People of Purpose
As a purpose-driven organisation, DBS strives to create impact beyond banking. We aim to inculcate a spirit of volunteerism in all our employees.
People of Purpose (PoP) is DBS’ employee volunteer movement that brings our values to life, engaging employees and harnessing their time, skills and efforts to contribute meaningfully to our communities.
Our volunteering efforts across our core markets have been focused on three areas – the elderly, education, and the environment (including towards zero food waste).
Beyond service-based volunteering, we also encourage employees to volunteer in skills-based programmes, leveraging on their time and skills to better connect with and make meaningful contributions to the communities we live and work in. We focus on mentoring, financial and digital literacy, and supporting businesses for impact/social enterprises.
At DBS, purpose is at the heart of what we do, and we encourage our employees to volunteer their time and skills to support the community, and truly be People of Purpose. Hear from some of our employees.
“I enjoyed teaching the children about Financial Literacy because I think it is an important life skill. This will go a long way to prepare them in making important financial decisions in the future.”
Miao Ting Chia, Singapore, Financial Literacy for Children volunteer
"This is definitely an unforgettable experience! Amid the pandemic, there is an even greater need for food support. Thankful for this opportunity to help those in need.“
Sandy Tan, Hong Kong, Foodlink Foundation volunteer
“Empowering social entrepreneurs is our way of supporting them in creating transformative solutions, specifically for our environment and causes that we all care about. I'm honoured and delighted to play a part in their journey, providing them with the necessary skills to nurture more talents.”
Jacqualine Chen, Taiwan, Social Enterprise Insights Leadership Management Workshop volunteer
We work with our partners to understand and support needs in our communities within our focus areas. Here are some examples of our key partners we work with.
We have been working with Lions Befrienders to support the elderly in the community. Since 2015, our employee volunteers have reached out to close to 5,000* seniors through activities such as workshops on active ageing, digital and financial literacy, grocery shopping and playing board games at senior activity centres.
During the pandemic, we also pivoted quickly to virtual volunteering, to reach out to the seniors and prevent social isolation.
We have also been working with many partners to pool our expertise and widen the accessibility in mentorship for different segments, including youths. Since 2019, the number of DBS mentors and mentoring hours put in by our employees has grown by more than 9 times, with more than 450* youths mentored to date.
Since 2018, we have been working with the Foodlink Foundation to fulfil their mission - to bring food to underprivileged people in Hong Kong.
Our employee volunteers have supported the Foodlink Foundation in various activities to support the community. From donating and packing food bundles and collecting unsold bread for redistribution, to conducting cooking workshops for elderly and kids, teaching them how to turn food that would otherwise be thrown away into delicious meals.
We have also sponsored a new refrigerated van to collect safe-to-eat surplus food from F&B outlets in the city, to deliver to those in need. As of September 2022, 125,000 kg of surplus food (that’s the weight of 8.5 double-deck buses!) have been saved and re-distributed.
To support the education needs of children in China’s rural communities, we’ve been working with Shanghai Zhonggu Charity Youth Development Center since 2015. To date*, 4 “DBS Green Computer Rooms” have been set up to improve access to technology and facilitate learning.
These rooms contain the Bank’s retired laptops, which are refurbished and given a new lease of life. Students are able to use these laptops for schoolwork, and our volunteers also participate in activities with them, such as teaching them how to draw their first digital picture on a computer! This initiative has benefited 1,600 children so far, and another 4 Green Computer Rooms will be set up soon, which will benefit another 1,500 students!
Since 2016, we have been working with The CAN, an innovative social enterprise with its mission to build a complete sustainable community support system in Sanxia Township.
One of the key programmes our employee volunteers support is the Sanxia River Clean-Up Operation, to raise awareness and create a generation which support the environment. This operation impacts more than 7,000 beneficiaries. As Sanxia is an important historical craft village, we also work with The CAN to support craft workshops such as indigo dyeing and metalworking, to preserve traditional craft and drive a sustainable ecosystem and community.
Our initial collaboration with Surplus.id began in 2021, during the covid pandemic. A food rescue app which enables consumers to purchase meals from food retailers and SMEs that have surplus food stock in their inventory, we created a food distribution programme called Pemberlakuan Pembatasan Kegiatan Masyarakat (PPKM) with them, where employee volunteers helped to rescue and distribute 452kg of food to the underprivileged.
This year, our “From Zero to Hero” programme gave employee volunteers the opportunity to distribute excess food from Surplus.id’s SME partners to more than 200 children in orphanages. This prevented close to 300KgCO2 from being emitted as food waste.
With the Covid pandemic and lockdowns, one of our partners, Goodera, provided us with the perfect solution for employees to continue creating impact in their community. Virtual volunteering activities (such as recording audiobooks for the visually challenged and virtual tours for the elderly) were introduced.
Now post-lockdown, we have begun our in-person/outdoor volunteering activities, such as beach and mangrove clean-ups. To date, we have impacted more than 5,000* beneficiaries with Goodera.
Another partner we work with is United Way of Hyderabad. To date, we have impacted more than 170,000* lives through initiatives such as school transformation projects (encompassing school building renovations, developing sports infrastructure and fulfilling school uniform and stationery needs), visiting old age homes, and participating in seed ball and tree planting activations to restore our environment.
Public recognition of our efforts.
|Year||Publication/ Organisation||Award Name||Category||Market/ Geography|
|2022||National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre||President’s Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards||Organisations of Good (Large Enterprise||SG|
|2022||National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre||Champions of Good||Champion of Good||SG|
|2022||Community Chest||Community Chest Awards||Charity Platinum Award||SG|
|2022||Community Chest||Community Chest Awards||Charity Silver Award||SG|
|2021||Hong Kong Council of Social Services||Caring Company 2021-2022||10+ Caring Company||HK|
|2021||Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) SEA||PRCA SEA Awards||Purpose Award||Regional|
|2021||Community Chest||Community Chest Awards||Volunteer Partner Award||SG|
|2021||The Drum||Awards for Social Purpose||Best in Community Engagement||Global|
|2020||Community Chest||Community Chest Awards||Volunteer Partner Award||SG|
|2020||Community Chest||Community Chest Awards||Charity Platinum Award||SG|
|2020||Community Chest||Community Chest Awards||Charity Silver Award||SG|
|2020||National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre||Champions of Good||Champion of Good||SG|
|2019||raiSE||President's Challenge Social Enterprise Awards||Social Enterprise Champion of the Year (Corporation)||SG|
|2019||Bloomberg Businessweek||Financial Institution Awards||Service Award - Corporate Social Responsibility||HK|
|2018||Bloomberg Businessweek||Financial Institution Awards||Corporate Social Responsibility (Outstanding Award)||HK|
|2018||National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre||Champions of Good||Champions of Good||SG|
Find Out More
DBS firmly believes that our employees can create impact beyond banking, by investing their time, skills and efforts in our communities. To understand more about what we do as People of Purpose, read more about our initiatives in our latest Sustainability Report, check out these videos or get in touch at PeopleOfPurpose@dbs.com.