a week-long Theatre Operations Mentorship Programme with the integrated resort. Over the three days, Sands for Singapore Festival has also benefitted Art Outreach Singapore, the Singapore Association for the Deaf and Make-A-Wish Foundation, with various exciting events of different genre under one roof. These fund-raising events include charity auctions, gala dinners and Make-A-Wish dishes around the property.

Over the weekend, the property was abuzz with activities as face painters, balloon sculptors and jazz performances, entertained visitors around the property.

Beneficiaries from Sands for Singapore Festival range from children suffering from life-threatening conditions (through Make-A-Wish Foundation), non-profit organisations and the beneficiaries of their projects (through NVPC), the local deaf community (through SADeaf), primary and secondary school students in Singapore (through Art Outreach) and local dancers (through O School). One of the main beneficiaries is Community Chest, which alone benefits more than 300,000 needy Singaporeans.