In his 2001 Policy Address, the Chief Executive
announced a plan to set up the $300 million Community Investment
and Inclusion Fund (CIIF) to encourage mutual concern and aid, promote
community participation, and mobilise community resources through
cross-sectoral collaboration that would contribute to building social
capital and harmony.
Since its formal launch in August 2002, five batches
of applications have been called, resulting in 69 projects being
selected and funding of $60 million allocated, involving over 800
organisations, schools and small scale businesses. When fully implemented
in three years, these projects will result in 17 380 people
who were previously service recipients being empowered to become
contributors and volunteers; 210 mutual help networks and 17 cooperatives
being formed; 800 jobs being created; 3 500 jobs being matched;
and over 300 000 people being helped.
Some of the new strategies were beginning to show
results, with groups previously considered marginalised (such as
the homeless, unemployed middle-aged people, disengaged youth, the
elderly, newly arrived families, women and ethnic minorities) becoming
more socially included and gainfully employed. The CIIF will be
extended for three years from 2005 to consolidate its early success
in promoting social capital concepts and helping to break the cycles
of disadvantage, as noted in the 2004 Policy Address.
The overall impact, critical success factors and
possible future development directions of the CIIF are being jointly
evaluated by a consortium of seven research teams from five local
tertiary institutions, with results expected in 2006. The CIIF has
also received external recognition. For example, an Asian Development
Bank representative who attended both of the CIIF annual sharing
fora — was of the view that the CIIF provided social capital
development know-how for the region.