For student Danielle Lee, giving to those in need is all about sharing and paying forward the kindness that she has received. Her natural desire to lend a helping hand was the driving force that motivated her to start her first online fundraiser amid the COVID-19 situation.
In celebration of Giving Week which falls on 1 to 7 December, we cast the spotlight on our supporters, whose generosity and compassion truly inspire us. To kickstart the series, we speak to Danielle, who spearheaded the Butter Cake x SPD online campaign to raise funds for persons with disabilities.
1. Hi Danielle! Tell us more about your campaign.
Hi everyone. My name is Danielle, a social work student studying at Nanyang Polytechnic. Butter Cake x SPD is a campaign that I initiated to help SPD and its beneficiaries during this COVID-19 situation. This is a particularly tough time for beneficiaries who are facing limited employment opportunities and need more financial assistance to get by. Unfortunately, many in-person fundraising events had to be cancelled. The online space, however, presents a silver lining as individuals like myself can start our own initiative to raise the much-needed funds for as many beneficiaries as I can. For my campaign, I offer a complimentary slice of butter cake to thank each donor for every $10 donated. So far, the campaign has raised $1,030!
2. What and/or who got you started on this project?
My cousin who was born with special needs. Growing up, my family struggled to find the appropriate schools and intervention for her, before the Ministry of Education made it compulsory for children with disabilities to receive education. When I came across SPD’s virtual flag day event on the Giving.sg website and read about how the funds can help beneficiaries, I was on board immediately. I believe that the services provided by SPD are crucial to each beneficiary. With enough funds raised, there will be one less family struggling to find the resources to help their child with disabilities.
3. Besides helping persons with disabilities, what other causes are you drawn to?
I am drawn to causes advocating for children, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) as well as people with mental health conditions because of my personal experiences and interactions with them. I feel that while people, especially the millennials and Gen Z, have more progressive views towards these groups, we are still far from being an inclusive society. Some of the ways in which I have been contributing to these groups include participating in flag day for Red Cross Singapore and Caregiving Welfare Association, and volunteering with River Life Community Services to provide free tuition for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Now, I am volunteering with Happy Children Happy Future (HCHF) to tutor children who come from low-income or single-parent families.
4. What’s the most rewarding part of giving?
That would be seeing the impact that I have made on the recipient. I have once worked with a client from SPD who is a wheelchair user and lives alone. Because of her disability, she chooses to stay at home most of the time, which greatly limited her contact with the outside world. When my classmates and I went to her place to bring her outdoors, she was extremely appreciative of our gesture. Though I feel that I have not done much, her appreciation warmed my heart as the opportunity to go outdoors really meant the world to her.
5. Any words of encouragement to those who wish to start their own fundraising initiative?
I would say go for it! In recent years, it has been easier to conduct fundraising initiatives through non-traditional means. For instance, this year’s flag day by SPD is done through virtual volunteering. Regardless of whether your fundraising campaign is successful, the people you are advocating for will appreciate your effort!