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For Citi, it's about a lot more than philanthropy
CITIZENSHIP is core to Citi and is deeply embedded in its mission of enabling growth and progress around the world. It is a responsibility shared by Citi's employees, businesses, clients, suppliers, and communities.
Amol Gupte, head of Asean and Citi country officer for Singapore, says: "For more than 200 years, Citi has enabled growth and progress globally by providing financial products and services that meet the needs of our clients and communi- ties.
"There are many pressing challenges and issues that the world faces today, and our Citizenship strategy prioritises the areas where we can have the greatest impact and influence. By partnering with key stakeholders to create innovative solutions and programmes that advance financial inclusion and social mobility, we are also able to serve as an agent of change to improve the lives of people in low-income communities in every country where we have a presence."
With support from the Citi Foundation, Citi Singapore has been a strong advocate of financial education and youth development programmes since 2002. Citi Singapore has since then committed more than S$13.7 million to financial education and youth development programmes organised in partnership with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government organisations, and educational institutions.
The programmes have benefited students, youths, teachers, mature women and the general public, reaching more than 425,000 students from over 80 per cent of schools in Singapore. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach also leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfil their mission and drive thought leadership and innovation.
Citi's commitment to the key focus areas of financial inclusion and youth economic opportunities stems from the belief that the efforts will enhance the financial wellbeing and upward economic mobility of individuals and communities.
This in turn strengthens the demand for financial products and services that will enable the sustained growth of cities and economies.
Notable financial literacy programmes supported by Citi Foundation in Singapore include the Citi-South East CDC MoneyWise Matched Savings programme; Citi- National Institute of Education (NIE) Financial Literacy Hub for Teachers; the Citi-Singapore Management University Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults; and the Citi-Tsao Foundation Financial Education Programme for Mature Women.
Its flagship youth development programme is the 14-year Citi-YMCA Youth for Causes that aims to be a catalyst to promote social entrepreneurship and develop community leadership among youths in Singapore. Since its inception, the programme has mobilised more than 136,600 volunteers island-wide, involved more than 650 Citi staff as mentors and raised nearly S$7.8 million in funds for over 150 local voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs).
Citi Singapore has also been a keen supporter of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (ST SPMF) and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BT BAF), contributing over S$4.3 million to help build brighter futures for underprivileged children since 2002.
Citi's "More than Philanthropy" approach to giving has resulted in positive impact in the community and innovative initiatives to serve as an advocate. One of its business groups, Citi Commercial Bank, collaborated with BT BAF for the second consecutive year on the design of its marketing collaterals, including client calendar and Chinese New Year red packets, providing a unique opportunity for budding visual artists to showcase their talents to thousands of their clients.
Volunteerism has also served as an opportunity for team building and leadership development among their employees.
Jonathan Forth, managing director and head of internal audit at Citi Asean and Singapore, says: "It has been a great experience serving the community together with my team in internal audit. We are a diverse team, and volunteering together provides the opportunity to interact and engage with each other outside the work environment, and helps to build stronger bonds and relationships."
Cindy Dermawan, senior VP and head of talent and learning management, diversity and inclusion at Citi Singapore, adds: "We have always encouraged our colleagues on our leadership development track to participate and volunteer in various programmes and community initiatives."
With a strong spirit of volunteerism among its employees, over 6,000 Citibankers, family members and friends volunteered in community initiatives held around their Global Community Day in June and throughout the year in 2015.
Patrick Sin, senior VP and head of portfolio advisory at Citigold private client at Citibank Singapore, says: "I got involved in the Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults mainly because I felt I had something to offer, being a financial adviser. After talking to these young adults, I can see that there are a lot more complexities or issues that they have to face in life. And if they were to have a handle on one of the most important aspects - managing their finances - it would serve them well."
Gaurav Gupta, senior VP and Asia group information security officer at Citi, says: "Citi-South East CDC Corporate Community Laboratory gave me an opportunity to serve the community by creating an initiative that will generate long-term value for the beneficiaries."
Citi Singapore is a founding member of Company of Good, a programme of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) that helps companies to give better and holistically.
- This article was contributed by NVPC as part of a series of stories on the business case for doing good.
The Business Times is supporting NVPC's Company of Good programme as media partner.
Visit www.companyofgood.sg for more information.