Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

March 22, 2008

Property developer an early donor to philanthropic cause

Filed under: General — Propertymarketupdates @ 12:21 am

Foundation, set up to pool money from the rich, has received pledges of $6m so far.

PROPERTY developer Simon Cheong was having dinner two weeks ago when he received an SMS from a friend asking for $1 million.

The text message said that the money was needed to help start the Community Foundation of Singapore, which was set up to boost philanthropy among the growing number of millionaires in the Republic.

The 50-year-old, one of Singapore’s richest men, had an immediate reply to the SMS, which came from Mr Stanley Tan, chairman of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC): Yes.

When contacted by The Straits Times, Mr Cheong, the chairman and chief executive of SC Global, said: ‘I am deeply honoured to be asked to help in this good cause.

‘I feel strongly that since society has made it possible for me to succeed, it’s only right that I give back.’

Mr Cheong – who is said to have a $480US million ($665S million) fortune – is the first of those with deep pockets to pledge $1 million to the Foundation – an initiative announced by the Government on Wednesday.

The Foundation, to be spearheaded by the NVPC, will pool together donations from those who are rich, but not wealthy enough to justify the administrative cost of starting their own foundations.

The new Foundation has already received $6 million in pledges – Mr Cheong’s $1 million and another $5 million from a company that declined to be named.

Another firm is also ’seriously thinking’ about donating $5 million, said the NVPC’s Mr Tan.

The Government will also pump in $10 million to help get the Foundation going and to cover its operational expenses.

The Foundation will hire banks to invest and grow the donations it receives, and donors can decide which charities or causes they want to give to.

Alternatively, donors can let the Foundation decide how best to donate their money.

Mr Tan hopes to find 50 individuals who will give $1 million each and 10 companies that will give $5 million apiece.

The Community Foundation will start disbursing its funds once it gets $50 million in donations, said Mr Tan.

Saying he hopes this will be done by the second half of this year, he added with a laugh: ‘I’m going to make many calls and (send) SMSes.’

Million-dollar SMS to Simon Cheong: $1 million needed to start a new community foundation for charity.

His immediate reply: Yes.

Source : Straits Times – 8 Mar 2008

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