Porsche charity gala dinner raises some $112k for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund

Mr Karsono Kwee, Stuttgart Auto's founder and executive chairman of its parent company Eurokars Group, presenting a cheque to Ms Tan Bee Heong, General Manager of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.
Mr Karsono Kwee, Stuttgart Auto's founder and executive chairman of its parent company Eurokars Group, presenting a cheque to Ms Tan Bee Heong, General Manager of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR

SINGAPORE - Glamour and a good cause joined hands on Friday (June 8) at the Shangri-La Hotel, when The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) received a total donation of $111,900 at a Porsche charity gala dinner.

The German car company, which was celebrating its 70th anniversary, organised the event in conjunction with Stuttgart Auto Pte Ltd, the sole dealer for Porsche cars here.

To mark the occasion, Stuttgart Auto's founder and executive chairman of its parent company Eurokars Group Karsono Kwee initiated a donation of $70,000 from his company.

When asked on his motivation for such a move, 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, which he explained made Singapore what it is today.

"Education can open up one's future potential, and contribute to society in future," he added.

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.

Since its inception, 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 also 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.

A charity auction was also organised, featuring seven items such as the racing suit of Australian former professional driver Mark Webber, which raised a total of $20,900.

Mr Darshan Mehta, 51, the director of an industrial engineering company Novus Technik Pte Ltd, made the highest bid of the night, for a limited edition 1919 Datetimer 70Y watch for $5,600.

"It's not about the price, it's a donation," he said. "I haven't bought a watch but rather a gift for children. I'm happy they gave me something back."