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Make an altruistic investment in Singapore's future.

Monday, November 9, 2015

When I blogged about making a donation to NUS' university wide bursary program, a reader asked me, "What about NTU?"

As I make regular donations to NUS and I tell people about it when I have a chance, that was not the first time I was asked that question.

Well, honestly, I have more affinity towards NUS because I spent four years there. However, I do understand that there are needy students in NTU too.

So, in September, I decided to make a donation to NTU's bursary program to help needy Singaporean students there as well.

This is taken from NTU's website:

"The NTU, MOE, Donated and CDC/CCC University Bursary is open to Singaporean students."  Source: NTU.

Some readers might remember a rather disturbing episode that happened on my FB wall when I encouraged donations to NUS' university wide bursary program. 

By sharing the above statement from NTU, I have taken out the guesswork as to the beneficiaries of the program.

If we have the ability to be so, we should really consider being charitable and helping those in need.

Although there are exceptions, I do believe that most Singaporeans are charitable people.

There are many ways to make a donation to NTU. See options here.

There is also an option for making a donation online using a credit card: here.

AK made a $500.00 donation online.

Don't be shy to make a small donation as even $10 would go some distance to helping the needy.

In this instance, we would also be making an altruistic investment in Singapore's future.

Related post:
Making a donation to help needy students.


AK71 said...

Alan Teow:
HI AK, how can you be sure that the money you donate will go to Singaporean ?

Jason Cheng:
AK, as an NTU graduate, let me advise you to donate your money elsewhere. NTU runs this igave program which hires students to be telemarketeers and call u every few months to make you donate more. This means not all your money is used to help the less fortunate. I seriously don't know how much money is dispersed to less fortunate students because it is not highlighted by the student union. If u really want to help a student, I suggest u to bypass the middleman and go to the person instead. It will ensure your money is fully utilized and not used to pay 'administrative fees' instead. Cheers.

Assi AK:
Varsity wide bursaries at NTU and NUS are for needy Singaporean undergrads. It is stated quite clearly. I don't see any reason not to believe it unless there is evidence to say otherwise.

I am sure that there are costs involved in running charities. People don't work for free. So, for example, do we stop donating to the NKF or KDF to help needy patients because these charities have staff who need to be paid salaries? Unless there is evidence to show that donations have been misused, I don't think scepticism is a good reason to stop supporting charities.

I would be quite happy if most of my donation goes to supporting the needy and some of it goes to paying people who are working to make sure funds are raised to help the needy.

Siew Mun said...

Hey, not forget you get 3 times the money you donated as tax deductibles for this Jubilee year only. 'Offer' ends 31 Dec 2015.

talesteller said...

AFAIK, needy students are given priority for on-campus jobs like this, so even the money that goes towards paying the telemarketers is for a good cause.

AK71 said...

Jason Cheng:
Ak, I don't mean to put down your donation, but I find it strange that you choose to donate to a financially opaque organization. Yes, it is true that they are helping students but is the organization maximizing its finances to achieve its aims? From NTU's 2014 financial report, nothing about igave's financial statement was in it. Only on page 58, only the net values of various donation channels were listed. igave's name was not even in the report itself.

Donations are just like investments, an investment in other people's futures. Even Warren Buffett does his homework on the various charities he give, one of the biggest donations he gave created safe IUD contraceptives for women everywhere. Ak, u taught us how to invest our money wisely so we all can benefit, and that is your gift to us. Why not extend this wisdom to the charities as well?

Assi AK:
Jason, I appreciate your good intentions. Maybe, I should just stick to donating to NUS. ;p

NUS gives me an annual summary of how much money is collected and where the money went. I do not know if NTU would do this. I will wait and see.

A matter that disturbs me is that I have yet to receive a receipt from NTU which was why I took a photo of the line in my credit card statement for this blog post. I usually receive a receipt from NUS within a week or 2 of making a donation.

I do agree with you that we should be careful not to donate to dubious charities. Temple building fund in some part of China? Nah.

I did go to NTU's website, read how the money is to benefit needy Singaporean students before making the donation. I hope my faith in the NTU system is not misplaced.

Having said this, should we put donations to charities in the same box as investments or should we put them in the same box as religious tithing? Just me being mischievous. ;p

ghchua said...

Hi AK71,

I make regular donations to NTU iGave programme to their Bursary fund and I wonder whether Jason Cheng knows that it is managed by NTU Development Office and not by the Student Union.

Moreover, for every dollar you have donated, the government matches it dollar-for-dollar. It is difficult to get this kind of matching if you donate individually to a person and also the impact of benefiting a group of students rather than each individual.

If Jason Cheng really wants to control the funds that he like to donate, I suggest that he set up an endowment fund with NTU Development Office under his name. He will have more control on how and who those funds will be distributed and managed accordingly.

AK71 said...

Hi Siew Mun,

Thanks for the reminder. I forgot to mention that. :)

I wonder if I would be able to benefit from such income tax relief this year since my earned income is much lower. Maybe, I won't have to pay any income tax at all. ;p

AK71 said...

Hi talesteller,

Oh, so the telemarketers employed by NTU are actually NTU undergrads?

That is good to know. :)

AK71 said...

Jason Cheng:
I was in NTU a few years back and I know that igave had been confronted by some students over how much was dispersed. At that time, I remembered the annual bursary given to underprivileged students was 1.2k even though the school semester fee is 6k. The school newspaper glossed over the issue and that was that. I agree you should stick to NUS since the numbers are readily available.

Assi AK:
Ng Yong Sing, Do you know anything about this?

Ng Yong Sing:
Assi AK, not that i know of. So far i do know that sponsors get to meet the beneficiaries they support.
NTU has always been efficient when it comes to acknowledgement of payment for students. Acknowledgement to donors... i hope yours is an isolated case. =="

AK71 said...

Hi ghchua,

Thanks for throwing light on the matter. :)

One of the things I want to do is to eventually set up an endowment fund to benefit needy students. This is also because I would like to have a greater say in who gets to benefit from my donations. It will take some time for me to do this.

In the meantime, the lazy AK is quite happy just making regular donations to a pool which is used to fund bursaries for needy Singaporean undergrads. I believe that education is still the best way to benefit, in a lasting manner, individuals and society at large.

Ana said...

I'm suspect those 'telemarketers' are NTU students. I doubt they are paid financially (unless an existing telemarketer steps up to say otherwise). They are probably paid with ECA points which goes towards getting a hostel room in the following academic year.
AS for the annual disbursement of S$1.2k....I don't see anything wrong with a bursery that is lower than the school fees. The sum of money still goes towards helping the student in need. I do understand there is a lot of public backlash arising from foreign students who are admitted into NTU and they might be the beneficiaries of these donations. While I understand the sentiments..by not giving at all, we would end up depriving a singaporean student at NTU in need, wouldn't we?

AK71 said...

Hi Ana,

I have checked and I am sure that bursaries are for Singaporeans only.

Foreign students could be paid by the Singapore government to study in NUS and NTU but they would be funded by scholarships.

So, when we make donations to NUS and NTU, be sure to select "bursaries" if we wish for our donations to benefit only fellow Singaporeans. ;)

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