More people should step up to volunteer their time and experience, instead of just donating money, in order to improve social mobility in Singapore, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing.
He was speaking at the Singapore Children's Society (SCS) Charity Gala Dinner 2016 yesterday, where more than $800,000 was raised to support its beneficiaries - children, youth and their families.
"Increasingly, we need role models - people who can commit their time (and are) willing to share their talent, to help many of these families... and build an inclusive society," said Mr Chan.
Only one in five people here volunteered last year, according to The World Giving Index 2016, conducted by Britain-based Charities Aid Foundation, released last month. That put the country in 54th place in the category of volunteering, 12 spots lower than the year before.
The money raised at yesterday's gala will be channelled to the society's services and programmes for its more than 67,000 beneficiaries.
Noting the current "tough economic period", SCS chairman Koh Choon Hui thanked people for their donations.
"The journey of building a long and better future for the children from needy and dysfunctional families can be a long and challenging one," he said.
"Your donation is not just giving the children a chance at education, a shelter over their heads and food on the table but, more importantly, creating new opportunity for them to gain higher self-esteem to be better adults in future."
The cost of operating the SCS has increased over the years, with this year's budget at around $16 million due to its expanding services and programmes.
More than 500 sponsors and donors attended the event, which was held at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore.
Established in 1952, the SCS operates 11 service centres islandwide.