Donations to charity rise by 12 per cent to hit $1.1 billion in 2014

 Singaporeans were more generous last year, with tax-deductible donations to charity hitting $1.1 billion last year.
Singaporeans were more generous last year, with tax-deductible donations to charity hitting $1.1 billion last year.SINGAPORE RED CROSS

SINGAPORE - Singaporeans were more generous last year, with tax-deductible donations to charity hitting $1.1 billion last year - a 12 per cent rise from the year before.

The office of the Commissioner of Charities (COC) revealed this in its annual report released on Thursday.

The increase is mainly due to people donating more funds to the social and welfare sector, encouraged by the government's $250 million pledge in January 2014 to match donations under the Care and Share programme.

Similarly, the amount of contributions to the arts and heritage sector also nearly doubled that of the previous year, following the launch of the Cultural Matching Fund.

In the Care and Share programme and the Cultural Matching Fund, the government provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants for eligible donations.

Mr Low Puk Yeong, the Commissioner of Charities, said in the report: "This represents an overall upward trend in charitable giving over the last 10 years, signalling the public's increasing support for local charitable causes."

The report also highlighted the COC office's recent measures to improve the transparency of charities and facilitate informed giving, such as the Charity Transparency Framework which was introduced last month. The framework serves as a public education tool for charities and donors by highlighting key areas in which charities should disclose information.

There are also plans to help charities understand and minimise the risk of being abused for terrorist financing or money laundering, through more field visits and networking sessions with charities.

Mr Low said: "Good governance is a continuous journey that requires commitment from all. We will continue to use a multi-pronged approach to enhance the governance and transparency level in the charity sector and will also continue to step up efforts to promote informed giving and boost public confidence in charities."