SINGAPORE - A total of $6.6 million was raised in 2022 to help needy children, the highest since the Singapore Children’s Society’s fund-raising initiatives were launched.
The sum was donated by 1,806 enterprises and individuals to two of the charity’s fund-raising initiatives, 1000 Enterprises for Children-in-Need and 1000 Philanthropists – dubbed 1000E and 1000P – which were launched in 2009 and 2014, respectively.
The previous record was $6.4 million in 2021, donated by 1,744 enterprises and individuals.
The charity’s chairman, Mr Koh Choon Hui, said: “Against a backdrop of lingering uncertainty from the pandemic, we were able to carry on with our work because of the unwavering support from our donors.
“Over the last three years, businesses and individuals alike have demonstrated their willingness to respond to the needs of the community in crisis. We are truly humbled by the outpouring of support that we have received in these challenging times.”
Speaking at a donor appreciation event at Orchard Hotel on Thursday, Mr Koh said 551 enterprises contributed $3.5 million to the 1000E programme in 2022, while an “unprecedented” total of 1,255 individuals donated $3.1 million to the 1000P in a “record-breaking year” for the programme.
The organisation had 1,109 philanthropist donors in 2021, and 965 in 2020.
Singapore Children’s Society operates more than 10 service centres islandwide. It reached out to 19,973 children, youth and families in need in 2021.
Mr Koh said the charity’s programmes have evolved to meet the changing needs of children, such as teaching them body safety skills and training pre-school educators amid the rising number of child sexual abuse cases reported in recent years.
To tackle increasingly complex mental health concerns among children and youth, he said, the society launched Oasis for Minds Services to provide mental health services.
Another programme, Kaki Learn, provides students with homework support and a space to learn and socialise, on top of engaging parents in its activities “so they remain involved in their children’s lives, helping to foster a stronger bond in the long run”.
Singapore Children’s Society also does research on parenting, such as the contentious issue of physical discipline, coming up with findings on the negative impact of physical discipline on children.
Addressing donors and volunteers in his speech at the event, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is the charity’s patron, said: “You show our children, youth and families in need that we care for them, we want them to do well, and no one will get left behind.
“This gives them the strength and confidence to rebuild themselves and to do better, and makes us a more united, caring and inclusive society.”
SM Teo recounted how Mr Koh and another board member, Mr Kurt Wee, started the 1000E programme during a time of crisis.
“Just after the global financial crisis in 2009, Choon Hui and Kurt came to me. They said, we are going to have a problem because we do not know whether our donors will be as generous, and we cannot stop providing services.
“Indeed, for a social welfare organisation, it is a big challenge, because it is at those times – when the economy is bad, when families have lost jobs, when parents and families are under stress – that you need these services even more.”
Mr Leonard Sim was recognised at Thursday’s dinner for helping the Singapore Children’s Society raise $720,000 since joining its fund-raising committee as a volunteer in 2019.
“I wanted to donate money, but I was a fresh graduate and didn’t have much money to donate with my starting pay. I wanted to do more than what I could. So I decided to help raise money instead,” said the 29-year-old.
Mr Sim, who has a background in finance and marketing, works full time in human resources.
After work, he reaches out to potential donors on social media and through cold calls, explaining what the charity does and how donor support can make an impact. He added that he also donates to the charity.
Corporate consulting firm Jkhoo Consultancy was among the businesses honoured – it donated almost $100,000 in total in 2021 and 2022 to mark its 10th anniversary. Its founder and executive director Jeff Khoo said he decided to contribute to the charity after he had a son.
“Kids weren’t in my life before that, but after I had my son quite late in life, the world of kids was close to my heart,” said the 52-year-old.
“Kids are pure innocence and no child gets to choose where he is born into. My wife and I wanted to help look after the basic needs of kids and give them a good start in life.”
He added that he also wanted to set a good example for his six-year-old son.
“At the end of the day, you can earn a lot money, you can be super high-profile, but I think the true mark of success is when you are able to give back to society and help people.
“Even if I can’t inspire others, the one person I hope I can inspire is my son. Even if he can be very successful monetarily or in his career, I won’t find him very successful unless he can also help people and make an impact – then I’ll be very proud of him.”