30 Dec 2005

NKF clarifies the money trail

he National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is now putting 38 cents out of every dollar donated into patients' needs.

This comes after a KPMG report last week that said that the old NKF had merely spent 10 cents of this donation dollar on patient subsidies.

Still the new NKF management has clarified that the remaining 90 cents had not gone to waste.

News that the old NKF had spent only 10 cents out of every donation dollar to help kidney patients with dialysis costs had left over 1,900 donors so upset that they had stopped their monthly LifeDrops donations within the first week since the KPMG audit report was released.

And each day, some 20 donors called NKF asking for refunds of donations they made from years ago.

NKF chairman, Gerard Ee, said: "The 90 cents did not disappear. If you look at the figures, out of every $1, 10 cents went directly to dialysis treatment, 41 cents went to reserves. The bulk of the reserves we have, will directly go towards patient care.

"And there were other expenditure such as 25 cents went to fundraising in 2003, some of the money went to health screening...90 cents....they did not disappear, they just went to other applications."

In the last 5 months since the new NKF Board and Management were roped in, the charity has reduced its overhead costs by $2.4 million.

And patients now get more subsidies out of each donated dollar - 38% instead of the 10% in 2003.

Also, the NKF plans to put less of the donated dollar into building up its reserves - 13% instead of the 41% in 2003.

So far the NKF has built up a healthy reserve of $256m, which gave it an investment income of $8m last year.

Going forward, the new NKF management says it's working on a prudent budget.

It will stretch every dollar it gets from donations and investment income and then channel it back to benefit patients directly.

The new management's efforts to return NKF to its original mission of helping kidney patients have not gone unnoticed.

The Pei Hwa Foundation has pledged $1.25 million to build a new dialysis centre in Ang Mo Kio.

Former big donor New Creation Church, which gave $2.6m to help build a dialysis centre in 2001, also made another $7,000 donation to NKF.

And the Singapore Food Industries (SFI) got over 120 of its staff to pledge monthly support to the new NKF.

Mr Liu Shih Shin, SFI's director of corporate affairs, said: "By supporting, helping NKF, we're really helping the kidney patients. Don't penalise them for mistakes of the past by the management."

NKF says it hopes to win back the 50,000 regular donors it lost when the NKF saga broke out in July. - CNA/ir


Hooray! The Donors are saved! really. If I were a kidney patient, I'd still have to fork out majority of the expenditure from my own pocket. It makes a mockery of the word "charity" at this point.

To me, the core of the problem lies not with Durai, though everyone is so concerned with making him the scapegoat [so that NKF can escape the tar brush]. I disliked NKF's aggressive fund-raising techniques from the beginning, while more needy charities were struggling. I still feel that kidney patients do not need so much money - not as much as cancer and AIDS patients. NKF does not even serve that many patients to justify hogging the donor pool.

The NKF needs to review itself from the bottom. They can stop sending those nicely adorned letters asking for more donations. They can stop spending millions on fund-raising shows. And of course, not to mention, gold taps.

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akikonomu said...

The real problem is they have never convincingly explained the need for a 10-year reserve target. That's compounded by the silence by the minister/ministry of Health and the KMPG auditors on this issue. Basic information - like how many kidney trusts in the world operate on a 10-year reserves scheme, was suspiciously unavailable in the local media throughout the entire NKF affair.

Gilbert Koh said...

I think you might be unduly suspicious about the local media in this instance. After all, don't forget who destroyed the NKF. The local media.

With a little help from PAP MP Davinder Singh, of course. And that, in any case, all started over an article by ST journalist Susan Long about NKF's gold taps.

akikonomu said...

Yes Gilbert, the media destroyed NKF. The media, however, did not destroy the phenomenon of secretive, non-transparent organisations raising gargantuan reserves. The media did not question the justification for NKF to continue raising 10-year reserves.

Anonymous said...

The only reason the government was so interested in clamping down hard on the NKF's deviant practices was so that people didn't notice that this is what the ministers and MPs in the government do too. See this: http://www.alwayson-network.com/comments.php?id=900_0_5_0_C