How much is in a name? Multi-million dollar donations for naming rights

How much is in a name? Multi-million dollar donations for naming rights

DBS Bank gave $25 million to the National Gallery Singapore and in return, a gallery on the second floor of the City Hall wing will be named the DBS Singapore Gallery when the museum opens next year.

Other donors - corporate and individuals - have also donated millions and had buildings named after them. We look at some of the biggest donations and what naming rights they bought the donors.

1. The Khoo Teck Puat Hospital - $125 million
The Ng Teng Fong Hospital - $125 million, 2013

Both hospitals were named after late philanthropists whose families donated to fund healthcare for needy patients and other programmes. Khoo Teck Puat is best known as the hotel magnate who owned the Goodwood Group of hotels. His family still runs Goodwood Park hotel. Ng Teng Fong was a property tycoon whose family runs the Far East Organisation and Sino Group.

2. Lee Kong Chian Reference Library - $60 million, 2005;
Lee Kong Chian School of Business - $50 million, 2006;
Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine - $150 million, 2013

The China-born teacher-turned-rubber and pineapple magnate was devoted to education and other philanthropic causes. He set up the Lee Foundation in Singapore in 1952, which continues to donate to these causes to this day. He died in 1967.

3. The Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health - $30 million, 2011

Well-known academic and philanthropist Professor Saw Swee Hock, in his 80s, donated the money to the National University of Singapore to establish the school. He also donated about $5.2 million to his alma mater, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), in 2012 to construct the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre in London. It was also reported on Thursday that Prof Saw has donated a "significant" amount to LSE to establish the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre which will be launched in September.

4. OCBC Aquatic Centre, OCBC Arena - $50 million, 2013

After a controversy over the naming rights for the new Sports Hub, OCBC Bank nabbed a 15-year contract for naming rights to two sports venues as well as to two club lounges at the National Stadium and the VIP lounge at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

5. OCBC Skywalk - $8 million, 2012

The bank gave the money for the skywalk and a light-and-sound show at Gardens by The Bay.

6. Far East Organisation Children's Playground - $10 million, 2013

The property developer sponsored the building of a 1ha public playground at Gardens by The Bay. The playground contains water play areas as well as a rainforest treehouse. The donation also funds children's programmes.

7. Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music - $25 million, 2003

The school was renamed after the Yong Loo Lin Trust donated money in honour of the late Dr Yong's daughter, music teacher Siew Toh. In the decade after that, the Trust has donated more than $50 million, which enables all undergraduates to get full scholarships at the institution.

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This article was published on April 3 in The Straits Times.

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