Needy students can now apply for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) through their schools.
The new partnership between STSPMF and the Ministry of Education (MOE) was announced by STSPMF chairman Warren Fernandez yesterday.
Previously, needy students could apply only through 68 disbursing agencies - family service centres, children's homes and special needs schools - with the support of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS). Yesterday, four more agencies were added, on top of the new tie-up with 300 schools.
Addressing donors, schools and NCSS representatives at the STSPMF Appreciation Day event, Mr Fernandez also announced that the fund will raise its eligibility criteria, from a per capita gross monthly household income of $560 to $625.
This move will allow the lowest 13 per cent of households to qualify, he said, and brings it closer to the income ceiling of many national schemes. The Appreciation Day event featured an opening dance item by students from Minds Fernvale Gardens School.
There were also presentations by speakers such as social work academic Esther Goh from the National University of Singapore and Madam Saleemah Ismail, director of New Life Stories, a non-profit body supporting children of incarcerated mothers.
Mr Mohamed Abdul Jaleel, founder and chief executive officer of Mini Environment Service Group, which provides integrated property and logistics solutions, also presented Mr Fernandez with a cheque for a $500,000 donation.
"I've gone through tough times myself in my younger days, so I feel all children deserve a chance to get pocket money," said Mr Jaleel, who has donated over $2 million to the fund since 2012. "My only hope is that these beneficiaries give back to the community when they grow up."
Mr Fernandez, who is also ST editor and editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holding's English/Malay/ Tamil Media Group, said the fund aims to reach out to as many young students as possible who might need help. "This is why we are expanding the number of places they can turn to for assistance, including through their own schools. We're also making the fund available to more of those in need.
"We think these steps will make a difference to the lives of those who turn to us for help. We are able to do so because of the strong support of our donors and partners, for which we are very grateful."