Tue, Feb 18, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Mayor Ma checks out new way to donate to charity

CNA , TAIPEI

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and pop singer Chao Chuan (趙傳) yesterday were among the first to donate money to a local charity organization by using neighborhood convenience stores.

"The new arrangement is very convenient," Ma said after donating money to the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families at a Family Mart convenience store.

Ma, who has contributed funds to the foundation regularly to sponsor five children from impoverished families at home and abroad, praised the Christian foundation for its initiative to forge cooperative ties with the convenience-store chain to trim its administrative costs and attract more donors.

Chao, also a regular donor to the foundation, said he hopes that this new convenient way of donating will lure more people to help needy families and children in Taiwan and other countries.

The foundation has more than 80,000 regular donors nationwide. About 70 percent of them used to donate money through post office accounts and an increasing number of donors are now making donations by credit card.

The foundation has to pay NT$10 to NT$15 in service charges for each donation through the post office and the service fees for donations on credit cards are even higher. The foundation paid NT$2.52 million in postal service charges last year and the annual credit card service fees reached NT$4.38 million.

"The service charges have become a heavy financial burden for us," said a foundation spokesman.

"We must make every possible effort to reduce expenditures while trying to find new financial sources," he added.

Family Mart and its bankers -- Pan Asia Bank -- have agreed to donate a total of 60 percent of the service charges to the foundation, the spokesman said.

"If 30 percent of our regular donors make donations through Family Mart convenience stores from now on, we'll be able to save at least NT$500,000 in service fees annually," the spokesman said.

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