Schooling hits $50k in SPMF drive

Joseph Schooling, now in Kazan for the world championships, admiring one of the Nila mascots received during his nine-gold SEA Games haul.
Joseph Schooling, now in Kazan for the world championships, admiring one of the Nila mascots received during his nine-gold SEA Games haul.ST FILE PHOTO

He spent his birthday giving to charity, embarking on a quest to raise $50,000 for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF) by Aug 9 to coincide with Singapore's Golden Jubilee.

With two days still to go before National Day, national swimmer Joseph Schooling has already reached his target of giving Singapore a birthday gift.

His donation drive hit the $50,000 mark on Monday.

As of yesterday, $50,623 was raised through some 50 donors.

The biggest donor was FTMSGlobal Academy group chief executive officer Balbeer Singh Mangat, who pledged $25,000 after seeing Schooling swim a perfect SEA Games in June.

Said the 20-year-old swimmer, who is currently competing in Kazan, Russia at the Fina World Championships: "It's heartening to know that so many have stepped forward to give to what I feel is a very worthy cause, and at the same time, humbling to know that I can do my part to give back."

Schooling, who set 10 SEA Games records en route to winning nine golds, kicked off the donation drive by giving $5,000 on his birthday on June 16.

The SPMF provides pocket money to children from lower-income families to help them through primary and secondary school.

Said Han Fook Kwang, ST's editor at large and chairman of the SPMF: "With Joseph's commitment, you almost knew he would be on target raising this wonderful amount for our needy students and we're extremely touched that he's doing this in the middle of the world championships."

The University of Texas undergraduate made the final of the men's 50m butterfly event on Monday, where he was the youngest and the only Asian in the field of eight.

He set a new Asian record of 23.25 seconds to finish seventh.

He added: "Singapore has progressed so much over the years and my generation is blessed with so much more than those before us.

"But there are still many less fortunate ones around us, and (they) need our help."

Schooling added: "I feel strongly about helping these kids because they are the future of our country and hope that people will still come forward to give until the donation drive closes."

May Chen

• To make a donation, visit www.simplygiving.com/josephschooling
The drive will remain open until National Day.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2015, with the headline 'Schooling hits $50k in SPMF drive'. Print Edition | Subscribe