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'Corporate giving is not just about painting walls'
APART from educating clients on financial knowledge and management skills, specialist financial training company Alpha Development believes in setting an example of corporate giving for other companies.
"Corporate giving is not just about painting walls," said Paul Monk, Alpha Development's Asia Pacific managing director.
"True corporate giving should use and develop the skills of the employees of the corporation involved to benefit the community that they are working with," he said.
Over the years, the company's corporate giving initiatives have moved away from contributions through taxes or seasonal giving.
Instead, Alpha Development now advocates a partnership-based, value- adding approach that is sustained throughout the business year.
The London-based company, which established its Singapore office in 2013, takes several steps to find suitable partners.
It evaluates initiatives to see if they are relevant to the core of its business and aligned to the interests of its employees.
The company then identifies possible issues and risks. This is followed up with examinations on how its employees can most add value to the initiative.
Educational initiatives have been the focus for Alpha Development.
An example is the numeracy training programme the company has set up with Flour Power, a local social enterprise bakery that trains people with special needs in baking skills.
Alpha Development used its expertise in training and development to create a tailored curriculum for individuals who had learning difficulties in maths.
Flour Power founder Lena Ng said: "It helped my trainees back then better figure out basic concepts of numbers and even money."
The majority of Alpha Development's clients come from financial institutions all over the world, including Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and DBS.
Alpha Development is currently in talks with some of these institutions to spur them to improve their corporate giving initiatives.
For firms that want to begin their journey in corporate giving, Alpha Development said the size of the contribution does not matter, as long as the ultimate aim is to build long-term sustainable and meaningful partnerships.
Alpha Development programme coordinator Komala Murugiah said: "There are so many ways to give and it starts with having the right attitude - know that we are working on something much larger than ourselves."
- This article is part of a series highlighting inspiring companies that are catalysts of change in corporate giving. The Business Times supports NVPC's Company of Good programme as a media partner. Go to www.companyofgood.sg for more information.