Yayasan Bank Rakyat sets up education fund for B40 group across all learning levels

STEP will create a sustainable and continuous stream of funds for distribution in early education assistance to underprivileged students in universities

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

YAYASAN Bank Rakyat yesterday launched a new fund called the Savings Trust Education Programme (STEP) and pledged RM3 million to provide educational aid for students from low-income (B40) households across all learning levels.

Its chairman Datuk Noripah Kamso said STEP was established to create a sustainable and continuous stream of funds for distribution in early education assistance to underprivileged students in universities, as well as advance research and development towards national economic growth and positive social development.

“STEP was developed based on the observation that we should not spend the entire annual contribution (to Yayasan Bank Rakyat) every year.

“Thus, the board of trustees proposed a portion of the RM30 million received annually be invested in perpetuity with the hibah earnings distributed to the margina-lised,” Noripah said in her speech at the launch of the fund in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

In the formulation of STEP, Yayasan Bank Rakyat will set aside RM3 million or 10% of the RM30 million as an endowed seed for STEP.

The initial fund is envisioned to spur its endowment target of RM21 million by 2025, which it hopes to accumulate through high-net-worth individual donors and the charitable public.

“This way, we are centralising the pooling of our funds in education development,” Noripah said.

Noripah added that STEP will be managed by a group of trustees in compliance with Shariah principles where systems are in place to benchmark its operations and services against international best standards.

“This said, the criteria of funding students will be clearly transcribed and the selection processes will be done by a committee with clear and transparent terms of reference, audit and government processes.

“Impact assessment on social and economic development will be performed for all of our funding,” she said.

According to Noripah, the fund represents a new territory that Yayasan Bank Rakyat is venturing into to offer holistic support towards human capital and education across the entire value chain, especially for the underserved and unserved.

Since its inception in 2007, the foundation has invested RM234 million to provide opportunities to more than 400,000 Malaysian students.

High-net individuals seeking to contribute to the fund may consider sub-fund within the public channels in STEP to be named after them. For the mass market, in tandem with disruptive technology, donations can be made online and through e-commerce touch points with Bank Rakyat’s partners.

“For example, upon using Bank Rakyat’s credit card at the cashier, you have the option to donate 50 sen or RM1 into STEP. This way, the mass market will (be able) to donate with ease.

“This is Donation 4.0 where it can be done anywhere but never at a bank,” Noripah said.

Also present to officiate the fund was Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof who described the effort as in line with the government’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.