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Championing the Cause
30 December 2020

Deutsche Bank’s giving initiatives exemplify the power of ground-up efforts and nurturing a culture of generosity from within.

By Toh Wei Shi, HCA Community Relations

It takes a village to advance the cause of palliative care and see that no one is left behind during the last lap of life. At HCA, these pillars of support come in the form of donors, sponsors and volunteers, who bolster HCA’s work in different, yet equally powerful ways.

For Deutsche Bank (DB), one of HCA’s biggest corporate sponsor and supporter, giving takes on a personal meaning for each and every employee. Taking inspiration from the role their Relationship Managers play in staying closely connected with their clients, DB decided to launch the DB Charity Champion programme. The DB Charity Champions help to bridge DB and its charity partners, while developing a closer understanding of the unique needs of each charity.

HCA’s two DB Charity Champions, Ng Ai-Cheng and Hazel Lee are our light and gem. “I was an ‘accidental’ champion,” Ai-Cheng laughs. “It was during our Bank’s flagship Donate One Day drive in 2013, when the previous champion left the bank.”

“They needed someone to step in and I was approached. Although initially hesitant, I have not looked back since, especially with the dedicated support of my employer and colleagues at DB.”

The experience of being a Charity Champion for HCA over the past few years has brought Ai-Cheng much fulfilment. “The warmth, laughter and merriment at HCA from both the patients and staff, encourage our volunteers to keep going back to bring cheer and embrace the present,” Ai-Cheng shares. “What HCA does is amazing and I need more than just me to champion the cause of HCA. This is where my friend and colleague Hazel comes in.”   

For Hazel, the undertaking holds personal significance. “When asked to co-champion for HCA by Ai-Cheng, I was happy to take it on, as my family was once a beneficiary of the organisation,” she shares. “During my mother’s last days, we rented several pieces of medical equipment from HCA for absolutely free (we had to put in a small refundable deposit), to my surprise.”

“If we had to buy the equipment ourselves, it would have cost us thousands of dollars. I have enjoyed working with the HCA staff since and I can feel their passion for their jobs and their genuine love for the patients.”

Raising the Bar

As Charity Champions, Ai-Cheng and Hazel work closely with the HCA team to find out about our ongoing needs and then rally for volunteers and donations from their teams.

It is a ground-up effort that amasses strength in numbers, as Charity Champions collaborate with their charity to organise impactful volunteering events and encourage their colleagues to participate.

At DB’s Christmas bazaar in 2018, in which HCA was invited to set up a booth for fundraising and outreach purposes.

As Charity Champions, Ai-Cheng and Hazel play pivotal roles in DB’s Donate One day annual fundraising initiative, rallying their colleagues to vote for HCA to be selected as one of the four recipients for the year.

Under the campaign, DB employees are encouraged to donate a day’s pay to a collective fund, to be split equally among selected charities for the year. To further motivate their employees to participate in the campaign, DB in turn matches dollar for dollar, doubling the donations garnered.

Mr Akash Mohapatra, Managing Director of Deutsche Bank, with a patient at the Star PALS Family Day in 2018.

Over the years, DB and its staff have donated more than $600,000 to HCA. “The work HCA does in the area of palliative care is amazing. I feel every individual has a right to pass in dignity and in an environment of love and care,” Mr Akash Mohapatra, Managing Director of Deutsche Bank, says. “I hope that with the help Deutsche Bank provides, HCA is able to expand its reach to a larger number of clients.”

DB’s corporate social responsibility strategy is to help enable economies and communities to prosper. By doing this, the bank aims to create a positive impact for people and society at large, and they do this together with like-minded partners and with the commitment of their Plus You employee volunteering and giving community.

Adding Life to Days

The days of HCA’s patients may be numbered, but the love and support from volunteers often bring much joy and comfort.

The DB volunteers working on a spot of refurbishment for the Kang Le Day Hospice.

The DB volunteers have tirelessly supported numerous volunteering assignments over the years, such as house cleaning and home painting sessions for patients in need and ferrying patients for medical appointments.

The DB team organised a Chinese New Year celebration for the patients at HCA Day Hospice at the start of the year.

On the Day Hospice front, DB volunteers have continued to dedicate much time and effort in planning outings, engaging activities and festive celebrations for the patients, for which the Day Hospice is a home away from home.

Building Capabilities

Giving takes on many forms, including the sharing of expertise and knowledge. Recognising that employees are one of the greatest assets of any organisation, DB started the dbSkillsPlus programme in 2019, to enable staff of charities, such as HCA, to enhance critical skills like strategic planning, fundraising and communications, at no charge. Through collaborations with other organisations, DB has delivered a range of workshops tailored to the social sector.

“The idea came about after one of our volunteers consulted on a strategy planning session for a charity and saw the opportunity to use his skills to help more organisations,” the dbSkillsPlus organising team shares. “We wanted to bring skills from the corporate sector that are just as applicable in the social sector to the charities, to help them skill up and build capacity and in turn support them to make a larger impact in the community.”