DBS Bank Ltd does not let social responsibility take a backseat despite the increasing competitive business environment.

DBS Bank Ltd is the winner of the President’s Award for Volunteerism and/or Philanthropy (Corporates, Large Enterprise) 2017.

Making it a point to expand year on year on its corporate social responsibility initiatives, DBS reaches out i­nto new areas of corporate giving, forging diverse partnerships, developing creative ways to give back and continually encouraging its staff to inculcate volunteerism in their daily lives.

The bank’s strong socially conscious corporate culture is aligned with its corporate values – PRIDE (Purpose-driven, Relationship-led, Innovative, Decisive, Everything fun!). This forms the road map that guides staff in the areas of corporate giving.

Central to DBS’ corporate giving programmes in 2016 was its support of social enterprises (SEs). The DBS Foundation’s annually administered Social Enterprise Grant Programme enables SEs to test product feasibility or pilot a prototype model, improve existing processes or add critical capabilities to achieve sustainability, or scale up their existing business. In 2016, the foundation awarded over $1 million in grants to 14 SEs.

Seeking to increase public awareness and create positive perceptions of SEs, DBS educates and engages the public and aspiring SEs through various outreach activities and our online platform AsiaForGood.com.

Beyond funding, support through events and education have reached out to 2,600 social entrepreneurs. At the bank’s newly launched innovation facility DBS Asia X, five SEs are given rent-free co-working space. DBS also organised three social enterprise clinics where staff shared their expertise on areas such as tax and accounting, and procurement and marketing.

Apart from SEs, DBS strongly advocates employee volunterism giving all staff two days of volunteer leave a year. Volunteer leaders are also encouraged to organise projects for their departments. In 2016, over 4,000 employees contributed more than 37,000 hours in volunteerism – time that is assessed to be worth more than $1.3 million.

Their corporate giving extends beyond just monetary donations or volunteer time. DBS championed social giving by onboarding charities onto DBS PayLah! mobile wallet app, and DBS Internet and mobile banking to help them generate revenues innovatively.

Other highlights of giving journey:

1. In July 2016, 700 employees volunteered at six Lions Befrienders centres to raise awareness of dementia and impart tips on active ageing.

2. DBS/POSB frontline employees are equipped with knowledge about ageing and dementia so that they can lend a helping hand to elderly customers.

3. DBS proactively supports SEs and charities at DBS events, for example, buying cookies made by MINDs beneficiaries at the DBS Marina Regatta.

4. POSB (part of the DBS group) organises and sponsors the POSB PAssion Run for Kids. In 2016, the run raised $1 million for the People’s Association’s Community Development Fund that supports children up to the age of 16. So far, about 320,000 kids have benefited through this fund.

5. DBS also partnered with Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in the Forget Me Not campaign to raise awareness of dementia.

Moving ahead:

DBS aims to further entrench skills-based volunteering by tapping on the experience, expertise and networks of its employees to support SEs. In each market, senior-level executives are encouraged to take the lead and form teams to offer pro bono consulting for SEs, thus informally “adopting” these SEs. DBS also plans to digitalise the volunteerism experience by creating an internal platform for volunteers to browse and pick pro bono projects they are personally keen on.