Glamour and a good cause joined hands yesterday at the Shangri-La Hotel when The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) received a $111,900 donation at a Porsche charity gala dinner.
The German car company, which was celebrating its 70th anniversary, organised the event with Stuttgart Auto, the sole dealer for Porsche cars here. To mark the occasion, Stuttgart Auto's founder and executive chairman of its parent company Eurokars Group, Mr Karsono Kwee, initiated a donation of $70,000 from his company.
Asked about his motivation, Mr Kwee recalled his experience confronting poverty in Indonesia. "When I saw people with no education, no home and no food… I told myself then, when I am successful one day, I will donate back to society to help the needy."
The STSPMF's mission thus resonated with Mr Kwee's strong belief in the importance of education.
Initiated by The Straits Times in 2000, STSPMF began as a community project to provide pocket money to children from low-income families to help them through school. It has helped over 160,000 children and youth, and disbursed more than $60 million worth of funds. It currently supports more than 10,000 children and youth a year.
Ms Tan Bee Heong, general manager of STSPMF, thanked Mr Kwee for remembering the fund every time he had "an event to celebrate". Mr Kwee has been a regular donor to the STSPMF since its beginnings, and donated $250,000 to STSPMF when Stuttgart Auto marked its 25th anniversary in 2011.
He rallied Porsche Asia Pacific to contribute to the fund, which, working with Stuttgart Auto, made a contribution of $70 to the fund for every $180 ticket to the event sold, raising an additional $21,000. Over 300 people attended the event yesterday.
A charity auction was also organised, featuring seven items and raising $20,900. Mr Darshan Mehta, 51, director of industrial engineering firm Novus Technik, made the highest bid for a limited edition 1919 Datetimer 70Y watch for $5,600. "I haven't bought a watch, but rather a gift for children. I'm happy they gave me something back," he said.