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HK’s ICM raises US$2 million for the Philippines’ poorest

25 October 2018

Sutherland with ICM's beneficiary community in backdrop 


By Daisy CL Mandap

When it comes to raising funds for the Philippines’ poor communities, nothing beats the Hong Kong –based charity group, International Care Ministries. Or to be more precise, its extensive support base from Hong Kong’s elite.

Three guests paid $150,000 each for dinner
hosted by VP Robredo and catered by Fores
At its annual banquet held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre last night, Oct. 24, ICM raised a record-breaking HK$15.9 million (or more than US$2 million) for its various programs in central and southern Philippines.

Among the evening’s highlights was the live auction, where there was frenzied bidding for the dinner for eight with Philippine Vice President and pro-poor advocate Leni Robredo at her home in Quezon City, to be catered by world-famous chef, Margarita Fores.

Just hours after auctioneer Joff van Reenen brought down the gavel for $150,000, ICM’s chief executive officer David Sutherland said in an email that two other bidders offered to pay the same amount if VP Robredo would agree to host them as well.

“We immediately contacted the VP and before 1:30am she agreed to accommodate three ICM dinners at her home for three different auction winners. I am impressed!”

A similar thing happened to the live auction for skiing lessons with the Polish ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel, plus dinner and accommodation for 10 at a luxury ski resort in Niseko, Japan After the gavel went down for $160,000, another bidder made the same offer for the experience, and got an immediate yes.
Van Reenen auctioning off the Mandela lithograph

The third item in the live bidding, a lithograph with an imprint of the left palm of the late South African President and freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, went for $250,000.

Still, the $1 million raised from the live auction was just a fraction of the record haul that ICM made from its 2018 “Stepping Free from Poverty” banquet.

Sutherland said that it was the first time the charity group had breached the US$2 million threshold from its annual fundraiser.

“This US$2m is about 25% of ICM's annual cash funding needs - a great start to our funding year,”he said.
Young guest holds her number paddle to donate $400k, then $40k

Nearly half of the amount, or $6.6 million, came from the night’s jaw-dropping “Moment of Giving” part, when 122 guests raised their number paddles in succession to hand out between $8,000 and $800,000, all in one go.


Many donors gave $80,000 each, as this was matched dollar for dollar by a United States charity, Find Us Faithful, up to a maximum of US$500,000. Sutherland said the counterpart fund was exhausted because of the donors’ generosity.

“Highest ever,” said Sutherland in describing the money raised from guests who gave and expected nothing in return.

Philippine Consul General Tony Morales
and Consul Paul Saret were among the guests
 
“Leaves me speechless to see so many different people donating. Thank you. As I mentioned, one of the things that separates the ICM banquet is not a handful of people generating all of the donations - it is truly a democratic effort where a wide range participate.”

Another big draw was the silent auction when a total of $1.7 million was raised from donated items, mostly artworks from Philippines-based donors and other supporters. The items were auctioned off in three lots, in-between the three-course dinner.

ICM, which operates in nine regions and 23 provinces in Visayas and Mindanao, has set a budget of HK77.64 million (Php541 million) for its operations this year and next.


ICM beneficiaries get share of spotlight

Sugar Cane Warriors from Bacolod show their winning moves

No ICM banquet is complete without the presence of young, happy Filipinos who provide the best testimony of how the Hong Kong – based charity transforms lives, and offers hope to the ultra poor.

At this year’s dinner, most poignant was the presence of young Alexis, who just had a successful club hand/foot surgery, with help from ICM’s Medical Mercy Fund. The six-year-old boy helped convince 13 donors to give $40,000 each in exchange for his framed handprints, so others could also benefit from the live-changing surgeries.

According to ICM, eight Filipino children with club foot were treated between 2017 and 2018. It is anticipated that 15 children will need the same kind of help each year. Those with cleft palates are the most numerous, with 61 children treated last year, and up to 200 others expected to need the same kind of treatment each year.

At the banquet, most visible were the three young members of the ICM children’s choir, who emceed the show. Mary Jane, Rizzel and Nica have performed along with the rest of the ICM choir have shared their songs of hope with hundreds of people in the Philippines, Hong Kong and the United States, including at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

Among those who provided entertainment were three teenagers from Bacolod City, who were the runaway winners in the final round of the “Stepping Free” dance contest. Marvin, CJ and Erben who call themselves the “Sugar Cane Warriors,” delighted the audience with their energetic movements and daring acrobatics.

According to the souvenir program, the boys’ families have benefited from ICM’s programs since 2015. Often forced to choose between school and working in the sugar cane fields that surround their homes, they’re said to choose the former, as they know the importance that education plays in their future,

The Bacolod boys won over the spirited performance of the River Dancing Queens from Western Mindanao and Coco Mommas from Southern Mindanao.

ICM, which has an office in Manila, operates in nine bases across the Visayas and Mindanao: Palawan, Panay, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Cebu, Bohol, Zamboanga del Norte, Koronadal, and General Santos. 

Its work extends to 23 provinces through partnerships with 6,000 churches.

Last year, it provided help to its one-millionth family member through its Transform program, and aims to reach the next million by its 30th anniversary in 2023.

In future, it hopes to extend help to other poor communities across the globe. - - DCLM








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