$1.19 million worth of CDC vouchers donated to charity last year, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

$1.19 million worth of CDC vouchers donated to charity last year

Close to 10,000 households donated $1.19 million worth of Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers to charity in 2022, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong at a networking lunch for charities, held at the People’s Association (PA) headquarters on Nov 27.

“That’s a tremendous number when you think about how it was completely ground up, not organised,” he added, noting that the donation scheme was set up in 2022 after many people approached PA and the CDCs about wanting to donate their vouchers after the first tranche was given out in 2020.

Giving details on the donations, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, and Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling added that charities focusing on healthcare, such as those supporting hospice patients, received 34 per cent of the total amount donated. The top recipient was the Children’s Cancer Foundation.

Another 21 per cent of donations went to charities supporting families and children. Charities serving young people and animal welfare organisations received around 11 per cent of donations each.

Ms Low, who is also Mayor of the South West District, said the Cat Welfare Society got $40,000, while wildlife rescue group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society garnered $36,000, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals received $26,000.

The fifth-largest sum went to charities helping persons with disabilities, which received 9 per cent of donations.

Ms Low said 99 per cent of Singaporean households have claimed their vouchers, and around 88 per cent of the CDC vouchers claimed in 2023 have already been spent on heartland merchants.

“It also helped to catalyse the demand for products and services, in our heartland, among our heartland merchants, among our hawkers,” she said.

She added that the CDC voucher scheme has also encouraged heartland merchants who had a “phobia” of going digital to accept e-payments, and even embark on e-commerce for their businesses. More than 22,000 heartland merchants, hawkers and supermarkets are participating in the scheme.

People who wish to donate their unspent CDC vouchers can do so from Dec 1, 2023 to Jan 31, 2024.

They can donate to any of 270 participating charities that are registered Institutions of a Public Character – that is, charities allowed to collect tax-deductible donations.

In her speech, Ms Low also outlined five strategic directions to guide the CDCs for the next three years: building caring, inclusive, healthy, learning and sustainable communities.

These pillars align with the Forward SG movement and hope to better reach residents with the programmes available, she said.

Dr Abdul Qader Al-aidaroos, chief executive of Darul Ihsan orphanages, said more than 200 households donated their CDC vouchers to the orphanages in 2022.

He said the CDC voucher donation scheme helped raise awareness of the two orphanages to boost its fund-raising efforts. “(It) allowed us to access a new pool of supporters that we will not have conventionally accessed through our normal fund-raising means.”

He said more than half of the 60 children served by the homes, aged five to 18, are not orphans but are in protection due to abuse and neglect.

“It is a very demanding role that the charity has taken upon and the resources we have are limited,” he added.

The homes need facility upgrades and tuition catered to each child. The homes are also seeing more younger children, who require different toys and educational needs – all of which can be costly, he said.

Ms Juliet Tanuwira, executive director of =Dreams, a residential campus for disadvantaged secondary school students, said donations helped to support the organisation’s mission of uplifting young people to achieve social mobility.

“This support is a testament that this vision of supporting youth towards social mobility is not just the organisation’s, but is a shared aspiration with fellow citizens,” she said.

Donations for the relatively new charity, registered in April 2021, went towards supporting residential living for the young people, including food, accommodation, after-school academic support, and talent and interest development activities.

She added: “It takes a village to raise a child. And as much as we work with families, schools, family service centres, as well as ComLink (Community Link), when the community comes in, it weaves in another layer of fabric which is the neighbourliness, and I think that’s something that adds on a layer of care for the youth.”

Those who wish to donate their unspent CDC vouchers can do so on the CDC Vouchers Scheme website at vouchers.cdc.gov.sg.