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President Star Charity – where’s the missing $840,000?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on October 8, 2007

By Leong Sze Hian

I refer to media reports that the President’s Star charity show raised a record $5.4 million.

According to the Straits Times’ report on Oct 1, 2007:

“This year’s musical extravaganza raised a record $5.46 million for 32 charities, out of which viewers donated $567,700 by calling hotlines. The rest of the money came from corporate donors.”

TODAY newspaper, Oct 2, reported that:

The biggest individual donor was Lippo Group president Stephen Riady — who gave $1 million — while the largest corporate donor was the Lee Foundation with its pledge of $1.5 million. Six other organisations — Singapore Totalisator Board, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, Continental Steel, Singapore Pools, Singapore Sports Council and The Jewish Community of Singapore — contributed a total of $3.25 million.” (link)

The total donated by corporate donors was $5.75 million (Lee Foundation $1.5 million, Lippo Group $1 million, and 6 other organisations $3.25 million).

Adding the above $5.75 million to the public donations of $567,700, gives a total of $6.3 million. So, why is the total donated amount only $5.46 million, which is $840,000 short?

Where has the $840,000 gone to? Shouldn’t there be some disclosure on this?

To my living memory, I believe $567,700 may be the lowest amount ever for donations from the public, excluding corporate donors.

Why is this so?

Since the NKF saga, I understand that practically every television charity show was touted as raising new record amounts. However, I notice that the amount of donations from the public appears to have been declining.

Can the relevant authority please confirm whether this has been the trend?

In the first President’ Star Charity show following the NKF saga, for the first time in the history of Singapore, donation calls were toll-free.

I wrote to the newspaper forum applauding this change, and suggested that it be continued. However, subsequent donation calls have started to charge 21 cents per call again.

Running out of funds

There have been various reports in the media of Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) running out of funds. I have just received a call from a friend who sits on the board of a 30
year old VWO appealing for donations, because it is about to run out of money.

At almost every meeting of VWOs that I have attended, I hear the general problem of the greater challenge of raising funds, since the NKF issue.

According to he National Volunteer and Philanthrophy Centre’s (NVPC) 2006 Individual Giving Survey Results, “dollars donated have declined” from an estimated $438 million in 2004 to $341 million in 2006. This is a decline of 22 per cent.

The donor incidence rate also fell from 97 per cent to 89 per cent, and the average donation per donor fell from $155 to $125.

Donor fatique was ranked as the highest “main issue” that VWOs faced in their fund-raising efforts.

Poor donating more than rich

According to the SALT magazine (For Volunteers, Donors and Non-profits) of Jul-Aug 2007, “For Richer or For Poorer ?”, the lower income donated the most, compared to the highest income. Donors earning less than $ 1,000 a month, donated 0.65 per cent of annual income, those earning $ 8,000 – $ 8,999 and $ 9,000 – $ 9,999 donated only 0.04 and 0.13 per
cent respectively.

In average absolute dollar terms, the poorest donated $ 6.49 a month, and the rich donated only $ 3.60 ($ 8,000 – $ 8,999 earners).

If we do not acknowledge the problem of declining public donations, and focus on announcing ever record-breaking total donations in charity shows, how will Singaporeans be encouraged to donate more?

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17 Responses to “President Star Charity – where’s the missing $840,000?”

  1. Eddie Loh said

    I’m not surprise on the above-mentioned. All my friends and relatives I spoke to are not opening their wallets because they are not happy on the verdict from the NKS saga.

    The defamation law had been used by the old NKS to silence the poor peasants when they stood up and spoke the Truth nothing but the Truth. The Government has done nothing to restrict the use of defamation law to prevent future abuses.

    The law in Singapore favour the rich people who have deep pocket and IMHO justice over here only apply if you are rich and powerful.

  2. James Chia said

    Lippo Group is the organisation which Yeo Cheow Tong joined isn’t it?

  3. 80 year old granny said

    unfortunately after the minister salary hike, my 80 year old mom has banned all of us from donating to president charity – she said the president (and ministers) can donate their own pay to the President charity – Thank you.

  4. Leong Sze Hian said

    If it costs $840,000 of donors’ money to raise just $567,700 from the public, then perhaps we might as well forget about the charity show, since corporate donors would have donated the $5.75 million anyway, with or without a charity show! Unless, without a television appearance may mean less corporate donations?

  5. lol said

    ironic life in SG… i guess most pple lost faith in charities and in the gahmen.

  6. Grandad To Be said

    I am sorry I cannot donate.

    I need my saving for my medical expenses. I have more than $28,000 in CPF Medisave that I cannot use. I need to fork out cash for my medicines and consultation. Unlike my previous heart attack which I stayed in the CGH ICU for days, I cannot use my Medisave to pay for my non-chronic illnesses.

    Maybe I should get another heart attack to utilise my CPF Medisave.

    Uniquely Singapore

  7. simple peasant said

    The show must go on, as we are preventing to be a world class nation. Otherwise, our President will have a harder time to explain why he is receiving his huge salary. It make him looked more important when he has a charity show named after him.

    Or else, people visiting Istana during the holidays may think that he is a the most expensive gardener in the Istana.

  8. […] making sick S’poreans accept earlier death due to cost issues is not! – The online Citizen: President Star Charity – where’s the missing $840,000? – empty_vessels: How exactly NOT to answer a question. – Urbanrant: Is it time to be honest with […]

  9. Seeking Salvation said

    Charity starts at Home thats the familiar saying
    There 2 things which has issues at heart

    1) The NKF issues which has seen the indian chief getting away
    after so much damage he has done

    2) The old geezers including the fat gardener in istana who should be paying more to charity till to date they seems to be feeding their face more than giving to the poor (that is poor karma for them)

  10. David said

    I suggest we donate the president himself to his own charity. It’s time for the president to make himself useful after all these years of just being a ridiculously expensive puppet-play.

    The president should exercised his moral authority and conscience by committing and giving his life for charity cause, which means the president live a pauper life to understand the suffering of the people.

  11. Andrew Loh said

    David,

    It might be a good idea for the president to give a “State of the Reserves” address every year to let Singaporeans know what the govt is doing with our money.

    After all, he is given the so-called second key to safeguard our money, right?

    Thus, it is only right that he gives an account of it every year to the people – instead of attending one charity event after another.

    Can anyone remember this president doing anything substantial since coming into office some 8 years ago?

  12. macabresg said

    Andrew, the best president we have would be Mr Ong Teng Cheong who dared to question the government on the reserves that we actually have. Mr Ong was also the one who initiated the MRT project wasn’t he?

  13. David said

    Andrew,
    it is known fact that PAP employed ministers and leaders that are essentially YES-MAN. One of example is just our president which I consider a joke. I agree with what you say about president telling us how much reserves we have. On top of that, we should also make it mandatory for president, PM, MM, MP, etc every year to justify why they deserve to hold their post and salary. Perhaps, Andrew, you want to publish the role of president, PM, MM, in here.
    Doing so will seriously shame these leaders into doing a proper job rather than just simply fly by and pass all the cost and expense to citizen of Singapore.
    Seriously, our government need a overhaul because these leaders have taken things for granted and not worthy of their salary.

    Other make and deserve millions from the risk and sweat they taken, our gahmen just simply get millions by default with no justification at all.

    Whenever people ask why the leaders deserve their salary, their answer is always about that they create stability and peace. No wonder we never find another Sim Wong Hong, nobel winner, etc in Singapore and we keep marginalised by foreigner and local alike because these leaders doesn’t think out of the box. We deserve a better and exciting society, not one that is dull and about money.

  14. singaporeboleh said

    Did the president himself donate to the President Charity?

  15. oh man said

    To Singaporeboleh sorry – did the president donate? Donch you remember that after PM Lee mentioned he will donate his pay rise, Dr Bala said it is a private thing for each individual minister – and they should not publicise this at all?
    Anyway, after the Ong Teng Cheong fiasco, the govt has decided to employ only YES MEN to the post of the Presidency. What choice do they have, Seriously…. Did the President say anything to the poor living on $290 per month…..nothing.
    Yes men / women – That goes for the 80 PAP MPs who voted to increase the withdrawal age of CPF from 62 to 67 – regardless of Gan Kim Yong indication that only a small percentage of those over 62 will find jobs in future….what kind of planning is that? As far as I am concerned, the withdrawal age + annuity should be sent for further studies before it is implemented – not just the annuity alone.

  16. Daniel said

    “Yes men / women – That goes for the 80 PAP MPs who voted to increase the withdrawal age of CPF from 62 to 67 – regardless of Gan Kim Yong indication that only a small percentage of those over 62 will find jobs in future….what kind of planning is that? As far as I am concerned, the withdrawal age + annuity should be sent for further studies before it is implemented – not just the annuity alone.”

    The answer is because the old man say so and make the final say and the rest of pappies will just agreed in order to secure their luxury pay.

    They rather take your money and leave you with nothing now , than give you the money and leave them with nothing.

  17. oh man said

    I just realised we have to be thankful to Ho Ching. After Forbes put her on the most powerful list, only then did we know the size of our reserves. She did something that no president could do in their lifetime – reveal the size of our reserves. Hail Mrs Lee! Hail Ho!!

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