This article is written by Genping Liu, a Partner at Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India. It was originally published on Medium. Reproduced with the author’s permission here.

Entering 2020, the world has been heavily hit by the pandemic. The Singaporean government, business community, NGOs, grassroots organisations and individuals alike have stepped up with a multitude of commendable initiatives. In the midst of a pandemic, we are reminded that everyone is equal. Regardless of our religion, race, financial status, occupation or nationality, the virus is impartial in its deadly resilience. However, it is deeply unfortunate that a segment amongst us are more severely hit than others — the underprivileged, especially those who have been surviving from paycheque to paycheque or in families where breadwinners have fallen to the virus.

As the McKinsey analysis below highlights, as many as one-third of jobs in the US are vulnerable as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. A daunting > 75% of those lowest paid are anticipated to be laid-off or rendered unproductive as a result of curtailed mobility and social-distancing. The underprivileged in Singapore would not be spared too, without a robust unemployment system in place.

McKinsey Global Institute analysis: Chart: Axios Visuals

At Vertex, we have tried to do our part via a collective effort amongst the Vertex management. Led by Vertex Holdings CEO Chua Kee Lock, Vertex’s senior management team and staff have since March this year, volunteered to contribute a portion of their incomes for the rest of 2020. Along with a one-for-one dollar matching by Vertex Holdings, we have mustered half a million Singapore dollars to be contributed to those in need.

To date, part of the donation has been committed to two non-profit organisations listed below. A hundred percent of the committed funds will be dedicated to families which have been impacted by Covid-19. Assistance would mainly be in the form of immediate financial assistance to address the interim loss of employment, possible illness in the family or the procurement of daily necessities and groceries for needy families where a member is under quarantine. The remaining amount may potentially be further deployed for similar purpose or to support Public Health Infectious Diseases emergencies.

BEYOND SOCIAL SERVICES (website)

  • A charity dedicated to helping children and youths from unprivileged backgrounds break away from the poverty cycle.
  • The usage of funds for families affected by Covid-19 will be for Family Functioning (i.e. immediate financial assistance) and Retraining (ie. subsidies for families who need to be re-trained through Skills Future to regain employability in the longer run)

HOLLAND-BUKIT TIMAH GRC+ BUKIT PANJANG SMC (website)

  • Manages HDB residential units and community happenings in Bukit Panjang Constituency and Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.
  • The usage of funds for families affected by Covid-19 will be for the procurement of daily necessities and groceries due to financial difficulties (e.g. daily wage workers being asked to be on no-pay leave, or lesser income due to reduced work hours) and monthly cash assistance for the intermediate terms when needs arise.

In these challenging times, we hope that our efforts will help generate and empower meaningful contributions across our local communities. With many heartening and inspiring initiatives rippling across the world these past months, let us all do what we can to contribute to those who are struggling to survive on subsistent means without a financial support system in place. We urge, encourage and hope all who are able — especially our VC and founder friends — to step up and come together in such difficult times.

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at hello@mworks.asia.