SINGAPORE - DBS Bank is setting aside $100 million to support philanthropic causes, bringing its total commitment to more than $160 million since 2014.
The new funds will be channelled to its eight-year-old DBS Foundation, which traditionally champions social entrepreneurship.
The foundation’s mandate has now expanded to support the wider community, focusing on giving and volunteerism efforts in the areas of elderly, education and the environment. Examples include raising financial and digital literacy, and reducing food waste.
Besides supporting the foundation’s expanded scope, the $100 million will also be used to support other philanthropic or crisis relief efforts by the bank.
"With this additional $100 million commitment, we will be able to ramp up efforts to create social good, and help pave the way for a more equitable world," said DBS Bank chief executive officer Piyush Gupta in a statement on Feb 11.
He said that the Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of the environmental, social and governance agenda.
The lack of financial and digital literacy has come to the fore, and many people in Asia still lack the know-how, worsening the existing digital divide
DBS also cited studies that have predicted that a quarter of Asians will be 60 years or older by 2050, sparking concerns about the potential socio-economic implications of Asia's rapidly ageing population.
On food waste, DBS said one-third of the food produced globally is lost or wasted. Over half of the incidents are in Asia, where more than half of the world's undernourished people reside. Food waste also contributes to climate change.
The DBS Foundation was first established in 2014 with a $50 million fund committed to supporting social entrepreneurship in the region. Since then, the foundation has given out more than $10 million in grants to more than 90 social enterprises in the region and nurtured more than 800 others through its developmental programmes.
DBS said that the funds may also be used to support other philanthropic initiatives and relief measures for communities in need during times of hardship.
For instance, in 2020, it created the $10.5 million DBS Stronger Together Fund and provided 4.5 million meals, care packs and medical supplies to help communities hard-hit by Covid-19.
Last year, the bank donated 1,000 oxygen concentrators to Indonesia, and three cryogenic oxygen tanks and 300 oxygen concentrators to India.
DBS employees also volunteered 100,000 hours for social and environmental causes, benefiting more than 390,000 beneficiaries last year.