German giant underlines its commitment to helping needy With just two days to go before Operation Santa Claus wraps up, the charity drive has received a windfall from a leading global investment bank. Deutsche Bank, a major donor for a second consecutive year, donated HK$150,000 to the annual charity drive, organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK. The German giant doubled its 'charity-giving' - or corporate social responsibility - budget this year to mark its 50th anniversary in Hong Kong. Noah Ward, group chief operating officer for Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong, said: 'We believe it is important to continue to contribute to the community, which plays host to one of our largest regional hubs, regardless of the ebbs and flows of economic cycles.' The company is helping Operation Santa through the Deutsche Bank Asia Foundation. The foundation has supported more than 150 projects in 13 countries in the region this year, 'directly assisting some 25,000 children and families through education and health programmes', Mr Ward added. More than 800 of its employees have taken part in volunteer programmes. The investment bank also contributed to relief efforts for natural disasters on the mainland and in Myanmar, the Philippines and India. As well as the donation of HK$150,000 to benefit Operation Santa, about 30 Deutsche Bank staff this month visited the Haven of Hope Sister Annie Skau Nursing Home in Tseung Kwan O, a beneficiary of last year's Operation Santa. The bankers sang Christmas carols and joined in various activities with 45 elderly people staying at the nursing home. Mr Ward said the bank was committed to supporting Operation Santa next year, which economists predict would be worse than this year. 'Our commitment to continuing the development of the Deutsche Bank Asia Foundation programme in 2009 - in Hong Kong and the wider region - is absolute, and no doubt Operation Santa will be a beneficiary of this,' he said. The bank has 'a strong and profitable private clients' franchise. It is a leader in Germany and Europe, and is continuously growing in North America, Asia and key emerging markets', he said. Deutsche Bank has 81,308 employees in 75 countries. 'The bank competes to be the leading global provider of financial solutions for demanding clients, creating exceptional value for its shareholders and people,' Mr Ward said. Hong Kong-based staff numbers have grown since 2005 by at least 60 per cent to about 1,500, with revenues more than tripling over the same period, he said. 'Hong Kong is a major regional hub for Deutsche Bank, which has built its investment banking, transaction banking, asset management and private wealth management businesses into leaders in size and innovation in the market.' Operation Santa Claus, now in its 21st year, will aid 13 groups. Part of the funds will also go to the SCMP Homes for Hope project to help victims of the Sichuan earthquake rebuild their homes. Operation Santa is aiming to raise a modest HK$10 million this year, amid a global financial crisis that has battered Hong Kong companies. This is compared with HK$14 million last year and HK$16 million in 2006. All funds raised this year by Operation Santa will benefit the following charitable groups: End Child Sexual Abuse Foundation, Operation Dawn, Youth Outreach School of Hip Hop, Caritas-Hong Kong UNHCR Project, Hong Kong Unison, Produce Green Foundation, Soul Talk Foundation, HK Young Women's Christian Association Wan Wah Care and Attention Home for the Elderly, Children's Heart Foundation, Lions Kidney Educational Centre and Research Foundation, The Society for Aids Care, Grace Link Charity and The Samaritans.