What started as a single running event in 2004 has expanded into a substantial program of charitable endeavours by Singapore Exchange’s staff, members and clients which has raised more than S$30 million for over 50 charities.
The SGX Bull Charge Charity Run is the exchange's flagship charity initiative. Every year it brings together thousands of runners to race through the streets of the island city’s financial district to raise funds for local charities supporting underprivileged children and families, the disabled and the elderly.
The annual run combines team building within organizations as well as a good-natured competitive spirit by pitting CEOs against each other and their respective staff. The event offers corporate participation in three ways. The Chief Challenge is a 3km run in the financial district open to CEOs and head of companies with an entry price tag of S$8,000 per runner. The Mass Run is open to employees of SGX-listed companies and the country’s financial industry who race a 5km course, also in the financial district, with a corporate sponsorship of S$10,000. The corporate participation category take the form of an Obstacle Team Challenge, which sees teams of four from Singapore registered companies make their way through a 5km inflatable obstacle race.
Last year’s charity run brought together some 7,000 runners from South-East Asia’s financial community, up from 5,000 the previous year, and raised S$2.7 million. The Chief Challenge was led by SGX’s very own CEO Loh Boon Chye who ran alongside over 50 other company heads along the 3km route.
The exchange hopes to at least match this performance with this year’s race, which will be held on Nov. 30, the day after the end of FIA’s Asia conference in Singapore. The race will raise funds for a range of charities, such as Autism Association (Singapore), as well as organizations providing social welfare to disadvantaged people, including Community Chest, Fei Yue Community Services and HCSA Community Services, which supports ex-offenders, single-parent families, and young girls experiencing trauma.
SGX’s philanthropic program goes beyond a single one-day event, however. The exchange holds an annual charity golf day, with a tee off this year on June 28 at the Sentosa Golf Club, and an annual soccer tournament.
More significantly, perhaps, through its SGX Bull Charge Cares initiative the exchange encourages staff to organize and participate in their own activities for its beneficiary charities. These can range from festive celebrations to fundraising events. In 2017, such projects saw staff cooking meals and cleaning homes for seniors supported by AWWA, one of the Singapore-based social service organizations that SGX funds. On another occasion, 16 SGX staff spent an afternoon making percussion instruments and playing in a percussion ensemble with 40 precocious children from the Fei Yue Student Care Centre. Using household items such as pots and pans, toilet paper and masking tape, the volunteers and students recreated various parts of a drum kit.
The most recent addition to the program came in May, when SGX announced a partnership with a Singapore-based martial arts organization, ONE Championship. The two companies will develop a mentoring program pairing martial arts athletes with underprivileged young people. Welcoming ONE Championship to the program, Chew Sutat, head of equities and fixed income at the exchange and chairman of the SGX Bull Charge said, “We are excited about the mentoring program, which will offer youths from our beneficiaries a unique opportunity to channel their energy positively and pick up life values such as integrity, discipline and courage.”
The benefits of these activities are clear to see for both sides. One of the beneficiary charities, AWWA, for example, was able to buy seven school buses in 2014 with funds raised through SGX Bull Charge. For SGX staff, the initiative has given them the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what is required on the ground by these charities, resulting in projects such as the mentoring program with ONE Championship. Last year, over 250 SGX colleagues took part in 12 outreach activities, clocking up more than 1,500 hours of volunteering—a 50% increase on the previous year.
For more information about SGX's Bull Charge initiative, visit bullcharge.sgx.com.