SPD has come a long way, from just providing one service when it was set up in 1964 to more than 20 today. Today, it is one of Singapore’s largest voluntary welfare organisations and spearheads several national initiatives.
SPD is the winner of the President’s Award for Volunteerism and/or Philanthropy (Non-Profit Organisation) 2016
Previously known as the Society for the Physically Disabled, SPD changed its name in 2014 to reflect the wider disability community it now serves.
As a proponent of inclusivity in the workplace, the organisation has walked the talk by hiring people with disabilities and the elderly. Among its headcount of 281, 6.4 per cent are people with disabilities and 11 per cent are older than the retirement age of 62.
SPD spearheads several national programmes that support people across disability types, including the Employment Support Programme and Transition Programme for Employment that prepare people with disabilities for employment through therapy and other support.
SPD also jointly manages TechAble, a facility that provides assistive technology related assessment and advisory services to enable more persons with disabilities to adopt assistive and info-comm technology for independent living.
To encourage the young to appreciate differences in persons with disabilities, there is the annual SPD Charity Hongbao. Students are encouraged to share their hongbao money, and also inspire families and friends they meet during the festive season to contribute. An estimated 28,000 students from 105 schools and educational institutions participated in the last SPD Charity Hongbao, and raised an impressive $126,000.
In the past year, SPD’s programmes have supported more than 5,000 persons with disabilities and gathered over 4,000 volunteers who donated more than 15,200 man hours.
SPD was awarded the Charity Governance Awards in 2012 and 2016 for its high standards of governance. In 2009 and 2010, it won the Singapore Prestige Brand Award (Merit) for good branding efforts and practices.
Finding the perfect match
SPD takes care in matching the available skills and resources of volunteers and donors to needs, believing it results in more sustained collaboration efforts. For example, NTUC FairPrice Foundation donated FairPrice vouchers to needy persons with disabilities under SPD’s Daily Needs Programme, benefiting 224 families, while SMRT gave vouchers to persons with disabilities who had to take taxis to get around.
For volunteers, SPD matches their expertise and also takes into account their interest and desire to volunteer at SPD.
Highlights of giving journey:
1. In response to Singapore’s evolving social needs, SPD has pioneered services such as the SPD Therapy Hub, Development Support Programme and the Assistive Technology Centre.
2. Staff are given time off to volunteer at other NPOs. Last year, about 200 employees contributed 1,000 hours of community service.
3. SPD offers training to allied healthcare professionals, and sits on the Enabling Masterplan Committee, providing input to help make Singapore an inclusive society.
4. In 2015, SPD provided training to 250 ASEAN Para Games staff and volunteers.
5. The STAR (Share, Touch And Reach-out) programme gets donors to contribute regularly through credit card donations or Giro deductions. Today, 1,800 donors give about $35,000 every month.
6.The biennial SPD Charity Show raises funds and awareness of SPD and disability-related issues. The show in 2015 raised $5 million.