Woman bequeathed $162,000 to Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund

The late Johanna Makkink bequeathed a sum of $162,000 to TheStraits Times Pocket Money Fund before she passed away in 2016.
The late Johanna Makkink bequeathed a sum of $162,000 to TheStraits Times Pocket Money Fund before she passed away in 2016.PHOTO: HEIKO SCHULZE

SINGAPORE - Before Ms Johanna Makkink died at the age of 65 in 2016, she bequeathed a portion of her estate to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF).

Last November, the charity received $162,000 from the Singapore permanent resident, who hailed from the Netherlands. The fund supports students from low-income families.

Ms Makkink, affectionately known to loved ones as Yoka, worked as a consultant and was a loyal ST reader who frequently gave to various charities and made donations to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"Although Yoka had no children, I know that she always had a special interest for them and the future of our planet that belongs to them," said her sister Karolien Makkink, 55, a project manager in clinical research.

"In STSPMF she must have found a worthy destination for her money."

While legacy giving counts as one of the more uncommon forms of donations made to the fund, several others have also bequeathed legacy gifts or planned future donations.

In 2014, STSPMF received $621,000 from the sale of a Toa Payoh Housing Board flat bequeathed by Mr Lim Khing Pat, who died in 2011. His age and occupation were not known by STSPMF.

Some, like Mr Darren Tan, 46, have named the charity as a beneficiary of their Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings.

Like Ms Johanna Makkink, Mr Tan decided to donate to the fund as he has a soft spot for children, especially those from underprivileged families.

"I empathise with them because I came from a needy family and going to school back then with just 80 cents of pocket money was a struggle," he said.

Mr Tan, who is retired from an administrative job on medical grounds, named STSPMF as a beneficiary of his CPF savings in 2014 after his arthritis began to take a toll on his health a year earlier.

"My medical condition is not life threatening but at that point, the pain was too much. That's when I thought that I may just leave this world at any moment and I should make financial bequests," he said.

Mr Tan has also bequeathed a percentage of his insurance payout, cash savings and the proceeds from the sale of his HDB flat to the charity.

"I applied for a bursary every year from primary school all the way to university, and the money came from taxpayers. Since I benefited from the system, I must give back. I'm happy if I can help others," said Mr Tan.

Ms Tan Bee Heong, general manager of STSPMF, said planned giving is uncommon as people usually do not want to think about death, but there are benefits to this form of donation.

"It allows a donor to consider giving larger gifts in support of a cause he strongly believes in and be able to make an impact in the community beyond his lifetime," she said.