SINGAPORE – United Overseas Bank (UOB) donated $500,000 to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) on Monday (July 22).

The funds are in support of ChildAid 2019, an annual charity concert by The Straits Times and The Business Times, with STSPMF and the Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BTBAF) as the beneficiaries.

UOB had donated another half a million dollars to BTBAF earlier in May.

Monday’s donation is part of the more than $1.6 million raised from the bank’s annual Lunar New Year reception held in February, with STSPMF as one of the four benefiting charities.

At the reception, guests could pledge donations which UOB matched dollar for dollar up to $250,000.

A specially commissioned art piece, which consisted of three watercolour paintings and featured nine goldfishes to represent wealth, prosperity and longevity, was also auctioned off for $100,000.

Mr Eric Tham, head of UOB Group Commercial Banking, said: “We strive to make a positive difference in the communities in which we operate. One way we do so is by opening up opportunities for young minds to develop their fullest potential.

“This is why we bring together clients and colleagues annually in support of meaningful causes such as STSPMF.”

Mr Warren Fernandez, chairman of the fund and editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings’ English/Malay/Tamil Media Group, said: “The focus of the fund is very simple: Make sure that kids go to school and they don’t go to school hungry.

“UOB’s donation is very generous and this is not the first time they are doing it. They are a long-standing supporter that we appreciate, because it helps us have greater certainty to have the funds to help the kids in need.”

The STSPMF was set up in 2000 by The Straits Times as a community project to provide pocket money for low-income children.

It has disbursed over $68 million to more than 170,000 children to date, helping to fund school-related essentials, such as meals during recess and payment for transport.

Around $5.37 million has been disbursed by the STSPMF since the start of this year.

This year’s ChildAid concert, now in its 15th year, will be staged on Nov 20 and 21 at the Esplanade Theatre, with musician Dick Lee returning as its creative director.