28 November 2006

Run For Funds 2006 - What It Means To Adrian

Today we feature Adrian, Founder of the RunForFunds Project. A person we are all familiar with if we have heard of RunForFunds to begin with and as such needs no further introduction.

 I don't want to save the world.
I can't.

The statements above are true, especially for someone coming from a kia-su, kia-see, "no time to do social work" Singapore.

On one starry night in Egypt in Feb 2002, I was contemplating the meaning of life.

I struggled to define my role in society and the legacy I wanted to leave behind.

Mega bucks in my bank account, lofty ideals, self gratifying material needs flooded my mind.

It dawned on me that I came into this world with nothing, I will leave with nothing.

It was then that I decided that I will leave my legacy in the lives of people.

I can't save the world.
Maybe I can do something small.

I realized I could start by helping make lives of some people (who really need help) better and giving some them hope in an otherwise cold and materialistic society like Singapore.
But where do I start? So many people need help.

I can't save the world
But helping one person is better than none.

These thoughts form the fundamentals that initiated the Run For Funds (RFF) movement in 2002.

In the past 5 years, friends and family have supported RFF by pledging donations for me and my Superfriends who run the annual Standard Chartered Race (10, 21, 42km).

Note: We do not raise funds from the general public ie. people we don't know.

My Superfriends and I do not aim to save the world.
We assist within our means via a targeted approach.

The RFF funds are used to help people who really need assistance, when they need assistance.

Assistance can come in the form of groceries, bursaries, beds for old folks, pocket money for hungry school children etc.

The Government's plugs most (big) gaps in our social welfare system.

RFF aims to plug the small gaps that may be below the Government's radar or are created by the Government's red tape.

Take ZZ's (pri 5 boy) predicament for example.

ZZ's mother left him and his sister when they were babies and their father is an unskilled worker.

When applying for state assistance, the authorities asked ZZ's father for his IR8A form (income tax return) to prove that he earns less than $1,500 per month to qualify for grants.

Here is a man who earns his keep doing odd jobs, earning bit and pieces from all over the place and still not making ends meet (earning $600-700 per month).

Where is he going to get his IR8A form?

The authorities' stand is clear.

No IR8A, no help from Government.

While waiting for the school to appeal on ZZ's behalf, RFF moved in to help ZZ pay for his books and school fees.  

He was also given pocket money from RFF until the state assistance was granted.

It is worthwhile to note that the school ZZ attends is not on the Straits Times Pocket Money scheme.

I'm not sure how ST chooses the schools it supports.

Hence RFF started a pocket money fund for ZZ's school in Geylang.

Our Government can't save the world.
We can help plug inadequacies in the social welfare system.

The ZZ's example is just one of many, many case of how RFF is plugging small gaps in our social welfare system.

It works to complement what our Government has already set up.

Some may point out that our Government can do more.

True, but hey, no system is perfect.

Rather than whining and complaining, why not do something about it ourselves?

RFF is a movement where every $ raised goes directly to the people in need.

No admin fees, no corporate overheads, no golden taps.

RFF exercises discretion in funds disbursement.

There are a lot of crooks out there, waiting to sponge and exploit sympathetic givers.

Money will be spent when it can be justified, not because funds are available.

Details can be found in the November update of RFF @

What RFF means to me?

It's a movement started by the non-elite, man in the street to help those in need.

It not a political statement to the Government showboating that RFF can do a better job helping the poor.

It is a reminder that no social welfare system is perfect and each of us can plug a small gap and make someone's life better (provided the Government continues to work hard for the people).

You can't save the world.
But you can make a difference to someone's life.
Why not start something with your friends today?

A fund raising mahjong marathon amongst friends or a 100km walk around the island, maybe?

- Voxeros

1. spinnee left...
Tuesday, 28 November 2006 4:25 pm ::
when will anyone donate me some money, say 100k?
*wait long long*

2. akk left...
Tuesday, 28 November 2006 5:58 pm
the 100km walk may be a good idea as an alternative to the standard chartered run.

3. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 28 November 2006 9:21 pm :: 
Spinnee: Aiyoh. You don't need people to donate 100k to you lah.

Akk: 100km walk sounds like fun and something that I would survive compared to a marathon.

4. Pam left...
Tuesday, 28 November 2006 11:15 pm
and if people cannot do the 100k, you can do smaller versions, like 10k. the husband is part of this running club where they have regular running events, and they have small fun runs, and longer runs for the more serious runner.

5. JayWalk left...
Wednesday, 29 November 2006 12:21 am :: 
Pam: Ah but you just can't sukah sukah organised an impromptu walk and start to raise funds.

You need something with a critical mass, a platform with a general audience i.e. you need an event.

6. Pam left...
Wednesday, 29 November 2006 7:31 pm
well, i think at this rate, we'll need to start small-small. don't you think?

7. JayWalk left...
Friday, 1 December 2006 1:06 am :: 
Pam: Yes and No. Yes, we need to start small as far as managing headcount, finances and logistics. No, we need to latch onto a big event for leverage.

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