Stories Of Impact
Empowering Seniors to Age Well
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

Empowering Seniors to Age Well

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By 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be 65 or older (Population in Brief, 2022), making Singapore a “super-aged” society. This significant demographic shift means that more people will be required to serve as caregivers, and demand  for community services and healthcare support will rise.  As our population ages, more emphasis is being placed on allowing seniors to age comfortably in their own homes and communities.

By 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be 65 or older (Population in Brief, 2022), making Singapore a “super-aged” society. This significant demographic shift means that more people will be required to serve as caregivers, and demand  for community services and healthcare support will rise.  As our population ages, more emphasis is being placed on allowing seniors to age comfortably in their own homes and communities.

At the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), we believe seniors should be able to age with dignity, while pursuing meaningful activities, and having access to personalised care. 

To this end, our donors support a range of programmes and activities designed to support seniors and their caregivers.

Caregiving Welfare Association – Home Personal Care

In 2017, the Caregiving Welfare Association (CWA) introduced its Home Personal Care service which aims to provide long-term support for frail seniors living alone, and elderly couples without children. This is to address the growing need for personalised care among the elderly, particularly those without immediate family support. 

Professional caregivers conduct comprehensive assessments of clients’ needs and assist with daily activities such as showering, housekeeping, and grocery shopping. They also engage clients in mind-stimulating activities, help with medication reminders, manage appointments, and offer respite care for primary caregivers.

One client, Madam Oh (not her real name), says the convenience and familiarity of receiving care at home has significantly reduced her stress and improved her mood.

Thanks to CWA's service, I can live more comfortably, confidently, and joyfully. Beyond the invaluable assistance, it's the warmth of companionship that truly touches my heart.

A caregiver from Caregiving Welfare Association taking care of a client during a home visit

St Joseph’s Home – Dusk to Dawn Night Respite Programme

St Joseph’s Home offers several programmes, including their Dusk to Dawn Night Respite Programme. This allows families caring for an elder with conditions like dementia or sundowning syndrome to have some night respite. Clients can use the service a few nights a week or on an ad-hoc basis. The facility prioritises clients’ well-being by providing a restful environment and keeps them engaged and entertained.

St Joseph’s Home Dusk to Dawn Facility is designed to look like a typical home.

Yong-en Care Centre – Home Care Service

To support seniors with limited mobility and chronic health conditions as they recover at home following a hospital discharge, the nurses and support staff at Yong-en Care Center’s Home Care Service closely monitor patients’ health, administer medications and medical procedures, and provide virtual support to patients and caregivers through tele-consultations. In addition to addressing medical needs, the staff also assist clients in navigating support systems to apply for necessary funding and subsidies, and coordinates with social service professionals from Yong-en or external agencies should follow-up be needed. A beneficiary of the Home Care Service shared the following thoughts: “When people ask about Yong-en, I would always tell them that the staff are great and really have the heart for seniors like me.”.

Yong-en Care Centre’s professional nurses ensure that patients get the medical assistance

Thanks to programmes like these, seniors in Singapore can receive quality care, empowering them to age in place with peace of mind. Another community-focused effort launched by CFS in partnership with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) is the FUN! Fund. The FUN! fund supports initiatives that inject fun for seniors receiving Community Care services, helping them design novel and impactful programmes that boost the well-being of older adults. You can read more about the fund here

To learn more about the causes we support and how to contribute, visit https://cf.org.sg/charities/causes-beneficiaries-we-support/

References

Population in brief 2022 (2022) The Strategy Group in the Prime Minister’s Office. Available at: https://www.strategygroup.gov.sg/files/media-centre/publications/population-in-brief-2022.pdf

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Opinion

5 Critical gaps in caring for vulnerable seniors in Singapore

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two young people helping an elderly

Singapore is fast reaching superaged status. Life expectancy is going up while the birth rate is heading south. By 2030 – not many years from where we are today – one in four Singaporeans will be 65 years or older. More worryingly, a fifth of that cohort will be over 80 (Population in Brief 2021). 

Ageing well and quality of life are huge concerns for our elderly. The biggest challenges centre on health: physical frailty or disability, sensory impairment such as hearing loss, or chronic conditions such as dementia or diabetes. However, ageing is not just a matter of biophysical health. It is also about bolstering psychological, emotional and community support. 

Mental wellness issues, such as depression and loneliness, are a real threat to the older demographic. On top of this, many older Singaporeans worry about financial security, due to escalating care costs, inadequate retirement income and limited earning opportunities. 

Many people prefer to age at home but that too has its challenges. In this article, we highlight the critical gaps in caring for vulnerable seniors and what can be done to support them so that ageing can be enabling, empowering and meaningful.

#1 Funding rising healthcare needs

Singapore’s healthcare expenses could jump tenfold between 2016 and 2030 to over $66 billion1. Family is typically the first line of support but families are getting smaller and relationships may be estranged. Income caps also mean not everyone qualifies for government aid. 

Even when fees are subsidized, low-income seniors may struggle with costs. Women, in particular, face more financial insecurity as they tend to have interrupted employment or be in low-wage or unpaid care work. Women also tend to outlive men and are more likely to be single, widowed or divorced in old age. 

The burden lands on welfare organisations to meet the shortfall. However, causes that help the elderly don’t attract as much funding as say, education, which in Singapore receives the lion’s share of donations: in 2019, they accounted for 52.9% of total receipts of $20.8 billion (Commissioner of Charities 2020).

#2 Access to home care and assisted living

Letting people age at home or in the community and delaying institutional care is a universal goal. But as the number of seniors with mobility issues or age-related ailments increases, demand for home nursing, home therapy, meal deliveries, assistive devices and home safety and modification services (to prevent falls) will rise. There will also be a much bigger role for centre-based eldercare, such as day care, and initiatives for assisted living.

#3 Depression and suicide

Aside from physical ill health, many seniors grapple with loneliness, loss of loved ones or dependence on others. The number of elderly living alone doubled to 63,800 in 2020 from a decade ago and is set to hit 83,000 by 2030 (Singapore Department of Statistics). 

According to the Samaritans of Singapore, the number of people aged 60 and above who took their own lives reached a high at 154 deaths in 2020. That’s a 26% increase from the year before and is the highest elderly suicide death rate since 19912. There is an urgent need to support charities that connect with seniors, organise social outings or wellness activities for them, offer intergenerational bonding or assist beneficiaries with their healthcare needs such as medical appointments and screenings. 

#4 Dementia support

Dementia is our nation’s most prevalent neurodegenerative disease today, affecting one in 10 seniors. By 2030, the number of dementia patients is set to reach 92,000 – a doubling from 2015 (Dementia in the Asia Pacific Region). Dementia additionally imposes a huge burden on caregivers, many of whom are ageing themselves. We need more funding to support early diagnosis and intervention, community dementia care services such as exercise and cognitive activities as well as training and support for caregivers.

#5 End of life care

Discussions about death or end of life remain taboo. There is insufficient advance care planning as well as a lack of healthcare workers and expertise in the palliative care system. Better awareness and improved options for inpatient, home or day care hospice services are needed.

How CFS helps you do more with your giving

If you would like to help seniors who have fallen through the cracks or would like to make ageing more empowering and inclusive, we at CFS can align your giving goals with the needs of this community. We are a cause-neutral organisation that supports grantmaking to a wide range of charitable areas in Singapore. Of the 400-plus charities we evaluate and make grants to, close to 30% work with seniors. We partner with charities that focus on clearly identified problem areas or social gaps that are under-supported. Charities must also demonstrate measurable outcomes and good stewardship of funds.

A simple and cost-effective way to contribute to a variety of causes in Singapore is by setting up a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF). A DAF can be set up by an individual, a beneficiary of a will, a trust, or a family office. CFS will handle all fund administration and leverage our unparalleled insight into Singapore’s charitable landscape to provide philanthropy advice that ensures your giving is targeted, accountable and impactful. CFS strives to ensure that every grant that goes out creates positive change.

As a donor, you will save on legal expenses and enjoy upfront tax deductions at the prevailing rate on eligible donations. Donors will also receive regular statements tracking incoming donations to the DAF and outgoing disbursements to charities. CFS has an established track record when it comes to setting up DAFs and our DAF payout rates outperformed the entire US DAF industry by 12% and their community foundations by 2 times. 

If you would like to begin your giving journey with CFS, get in touch with us.

This article was written by Sunita Sue Leng, a former financial analyst and journalist, who believes that the written word can be a force for good. She hopes to someday write something worth plagiarising.

1 https://www.asiaone.com/health/elderly-health-costs-rise-tenfold-2030-report

2 https://www.sos.org.sg/pressroom/singapore-reported-452-suicide-deaths-in-2020-number-of-elderly-suicide-deaths-highest-recorded-since-1991

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News

Sayang Sayang Fund continues to appeal for donations

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A man in a wheelchair kindly holds a ball for an elderly woman, showcasing compassion and support.
  • In less than one week, the Fund received $450,000 in donations and pledges of about $900,000
  • The Fund aims to raise $3 million by end of April

Last Tuesday (7 April 2020), the Sayang Sayang Fund relaunched fund raising efforts to raise another $3 million to meet evolving and urgent needs of the community to complement the work of local public health, non-profit and government entities with emergency support during the ‘circuit breaker’. This is in addition to the $1.1 million raised since its launch in February.

Chief Executive Officer of the Community Foundation of Singapore, Ms Catherine Loh gave an update to the fund raising efforts, “In less than one week, thanks to donors from all walks of life, we have received $450,000 in donations. Of this, more than $100,000 was raised through online platforms like Giving.sg. In addition, CFS has received pledges of about $900,000. It is heart-warming that during this difficult time, Singaporeans continue to be generous and stand united to help those who are needy amongst us.”

Joining in to publicise the efforts of fund-raising were artistes like Taufik Batisah, Rui En, Joanna Dong, Irene Ang, Jeremy Monteiro, Gentle Bones, Simone Heng and Jack and Rai – who posted on their own social media platforms to encourage their followers to make donations.

Update on Recess@Home

One of the initiatives announced last Tuesday was Recess@Home, which aimed to provide immediate support for children from disadvantaged homes to have access to daily meals when they are learning at home during the national circuit breaker period.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced today that primary school students on the MOE Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) will receive a total of $60 each, while secondary school students on MOE FAS will receive a total of $120 each.

The Sayang Sayang Fund is happy to update that it will be partnering the Ministry of Education (MOE) and channel $500,000 to provide an additional support of $20 to primary school students. The School Smartcard can be used to purchase food and essential groceries at some hawker centres, food courts, minimarts, convenience stores and supermarkets.

Apart from the partnership with MOE, the Fund’s Recess@Home will continue to provide additional support to other needy students including those with special needs and in tertiary institutions.

New initiative: SeniorsOK@Home

The Sayang Sayang Fund has also confirmed a new initiative, SeniorsOK@Home, which it will embark on in partnership with the Agency for Integrated Care and healthcare-based charities. This initiative provides support for immediate and urgent aid to seniors stranded at home and in need of food, necessities and medical supplies. It also supports digital solutions, such as video conferencing, to continue delivering essential services for seniors at home and online recreational activities to minimise social isolation. In addition, it will fund precautionary measures such as disinfection and sanitisation of premises to maintain quality of care for charities who are providing essential community services to seniors during the circuit breaker period.

About Sayang Sayang Fund

The additional $3 million the Fund hopes to raise will support local charities and non-profits whose programmes and proposals meet three key objectives:

  1. Support community-based emergency response funds that provide immediate and short-term support and relief for individuals and families from marginalised communities adversely affected by the COVID-19 situation.
  2. Provide innovation solutions and research that address current and emerging needs and strategically fill gaps to combat the COVID-19 situation.
  3. Build capabilities that transform operational and/or business continuity processes. This includes measures enabling charitable organisations to pivot service delivery and business models. The ultimate goal is to ensure that recipients continue to access essential support and assistance amid disruptions to programmes and activities.

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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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Opinion

Accessing Quality Education: Beyond the Classroom Walls

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a person teaching a group of children

The education of a generation is an extensive and complex undertaking.

Consider the span of time it takes to bring a single individual from nursery and preschool, through the primary and secondary school levels to the various branches of tertiary education. This journey could range from at least 12 years to almost three decades for the dedicated academic.

Keep in mind the need to cater to the individual’s development along the entire stretch in terms of how he or she learns, their psychosocial, physical, emotional and mental health, and their attitudes during the learning process. Now multiply that by over 30,000 for the number of students in each cohort year in Singapore, and you get a sense of the seemingly impossible task that faces the Ministry of Education.

The 32,000 plus teachers in Singapore (MOE, 2021) are doing a highly commendable job as it is. Singapore is ranked 21st in the latest education ranking of the Best Countries Report (World Population Review, 2022) and topped the world in the 2018 Global Competence test, conducted as part of the Programme for International Student Assessment (ST, 2020).

The Singapore education system also has facilities and options for those with learning disabilities, allowing those with conditions such as autism and Down syndrome to obtain a formal education, with pathways to employment for those who are able to do so.

There is a plethora of exit points for those who graduate from the education system here. Besides those with learning disabilities, one could complete formal education after attaining a polytechnic diploma, a university degree or even a doctorate.

While some of that depends on their innate aptitude for study, the students’ early childhood education plays a large part. While it is compulsory for all Singaporean citizens to attend primary school (MOE, 2021), the same is not true for preschool.

Government statistics reflect that nearly 99% of children in Singapore would have at least some preschool education by the age of six (MSF, 2016). This is commendable, but many still do not get the essential foundation that preschools offer, which leads in part to the learning difficulties (not to be confused with disabilities) that some children may face in keeping pace with their peers (Channel News Asia, 2019).

Learning difficulties are when a child, whose IQ is not affected, finds it challenging to learn in a particular way (MyLife Care, 2018). It could stem from conditions such as dyslexia or psychological issues such as anxiety and depression, inhibiting the child’s learning abilities and approach to studies.

Children with learning difficulties face problems with literacy and numeracy (Raising Children, 2021), which is an issue as English and Mathematics are the two core subjects that determine entry into post-secondary education.

Fortunately, there are many groups who are supporting children and youth struggling with primary and secondary school education. Although they are not teachers per se, the programme staff and volunteers of these groups are helping children with learning difficulties, who are usually from challenging backgrounds, to improve their academic abilities.

For instance, social enterprise Catch Them Young’s programme KidsExcel is partnering with the Lions Community Service Foundation to help primary- and secondary-going school children in their academic curriculum.

KidsExcel complements their tutoring time with workshops in sports and drama, which motivates the children to improve academically and to enjoy these popular activities offered by KidsExcel staff.

“I love interacting with the kids and I want to make a positive impact in their lives,” enthuses volunteer Ms Joycelyn Fung. “I have forged good relationships with the children and their parents. In the two years I have been here, it has been very fulfilling and rewarding to see the kids develop and grow.”

Resilience is a clear lesson learnt by KidsExcel care recipients, with 10-year-old Syakir stating that he would never give up in his pursuits, while 12-year-old Elfie proclaims: “I will never stop when I am tired, but will stop when I am done.”

Staff Madam Haznita shares: “It has been a joy working with the kids. Some came with little confidence and had difficulties adjusting, so we needed to spend time getting to know them better and help them settle. It is very rewarding to know they look forward to KidsExcel classes and seeing them every week. This is what motivates me.”

Another programme, Reading Odyssey by SHINE Children and Youth Services, helps to boost children’s literary abilities by inculcating a love for stories through story-telling and literature-related activities.

Taking these children onto journeys of the imagination to improve their linguistic capabilities are volunteers Bee Peng and Natasha. Every week, they tap into their dramatis personae and bring stories to life for the children.

“I like everything in Reading Odyssey, especially the games,” says P2 student beneficiary Kim Yan. “Teacher Bee Peng helps me to understand how the games are played. She is kind and patient. I thank her for teaching me.”

Bee Peng says: “I believe in the quality of Reading Odyssey; it has a positive impact on the lives of the children and has elements of character building. And I truly enjoy interacting with the children.”

Another P2 child, Divinya, demonstrates her newfound verbosity: “I like the games in Reading Odyssey and the snacks given out. My teacher Natasha helps me with reading unfamiliar words. If I don’t know the words, she helps me to pronounce them and tells me the meaning of the words. She is always present for the sessions, she never absents herself. She is always there for me. Thank you teacher, for teaching me and giving me lots of stars.” Divinya also expressed a wish for Natasha to continue teaching her in Reading Odyssey, a testament to the positive impact that even volunteers can have on our children.

A volunteer since 2017, Natasha believes in the programme’s aim of elevating the children’s self-confidence through learning and reading: “There are many opportunities to interact with the children via discussion of the stories, which allows me to journey with them and help them improve.”

Regardless of their motivation, it is clear from the number of children going through such programmes—about 350 and 180 annually from the KidsExcel and Reading Odyssey programmes—that programme staff and volunteers for such extracurricular activities are just as much teachers to our children as educators in school.

If you would like to support programmes such Reading Odyssey and KidsExcel in providing quality education to our children and make a difference in their lives, please visit Ways to give.

This article was written CFS Principal Consultant Reutens-Tan. He is an experienced sustainability advocate and practitioner, working closely with charities to build thriving communities, which he believes is key to a sustainable Singapore.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CFS or its members.

References

Channel New Asia. (15 September 2019). Commentary: Long-neglected but now in the spotlight, Singapore’s pre-school sectorhttps://www.channelnewsasia.com/commentary/pre-school-enhanced-subsidies-access-moe-kindergartens-859951

Ministry of Education. (18 October 2021). Compulsory education.
https://www.moe.gov.sg/primary/compulsory-education#:~:text=All%20Singapore%20Citizens%20born%20after,deferment%20to%20enter%20Primary%201
.

Ministry of Education. (Accessed 26 July 2022). Education Statistics Digest 2021
https:/www.moe.gov.sg/-/media/files/about-us/education-statistics-digest-2021.ashx?la=en&hash=9E7EFD9B8088817C207F8AE797037AAA2A49F167

MyLife Care. 20 September 2018. What Is The Difference Between ‘Learning Difficulties’ And ‘Learning Disabilities’? https://mylifehomecare.co.uk/insight/learning-difficulties-learning-disabilities-difference/#:~:text=a%20learning%20disability%20constitutes%20a,overall%20IQ%20of%20an%20individual

Raising Children. (2 July 2021). Learning difficulties and learning disorders: children and teenagers.
https://raisingchildren.net.au/school-age/school-learning/learning-difficulties/learning-disabilities-signs-and-support

The Straits Times. (22 October 2020). Singapore’s 15-year-olds top OECD’s Pisa global competence test.
https://str.sg/J62f

World Population Review. (Accessed 26 July 2022). Education Rankings by Country 2022.  
https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/education-rankings-by-country

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News

Business Times: Preserving a century-old legacy of giving

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A snapshot of a newspaper Business Times: Preserving a century-old legacy of giving

Following his great-grandmother’s footsteps, Keith Chua set up a charitable fund to carry on his family’s legacy of giving through the generations.

To Keith Chua, the boy, she was the stern matriarch of their large, Peranakan family, to be approached with deference. To the older and bolder teenager, she drew closer – the great-grandmother glad to chat about his day over tea or a shared meal.

But only years after, as an established entrepreneur with a family of his own, did Mr Chua truly feel the impact of her life on his own, thanks to the impact Mrs Lee Choon Guan had had on others.

“It was a rediscovery,” Mr Chua says, about encountering in the pages of a 1920s history book a side to his great-grandmother that he had not known, years after her death in 1978.

Growing up, naturally, he had heard stories from his mother. One of these, about Mrs Lee’s role in raising funds to contribute a fighter plane to the World War 1 effort, made it into a school composition of his on “A Person You Most Admire”.

But it was not till the mid-1980s, after being appointed as a co-trustee to the Mrs Lee Choon Guan Trust Fund his mother started that Mr Chua read for himself the book she had spoken so much about.

Discovering a legacy of giving

“It became quite clear that she was a pioneer in many ways,” Mr Chua, 65, says.

In One Hundred Years’ History of the Chinese in Singapore, he learnt of how, as one of the few Chinese girls to get an English education and a member of high-society, Mrs Lee sought to open doors for other women in the early 1900s.

Also known as Madam Tan Teck Neo, she was the founding president of the Chinese Ladies Association (now the Chinese Women’s Association), running classes for young women and raising funds for charities.

Women and children, healthcare and education – these were causes Mrs Lee cared deeply for. She gave out numerous scholarships to girls, donated to the building of the St Andrew’s Hospital for Women and Children, and funded the activities of the Society for the Protection of Women and Children. For her volunteer work and giving during the First World War, she was the first Chinese woman to be made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1918.

Moved by the glimpses of her trailblazing giving recorded in the book, Mr Chua has since acquired an autographed edition that is now a treasured possession for what it symbolises – a legacy of giving to be kept alive.

“To me, the process of discovery, rediscovery, has been a continuing one,” says Mr Chua. The family is still adding to what they know of Mrs Lee’s life and legacy, “all these little pockets of seeds that were planted”. Such as the family giving funds in 1924 to start Katong Girls’ School (today’s Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Primary School) – a fact they only recently stumbled upon.

Among other causes, the trust fund supports tertiary-level programmes on philanthropy at the NUS Business School’s Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy (ACSEP).

Down through the generations
In 2011, he set up the Mrs Lee Choon Guan Fund with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) to carry on his family’s legacy of giving through the generations. Managed as an endowment, the fund’s principal amount is invested and income earned is then given to various causes.

The aim is not merely to build historical knowledge, but to perpetuate the legacy of giving. “I have the opportunity, at this point in time, to put some thought and action into encouraging the continuation of her legacy. So that, hopefully, it will continue with some degree of active participation by future generations,” says Mr Chua.

“In continuing the legacy of my great-grandmother, I looked at how she approached philanthropy in her time and tried to include some of her practices in what I’m doing today. It has indeed come full circle.”

Some of the causes the fund supports today bear the mark of Mrs Lee’s charitable interests – education and healthcare initiatives. Others reflect evolving needs in society that Mr Chua himself is passionate about.

Indeed, Mr Chua is known as much these days for his work in philanthropic circles as he is in business ones.

The executive chairman of ABR Holdings, which owns Swensen’s and Chilli Padi among other food and beverage brands, Mr Chua is also managing director of the Alby group of companies in Singapore and Australia. He hails from a line of businessmen too – his grandfather, the late Chua Cheng Liat, is one of the Chua brothers behind car dealership Cycle & Carriage.

Today, actively involved in various community, church and missions agencies, he sits on the boards of the National Council of Social Service and CFS.

“Part of why I’m doing this today, is in the hope that the wider family, beyond just my siblings and children through to my cousins, my nephews and nieces, and their children, will come to appreciate the legacy that my great-grandmother has left for all of us.”

Apart from his great-grandmother, Mr Chua cites the influence of his parents’ generosity and his Christian faith as two other defining forces behind his philanthropy journey.

“[With my parents], it wasn’t so much them saying, ‘This is how you do it.’ It was watching them in action, responding generously to requests for help, seeing how they lived their lives,” says Mr Chua.

And that was the starting point for him and his wife too: sharing with their four children what they do and why, modelling a life of giving in the hope that their children would themselves see the value of giving.

One reason Mr Chua decided to set up the fund with CFS was to ensure that future generations would be able to continue the family’s philanthropic work. He says, “The objective of CFS flowed nicely with ours of wanting to continue the legacy of giving. It allows family members to be involved and ensure that funds for the community will carry on.”

Taking it a step further, he has been intentional about involving his children, whose ages now range between 22 and 32, in his philanthropic engagements. In recent years, this has included trips across Southeast Asia to learn from and explore partnerships with non-profits, charities and social entrepreneurs.

Having sown those seeds, he has since had the satisfaction of watching each child “doing something in their own way”, whether via professional or personal pursuits, to give to the community.

An evolving philosophy of giving
Mr Chua says his own approach to philanthropy has evolved over the years.

From viewing philanthropy primarily as responding to appeals for monetary gifts, he began getting involved with charities and volunteering his time. That involvement got him thinking about how he could make a difference with his own skills.

“Coming from a business, finance background, I felt I was able to bring that to the area of social entrepreneurship to encourage entrepreneurship, and help to share business models, my personal experiences,” says Mr Chua.

Asked what he has gained from years of intentional giving, Mr Chua is first introspective: “I would like to think that the engagement in all these years of philanthropy has gradually moved me from thinking more of myself, to thinking more of others.”

“Along with that, of course, is that it brings a wonderful feeling if you can bring joy and help someone else,” he adds.

“I believe everyone can give. Whether in terms of resources, time or talent… I would embrace all forms of participation. The most important thing for me is to encourage others to take that first step, whatever that first step is.”

Looking forward, Mr Chua says, “The seed of philanthropy was planted by the generations before me. Now, with the structure of CFS, the funds will carry on past my lifetime. Once you’ve set certain things in place, you can bring the next generation along for the ride, and trust them with the responsibility when it’s their turn.”

After all, Mrs Lee Choon Guan’s first steps into philanthropy led to her leaving a century-old legacy of giving that has spanned four generations and, if Mr Chua has his wish, countless more to come.

Source: Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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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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