Initiated by former President S R Nathan in 2000, President's Challenge represents the coming together of people from all walks of life to help the less fortunate. In 2012, under the leadership of President Tony Tan Keng Yam, President's Challenge was expanded to go beyond fundraising, by including volunteerism and social entrepreneurship.
In 2015, Dr Tony Tan launched the President’s Challenge Silver Volunteer Fund
, a fund which aims to encourage seniors to volunteer their time and age actively. Donations help charities supported by the fund to curate new or expand existing volunteer programmes, recruit volunteers through volunteer management systems, and train and recognise volunteers. President’s Challenge hopes to raise $10 million out of the $40 million needed by 2019 and the Silver Volunteer Fund aims to recruit an additional 50,000 senior volunteers by 2030.
In 2018, President Halimah Yacob announced the new "Empowering for Life Fund"
(ELF), a fund supporting vulnerable groups through skills upgrading, capacity-building and employment. Donations to ELF will receive dollar-to-dollar matching from the Government. This means that over the next five years, $20 million will be set aside for ELF programmes under President's Challenge.
ELF will focus on supporting customised, dedicated services to the most vulnerable groups and facilitate their integration into society. The programmes that it funds will handhold the most disadvantaged people on their journeys to improve their circumstances. The aim is to help them bounce back quickly from setbacks and stay adaptable.
Since 2000, President’s Challenge has raised more than $180 million for its benefitting organisations. Every dollar donated to President’s Challenge goes directly to the benefitting organisations, thanks to our Challenge sponsors Singapore Pools and Singapore Totalisator Board, which provide grants to cover the operating costs of President’s Challenge.