Spirit of giving still strong despite challenging economy:DPM Teo

Despite the challenging economy, philanthropy still remains strong here, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday.

He highlighted how more than 700 corporate donors and 400 individuals had raised $5.79 million for the Singapore Children's Society (SCS) last year.

"Our economy is in transition and many corporates are undergoing restructuring but I am glad that this spirit of giving remains strong," said Mr Teo to a crowd of philanthropists and companies at Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel.

The amount was about $100,000 shy of the $5.89 million record in 2015, and went to two SCS programmes: 1000 Enterprises for Children-in-Need (1000E) and the 1000 Philanthropists (1000P).

The former, which encourages firms to pledge an annual donation, raised $2.91 million last year, compared with $3.33 million in 2015.

The 1000P programme, which encourages individuals to contribute $1,000 a year to society, raised $2.88 million last year, compared with $2.68 million in 2015.

SCS chairman Koh Choon Hui said it would continue to ramp up its services this year, such as the new Appropriate Adult Scheme, which involves trained, independent volunteers accompanying young suspects in police investigations.

This means 2017 "will be another challenging year" for the SCS, with an increase of about 14 per cent in budgeted expenditure, from $15.6 million last year to $17.8 million in 2017, he added.

DPM Teo said SCS could also look at early intervention and research as two areas for long-term benefit.

He added: "Early interventions can help provide a safe environment for the children in need to develop good character and pick up life skills... Research in children-specific domains will provide insight to raise awareness and help channel limited resources into areas of high impact."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2017, with the headline 'Spirit of giving still strong despite challenging economy:DPM Teo'. Print Edition | Subscribe