Stories Of Impact
2020 Annabel Pennefather Award winners Eunice and Wai Yhann: How perseverance and determination helped two young women become champion athletes
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

2020 Annabel Pennefather Award winners Eunice and Wai Yhann: How perseverance and determination helped two young women become champion athletes

John Doe
John Doe
picture of Eunice and Wai Yhann

Every year on the 8th of March, the world celebrates the efforts and achievements of all women both past and present with International Women’s Day. This year, we honour a sports icon, lawyer and woman of the year in 2004 – the late Annabel Pennefather, who was a trailblazer in every sense of the word.

Annabel was a former national hockey player, former Vice-President of Singapore National Olympic Council, former President of the Singapore Hockey Federation, a pioneer of women sports administrators in Singapore and a champion of women in sports globally.

“As her long-time friend, I remember Annabel to be an elegant and warm lady. She combined her passion in sports with her skills as a lawyer to develop Sports Law, its rules and practices both in Singapore and internationally,’’ reminisces Arfat Selvam, Managing Director of Duane Morris & Selvam LLP.

‘’Annabel helped to raise the standards of governance in sports. It is befitting that IWF should honour the memory of a well-loved member by having this award in her name to promote the excellence in sports among our young women.”

Annabel’s legacy continues in the form of the Annabel Pennefather Excellence Award, which is presented annually to two female graduating student-athletes between 16 and 25 years of age, who have outstanding sports achievements. The award honours Annabel and her achievements in encouraging and empowering women in the field of sports.

Funded by International Women’s Forum (IWF) Singapore Education Grant, which is managed by the Community Foundation of Singapore, the Grant aims to recognise deserving young women with character and the commitment to achieve in their respective fields. 

“With quiet confidence, fierce intellect and ever disarming charm, Annabel helped women in Singapore transcend their boundaries through her own experiences as a sportswoman.  She always gave her best always to her family, work and country,’’ recalls Melissa Kwee, President of the IWF and friend to the late Annabel.

‘’IWF Singapore is grateful that her example and inspiration lives on in the lives of the recipients, whom I am sure she would encourage to simply be their best self.”

Besides sporting excellence, recipients of the award should demonstrate strong leadership, passion, integrity, moral character and conduct, and community spirit. The winners of the 2020 Annabel Pennefather Excellence Award are Au Yeong Wai Yhann and Eunice Lim Zoe, two young women who have demonstrated such excellence in their sporting fields.

It was Eunice Lim’s family that provided a nurturing catalyst for the young sportswoman to grow into her table tennis shoes at a young age.

‘’I picked up table tennis because I saw my brother playing against the wall when he got back from his school CCA training. I got curious and asked him to let me try it out and since then, I fell in love with this sport and have never stopped playing since,’’ Eunice remembers fondly.

Being a student-athlete, it was also a challenge for Eunice to maintain that delicate balance between doing well in school and training for competitions.

‘’I recall having to juggle both my studies and sports during major competitions seasons. It was not easy, as I did not take any breaks from school on both occasions. I knew I had to give 200% during my limited training sessions, knowing that my opponents are definitely clocking more training sessions than I can,’’ Eunice mulls in retrospect.

Eunice’s persistent efforts did eventually reap impressive rewards, bagging the 2018 bronze medal in the 11th South East Asian (SEA) Championship and a bronze medal in the 2019 Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship.

Winning the Annabel Pennefather award was an important milestone for Eunice, who had grappled with thoughts of quitting table tennis whilst transitioning to university.

‘’I had thoughts of giving up the sport at some point because I felt that I was not achieving much. However, winning the Annabel Pennefather award really acted as a source of encouragement and gave me one of the many reasons to strive on. It reminds me that one’s effort will be recognised, as long as we put our heart and soul into the things that we love.’’

The Annabel Pennefather Award serves as a reminder that encouragement and acknowledgement is a powerful and indelible source for young athletes in their path towards excellence.

For 21 year old squash athlete Au Yeong Wai Yhann, it was her family’s loving support and an early exposure to different sports that gave her the confidence and techniques to create a solid foundation.

Despite strong support from her parents and a good head start in physical sports, it was still a challenge as a student athlete to study for her International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations and compete for the SEA Games and Marigold Squash Championships, where she won medals in both competitions.

‘’My goal to perform well in both the tournaments as well as my IB examinations motivated me to keep pushing and working even harder. And so, I was extremely pleased to have won 3 medals – two silver and one bronze – in the 2019 SEA games as well as be crowned the Womens’ National Squash Champion in 2020 because I knew it was a result of many years and hours of hard work and sacrifices.’’

Having won the Annabel Pennefather Award has reminded the young athlete as to how fortunate she has been able to pursue the sport that she loves, and also a motivation for her to continue striving for greater heights and inspiring her juniors to chase their dreams.

“Always believe in yourself. You are stronger than you think, and can achieve anything you set out to do, as long as you are willing to work hard for it. But in the midst of it, remember to take little breaks and reward yourself – self-care is extremely important to keep you going.”

“My hope is to see the sport scene grow and see more youths pick up and compete in sport. Sport is not just about winning or losing. The journey of training and competing itself allows one to develop strong values such as perseverance and discipline, as well as forge many friendships with others. It provides opportunities for all and so I hope that more kids will engage in it.’’

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The Business Times: New fund to help Singapore’s marginalised groups land jobs

John Doe
John Doe
A professional man in a suit holds a newspaper displaying the Business Times, providing current business news.

By Rachel Mui

The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), which is a non-profit organisation, on Thursday said it has launched a new fund to raise the participation of marginalised groups in Singapore’s workforce.

Among other things, the Lift (Learning Initiatives for Employment) Community Impact Fund will support programmes that provide vocational training for marginalised individuals, and place them in jobs in the open market, CFS said.

These programmes are targeted at four marginalised groups – persons with disabilities, persons recovering from mental illnesses, disadvantaged women, as well as youths-at-risk – with a focus on helping them navigate and overcome barriers to securing sustained employment.

This will be done via equipping them with both hard and soft skills for obtaining jobs in the food and beverage industry, with the possibility of including more sectors in the future, CFS added.

Said Joyce Teo, deputy chief executive officer at CFS: “Marginalised groups have largely been excluded from the labour market because of various stereotypes, stigmas and prejudices. This often leads to economic and social vulnerability that follows them for life. We hope to pilot new pathways to help the vulnerable make a living, improve their self-esteem and become more involved in society.

“Lift meets this need in a holistic manner by concurrently providing participants with technical training, social support and job coaching to help them manage socio-emotional and financial stressors while they learn and work. Ultimately, the aim is to help them get and stay employed with the help of the community.”

The fund aims to support an initial 90 participants with a total of 12,600 hours of WSQ-certified (workforce skills qualifications) vocational training, as well as 5,400 hours of job matching, job placement and on-the-job coaching support.

This works out to an average of 140 hours of vocational training, and 60 hours of post-training support for each participant. During the training phase, participants will also receive social support from charity partners to minimise or resolve family and/or other issues that may otherwise derail their learning, CFS noted.

Potential participants will first be identified and referred by the Institute of a Public Character charities, and then assessed in terms of attitude, aptitude as well as potential for employment.

Successful candidates will then be trained by one of two social enterprises working alongside CFS as programme providers – Project Dignity will train participants for kitchen and service jobs, while Bettr Barista will train participants to be baristas.

Both companies will also provide job attachment opportunities during the training phase.

CFS aims for around 65 per cent of its participants to complete the training, and for about 60 per cent of graduates to be successfully placed into employment for at least three months. To track the efficacy of these initiatives, programme providers will also, where possible, keep in touch with participants for up to two years, CFS said.

While an anchor donor has been secured to seed the Lift Community Impact Fund, CFS is now looking to raise additional funds to cover the estimated S$528,000 required to support the programmes for these marginalised groups.

Potential donors who wish to contribute to Lift may visit Giving.sg, or write to CFS at contactus@cf.org.sg for more information. Read more.

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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The Community Foundation of Singapore to lead legacy giving initiative

John Doe
John Doe
An Asian family enjoying quality time together, sitting on the lush green grass in a serene park setting.

The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) will be leading the legacy giving initiative and partnering with key stakeholders to grow the giving culture in Singapore.

As Singapore’s only community foundation, CFS is fortunate to build on over 11 years of experience, to bring donors, charities and other stakeholders together. Donors have already trusted CFS with over $160 million in donations. More than one-third of these are legacy gifts, which are used to support causes across different sectors, including health, education, research, arts, social and welfare services.

The three-year initiative, which will be launched in the latter half of 2020, aims to reach out to three audiences: donors, professional advisors and charities.

Legacy is a broad concept. Legacy gifts refer to planned, future donations. This could include cash, marketable securities, insurance policies, CPF monies and marketable assets such as real estate. Legacy gifts are far more than planned donations from a person’s assets after death. They can mark important moments in life and honour the memory and achievements of a loved one. Anyone can make a legacy gift.

Donors interested in making legacy gifts today want more knowledge to make informed choices and accountability for their gifts. CFS will address these needs by promoting awareness, building and sharing knowledge and supporting action. CFS will provide choices and trusted advice to make gifts meaningful and impactful for future generations.

We will also reach out to professional advisors on ways and tools to help their clients structure their giving. CFS will help charities tap into legacy giving to enable sustainability and augment service delivery to their beneficiaries.

“We look forward to working with partners to co-create the future and strengthen our culture of care. Together, we can dream of a future where thinking about one’s legacy and discussing planned gifts in everyday conversations are no longer the exception, but part and parcel of our giving culture,” said Catherine Loh, CEO of CFS.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit dolor

The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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Events

CFS Donor Learning Trip Series: The transformative power of early intervention by the Dyslexia Association of Singapore

John Doe
John Doe

This initiative is part of CFS’s Donor Learning Trips, a series of engagement opportunities that enable donors to personally connect with charities and gain insights into how they support communities in need.

Imagine not being able to read because the letters and words are mixed up. Imagine struggling to spell or write, being labelled slow and falling behind at school. These are the realities students with dyslexia face, realities that empathetic donors from CFS got to better understand during a visit to the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS). 

“It was an eye-opening experience that left a lasting impact on us,” said Mr Sim Willing, President of the IFPAS Love Fund. The IFPAS Love Fund is one of four donor-advised funds (DAFs) that joined our Donor Learning Trip in July 2023 to the DAS Learning Centre at Serangoon Central. The social service organisation provides dyslexia screenings, psychological assessments and remediation. 

Accessing Quality Education is one of CFS’s five focal areas for grantmaking, where we curate programmes that ensure everyone has access to quality, holistic education and opportunities for them to function and thrive academically.

During the visit, donors had the valuable opportunity to hear from and talk with DAS Vice-Chairman Mr Kevin Kwek, DAS CEO Mr Lee Siang, Senior Specialist Psychologist Ms Scarlett Leong and other staff members.

One key takeaway for our donors was that dyslexia is more common than they thought. Dyslexia is a neurological condition where the brain is wired to handle information differently. It is lifelong and tends to be hereditary. Studies indicate that it affects around 10% of the population, 4% severely. 

In Singapore, there are an estimated 20,000 students with dyslexia severe enough to need intervention, says Mr Lee. Children with dyslexia, moreover, may also have co-occurring difficulties. These include problems with memory, attention, time management and sequencing.  DAS currently serves around 3,500 preschool, primary and secondary school students across 12 centres. 

Poverty significantly compounds the challenge for students with learning difficulties. Undiagnosed children who slip through the cracks find it hard to break out of poverty. As Mr Lee points out, “International research suggests that 30-60% of prison populations may have dyslexia. Specialist intervention can help break a vicious cycle for those with special needs.” At DAS, 52% of its students come from lower-income families. This is where intervention—supported by donor generosity— can be transformative. 

Intervention requires significant resources. DAS gets some funding for screenings but none for psychological assessments. Such assessments are crucial to ascertain if a child has a learning difficulty, its severity and to identify areas of learning needs. Each assessment must be carried out by a highly trained psychologist and takes considerable time, making it costly. This can put it out of reach of the less well-off.

To bridge this gap, DAS collaborates with like-minded partners like CFS. For the charity, CFS has been critical in bringing in donors such as the IPFAS Love Fund. Their grants directly help children from lower-income families access this much-needed service.

IFPAS set up the IFPAS Love Fund in 2017, choosing CFS for its strong track record in managing charitable funds. “A dedicated advisor at CFS takes the time to understand our giving goals and guides us to make well-informed decisions on where to direct resources for maximum effect. Administration is also easy as CFS handles legal and financial compliance, fund management, and grant distribution,” adds Mr Sim

As our relationship with CFS has grown, so has the depth and breadth of our giving. Over time, we have gained a better understanding of social issues and community needs, and CFS has played a pivotal role in keeping us updated on emerging trends and impactful projects. This ongoing learning process has led to the evolution of our giving strategies, allowing us to be more strategic, responsive, and effective in addressing the changing needs of the community.

Dyslexia is a hidden disability but with timely intervention, many can go on to contribute significantly to society. Through targeted and thoughtful philanthropy, we can extend professional support to more children with dyslexia, allowing them to reach their full potential and lead more fulfilling lives.  

CFS assists charities and their underprivileged communities by connecting them with donors seeking to support causes and crucial needs that resonate with them deeply.

To find out more about the causes we support, please visit www.cf.org.sg/what-we-support/.

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The Peak Singapore: How responsible businesses can make their philanthropic dollars travel further

John Doe
John Doe
picture of CFS CEO Catherine Loh sitting on a chair

While more companies are heeding the call to give back to the community, selecting a worthy cause and monitoring the use of donations may be a complex task. That’s where the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) comes in. It helps corporations develop a long-term philanthropy strategy, find suitable charity partners, and track the outcome of donations.

“We help donors go beyond what they can do on their own, and identify charity partners who can provide accountability,” says Catherine Loh, CEO of CFS.

One way of creating greater impact is to look at fresh ways of addressing community needs, suggests Loh. Take UBS’ Diversity in Abilities arts education programme, which aims to develop the talents of children and youth with special needs. After attending the programme, participants are able to concentrate better and have an overall improvement in the pace of learning. Such potentially beneficial initiatives can be made possible only by corporations that have a higher appetite for risk and are willing to support them, says Loh.

In terms of managing charitable dollars, both donor and recipient must agree on how the money will be used, the duration of the funding and the kind/depth of reporting required, Loh says. More importantly, she adds, companies should adopt the mindset of a partner and view philanthropy as a “learning journey”.

“Just like any business project, things can go wrong. Sometimes, it could be a misreading of community needs, or there could be physical or manpower constraints faced by the charity. We hope to take corporates on a philanthropic journey, to help them gain insight into what it takes to make a meaningful change.” Read more.

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