Sole breadwinner donates every month to charity

As a technician with Sembawang Shipyard Pte Ltd, 64-year-old Mr Lok Tai draws a monthly salary of $1,500.

He is the sole breadwinner of his family of three, with his 24-year-old daughter reading Law at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Despite these obligations, Mr Lok has been committed to donating $2 every month through Community Chest’s monthly workplace giving programme, SHARE since he joined the company in 2001.

He said, “I was retrenched and was unemployed for six months before finding this job, so I am very grateful to be a part of this big family. $2 a month is something I can afford since I have the ability to work. I always believe that one should help those in need when he has the ability to do so as he may one day require the help of others.”

Influenced by his late mum, who taught him to be charitable, Mr Lok yesterday decided to increase his donation to $5 a month, as he feels that at this point in time, $5 would be a better amount to donate.

As part of the SHARE programme, Sembawang Shipyard – which received the SHARE Corporate Gold Award at the Awards ceremony last month – matches every dollar of their employees’ donation. Under the programme, employees make monthly donations via GIRO, credit card or payroll and have his or her tax deductions automatically included in their tax assessments.

He hopes that more people will learn about SHARE, as he feels it is meaningful.

“The programme is very good, and I’m happy to be a part of it,” said Mr Lok.

Community Chest recognises its partners

At the annual Community Chest Awards Presentation Ceremony held today at the Istana, a record number of 47 long-time partners were recognised for their generosity and support to Community Chest for a decade or more.

The number of 10-, 15- and 20-Year Outstanding Awards given out is the highest since the first Awards ceremony held in 1985. This record number is also more than four times compared to a decade ago.

A total of 160 awards were presented at today’s ceremony. This includes the Corporate Platinum Award for Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and SPH Foundation. SPH Limited had also received the SHARE Bronze Award at the Awards ceremony last month.

SPH and SPH Foundation worked with Community Chest to identify and donate a total of $400,000 to 20 charitable programmes every year. 10 of these charitable programmes which cater to the needs of the elderly will then each receive a donation of $20,000 from SPH, while SPH Foundation will donate $20,000 to each of the other 10 programmes serving underprivileged children and youth.

Ms Ginney Lim, SPH’s General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications, who is also General Manager of the SPH Foundation, said: “We are proud to receive the Corporate Platinum Award for the third consecutive year. Through our contributions, we hope to improve the lives of the needy, and inspire others to do the same for the less fortunate. Besides charity and contributions to the community, SPH and SPH Foundation actively contribute in the area of the arts, education, sports, nature and conservation as part of our giving back to society.”

Over 80 per cent of the awards presented today are in recognition of the organisations and their employees’ support towards SHARE.

Pinnacle Award

This year, three organisations were presented the Pinnacle Award – the highest honour given to donors of Community Chest – by the Guest-of-Honour, President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

These are SingTel, Temasek Polytechnic and Langdon & Seah Singapore Pte Ltd.

SingTel’s cornerstone philanthropy programme, the SingTel Touching Lives Fund, raised more than $20 million for charities supported by Community Chest over the past decade. Beyond donations, SingTel actively engages its employees, business partners and the general public through a wide range of fund-raising activities.

These included the annual Fold-A-Heart campaign where SingTel donated $1 for every origami and electronic heart received, its flag day in June 2011 that involved over 800 staff and their family and friends, and its annual charity golf event. In addition, all fund-raising costs are fully under-written by SingTel to ensure that every dollar donated goes towards helping children and youth with special needs.

Ms Jeann Low, Chairman of the SingTel Touching Lives Fund and SingTel Group Chief Financial Officer, said: “SingTel encourages employees to volunteer their time with the STLF beneficiaries and promotes the concept of volunteering as a team. Many departments choose to spend time with the beneficiaries through visits, excursions, parties or lend a hand to collect books and give the beneficiaries’ premises a new coat of paint, as part of their team bonding activity.”

Temasek Polytechnic, meanwhile, started participating in SHARE in 1991. With strong support from the management, it had kept its average staff participation rate at more than 90 per cent for the last ten years.

Staff members from Temasek Polytechnic also took on the role of SHARE champions. One of them who had gone the extra mile was Mrs Toh Sian Chow, a human resource officer.

Besides conducting briefing sessions to new staff to highlight the SHARE programme to them, she also shared with her colleagues how donations to Community Chest were utilised to help the needy and related her personal experiences to interest them to do their part for charity.

She related: “I am not from a wealthy family and even almost had to stop schooling after PSLE to provide for the family. I was fortunate to have received the help from my form teacher and my neighbour that enabled me to continue my studies. I also received Temasek Polytechnic’s sponsorship to do two diplomas since I joined in 1991. The kindness, generosity and support I have received thus far have changed my life and I hope to pay it forward and help those in need through promoting SHARE.”

The third recipient of the Pinnacle Award, Langdon & Seah Singapore Pte Ltd had, been supporting the SHARE programme since 1984. To encourage its staff to come on board the programme, the company provided an additional 20 per cent top-up for every staff’s contribution to SHARE.

The company’s corporate social responsibility committee also organised fund-raising activities and other community projects to promote SHARE to its staff and members of the public.

Community Chest aims to raise $72.3 million this year to help support 82 charities in running 219 critical social service programmes. The funds raised will benefit over 300,000 people including children with special needs, youths-at-risk, persons with disabilities, lonely and frail elderly and families in need.

This article was first published in Asiaone