Stories Of Impact
Equipping the marginalised to create a future for themselves
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

Equipping the marginalised to create a future for themselves

John Doe
John Doe
Lady in blue dress standing in front of vibrant yellow backdrop.

Photo credit: Bettr Group

When Zaza’s only daughter was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, Zaza felt lost and powerless to decide the fate of her child. Coupled with the ongoing process of a divorce, her situation grew more desperate, plunging her into depression and hopelessness. She had a diploma in pre-school education, and had to reject offers to further her studies due to her circumstances. It was desperation that kept the single mother going; it was all she could do to keep her head above water and not succumb to the overwhelming pressure.

‘I didn’t know what to do,’ Zaza recalls. ‘I was about to give up. Bettr Barista was my last hope of surviving towards becoming an independent, single parent. That was my last shot.’

Yet against all odds, Zaza has come far to become a Barista at The Social Space café, located in Kreta Ayer. This is all made possible by Bettr Barista (BB), a coffee academy whose mission is to empower the lives of marginalised women like Zaza through professional training and teaching them life management skills. Bettr Barista is a partner of the Learning Initiative for Employment (LIFT) Community Impact Fund, launched by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) in July 2019.

LIFT aims to support programmes like Bettr Barista’s proprietary Holistic Training programme, which provides vocational training for marginalised women and youths at risk, equipping them with the skills to secure jobs in the open market.

Pamela Chng, CEO of Bettr Barista, first had dreams to start a business to do good when she left the tech industry after eight years.

‘I found myself burnt out because I derived little emotional satisfaction from my work. I knew I wasn’t motivated by money – I had realised this much earlier in my life,’ Pamela explains. ‘If I continued to work hard at a business, it had to mean more – to myself, and to society.’

Bettr Barista has certainly made an impact on many of the lives it has touched, including Zaza’s. As the first B Corp certified company in Singapore, it is BB’s mission along with 2,750 other B Corp companies around the world to redefine success as a business and use it as a force for good. These companies have a responsibility beyond just maximising profit, and must operate in an ethical manner that gives back to the community.

Unsurprisingly, Bettr Barista was named the social enterprise of the year in 2017, and 94% of their trainees found jobs upon graduating from the academy’s Holistic Training programme. Not only that, 80% gained improved self-confidence and emotional management skills after having gone through their training.

‘Confidence is the main factor I got. When I started with BB it was difficult in the beginning,’ Zaza says. ‘I had no confidence, only a sense of being lost and a lack of hope. The moral and financial support that BB gave me helped me get back on my two feet. Now I move forward and I will never let adversity control my life again.’

What started in 2011 has grown and developed into The Bettr Group. Apart from selling home-grown specialty coffee in Singapore, it now encompasses a training academy, retail products, events services, and social impact programmes. At the heart of it all is a social mission — to empower vulnerable groups and equip them with skills to create a future for themselves. Pamela hopes to bring Bettr Barista into the future through expanding into the rest of Southeast Asia to countries like the Philippines and Indonesia.

‘We want to diversify the social programmes that we can offer and to continue building partnerships and in-house capabilities to adapt our programmes to impact these populations,’ says Pamela. ‘Bettr Barista creates a positive impact in every ecosystem it operates in, and helps people maximise their potential to become better versions of themselves.’

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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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Stories Of Impact

The S.S. Jhunjhnuwala Charity Fund: Honoring a Father’s Legacy

John Doe
John Doe
old portrait picture of a man

For CFS donor Mr Surya Jhunjhnuwala, the late patriarch Shyam Sundar Jhunjhnuwala who founded the Hind Group, was a devoted father and man of vision, passing on to his children the values of humility, hard work and honesty. These principles were ingrained into them at a young age and have guided his family through both good and challenging times.

The  S.S. Jhunjhnuwala Charity Fund was set up by the Hind Group to honour him. The Fund, managed by The Community Foundation of Singapore, is proof that S.S. Jhunjhnuwala’s legacy lives on, its grants supporting welfare initiatives and underprivileged women.

Mr Jhunjhnuwala was also a forward thinking visionary of his time. He was a passionate believer that girls should receive equal opportunity, and that they should receive a good education. He was a mentor for one of the first all-girl schools in his ancestral home of Rajasthan, and this belief has also been entrusted and passed down to his children.

The S.S. Jhunjhnuwala Charity Fund believes that education is the most vital tool in unlocking the potential of children and young adults, hence its mission to provide students in Singapore with opportunities to achieve their potential and a chance to create for themselves a life they dream of.

The Fund currently provides two grants to the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). The first is the SS Jhunjhnuwala Naumi Hotel Bursary, given in perpetuity to female students who wish to pursue an education in the field of hospitality, created with the late patriarch’s vision of equal opportunities for women in mind. 

The second grant is the VD Jhunjhnuwala Naumi Hotel Emergency Grant, which supports students facing unforeseen difficult situations and gives them a chance to continue their education. Over the years, they have also supported Gladiolus Place, Ramakrishna Mission-Boys’ Home and the Migrant Workers’ Centre.

‘’My father embodied the principle of honesty, and through his strong character and resolve he taught me the importance of consistent and conscious hard work. Our hope for the S.S. Jhunjhnuwala Charity Fund is to create a legacy of continuous service and impact. Giving back is at the core of our business, and a duty we take seriously. I fondly remember my father who taught me to live a life of integrity,’’ shares Mr Surya Jhunjhnuwala.

Learn more about our Donor advised funds here. If you would like to start your giving journey and provide support for the causes close to your heart, get in touch with us at contactus@cf.org.sg to find out how you can make an impact with your giving.

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Stories Of Impact

Learning Initiatives for Employment (LIFT): Transforming Lives for the better

John Doe
John Doe
a portrait of a man with a wooden background

At just 18 years old, Jeevan never imagined that he would find himself resigned to his fate in life.

“Three years ago, I dropped out of school, did some things, and ended up on probation. At that point in time, I thought that this would be the end for me – this is how it’s going to be for the rest of my life,” recalls the young man.

Despite repeated rebuffs from many employers, things took a turn for the better after Jeevan was accepted into Bettr Barista’s Holistic Training programme.

Bettr Barista’s Holistic Training Programme is committed to equipping vulnerable individuals from marginalised groups with skills to be employed and stay employed. Through the programme, they are trained not only in practical skills as a barista, but also in interpersonal skills to integrate back into society.

“I went to 20 interviews in two months, but they all rejected me because of my probation. It was tough until I came to Bettr. I didn’t expect to get accepted and I was mentally drained after all those rejections. When I was accepted, I was quite happy and really looking forward to it as something that could change my life.”

As a result of going through two months of BB’s Holistic Training programme, Jeevan is currently employed at Five &2 Bistro.

Changing lives for the better, even for those who are resigned to their fate – this is the mission of Bettr Barista, whose programmes are aimed at turning the lives around for marginalised groups and equipping them with holistic skills to get and stay employed. These groups include youth-at-risk like Jeevan, persons with disabilities, persons recovering from mental illnesses and disadvantaged women.

Improving the lives of the marginalised since 2011

Bettr Barista and Project Dignity are two of the social enterprises partnered with the Learning Initiatives for Employment (LIFT) Community Impact Fund (CIF), spearheaded by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS).

Since 2011, 135 participants have enrolled into Bettr Baristas Holistic Training (HT) programme, which saw an increase from an average of 12.6 to 40 trainees every year after it began receiving funding from LIFT.

The HT programme is an intense two to four months full-time work-and-study programme, which provides training ranging from emotional self-awareness counselling and workshops in Professional Coffee Education, to soft skill development and employment readiness.

By December 2020, a 65% graduation rate is expected from the cohort of 40 participants from April 2019 to October 2020, in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The remainder of the cohort which did not graduate faced extenuating circumstances, with an unsupportive home environment cited as one of the key challenges faced by the participants.

18 of the graduates have already found employment with BB’s referral partners, in sectors such as Social Services, Family Services and Probation & Community Rehabilitation.

Giving dignity to the intellectually disabled through culinary arts

Project Dignity’s Train-and-Place programme helps equip marginalised individuals with practical skills to gain and sustain employment through a 22 day vocational Food and Beverage (F&B) On-Job-Training programme.

Those who participate are disadvantaged individuals with intellectual disabilities and mental health issues. They learn about aspects of working in the F&B industry, such as basic food hygiene and quality control procedures to prepare ingredients and serve customers.

As of October 2020, the programme outcome reports a high completion rate of 94% from the 50 participating trainees, with 76% gaining employment after completing the programme. Additionally, 22% of employed participants remain employed for a sustained period of at least three months, with six trainees remaining employed for 12 months or more.

The 38 trainees who were employed received a salary which ranged from $500 to $1,600. Trainees who completed the programme but were not able to receive employment cited extenuating circumstances from challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and nursing home restrictions

If you would like to support someone in their journey towards sustained employment opportunities, please visit our donation drive on Giving.sg.

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Opinion

Collaborative giving: How it creates social change

John Doe
John Doe
exciting launch of Singapore Youth Impact Collective with youth leaders and supporters.

Ubuntu– it’s an ancient and beautiful concept from South Africa often used today to convey how a community is the building block of society. In South Africa, it simply means: “I am, because of you.”

Today, with technology and the lean towards strategic, outcome-focused giving, the spirit of ubuntu endures in the form of collaborative giving. Giving together is rapidly gaining traction as people recognise the complexity of social issues and the need for many helping hands.

Collaborative giving can take different forms, but it simply describes individuals coming together to pool their time, treasure or talent towards creating social change. Each model of collaborative giving differs with regards to the level of collaboration and involvement partners exert to achieve a certain outcome.

A spectrum of giving models
Online giving platforms and group funding opportunities empower a wide spectrum of donors to easily contribute to a cause, without requiring further engagement. Giving circles offer members a platform to get more involved, where members not only pool resources but meet to learn about social issues for more informed decision-making.

On the other end of the spectrum is collective impact – a specific model of collaboration that offers the greatest potential for social impact when harnessed well. Here, major actors from different sectors commit to a specific agenda for solving a particular social issue. Collective impact initiatives are distinct from other forms of partnerships because they share a centralised infrastructure, a common agenda and shared system of measurement, and continuous communication amongst partners.

Empowering collective giving
At the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), we count it as our mission to enable donors to learn and tap on these different models of collective giving.

In 2018, the Singapore Youth Impact Collective became the first local initiative to adopt the collective impact model for tackling a social issue. Several multi-sector partners – with CFS as the backbone organisation – are working together to help disadvantaged youth transit more successfully to work-life. The collective was formed when its members participated in Colabs, a philanthropic initiative by CFS and the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre intended to deepen understanding and drive collaboration towards addressing community needs.

Over the years, we have also grown our Community Impact Funds which support under-served causes and are open to givers from all walks of life. While collaboration may be the way forward for larger scale change, we believe fundamentally in the strength of giving as a community, for the community.

By putting the opportunity for social change back into our own hands, we hope to nurture the spirit of ubuntu, of interconnectedness and shared humanity – and we sincerely hope you pass the flame on too.

Joyce Teo
Deputy CEO
Community Foundation of Singapore

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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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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Stories Of Impact

10th Anniversary Edition – S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund: How recipients turned their lives around with the gift of education

John Doe
John Doe
portrait of sr nathan

2021 marks a monumental turn of a chapter for the S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund (SRNEUF). The fund that was set up by the late former president S R Nathan enters its 10th year of fruition and continues to fulfill its purpose of providing students financial ease to allow them to flourish in their studies. 

To celebrate this anniversary, students Arshad Supa’at and Danish Said shared how their lives changed for the better through the gift of education. 

Arshad, 33 years old, is currently an undergraduate at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, majoring in Social Work. He was originally studying in Millenia Institute (MI) but dropped out of school in his first year to find a job to support his family’s finances. At that time, his father, Supa’at Sarajoo, suffered from kidney failure, which resulted in him no longer being able to work. 

After completing his national service and GCE ‘O’ level examination, Arshad enrolled in the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and started work as part-time as a food deliveryman to help with expenses. Unfortunately, he was involved in a road accident and had to quit his job. With only his mother holding a part-time job to support the family, he could not turn to his family to support his education and living expenses.

His turning point came when he received assistance from the SRNEUF. The monthly allowance it provided allowed Arshad to supplement his school and daily expenses, allowing him to continue his studies whilst he recovered from the accident. He eventually went on to graduate from ITE, receiving the Tay Eng Soon Award and the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship for Encouraging Improvement (LKY-STEP) in 2013. The SRNEUF has changed his life, allowing him to complete his education in ITE when he most needed help.

Arshad shared, “I strongly believe and am confident that education can make us equal on a social level. Regardless of your background or your social or family background, if you do your best, education can open doors for you.”

Danish is another student who has managed to turn his life around due to the aid provided by the SRNEUF.

Danish, 25 years old, had always wanted to do something related to finance, as it is an issue close to his heart. Danish enrolled in ITE at a later age compared to most of his peers as he had previously dropped out from his studies at the Republic Polytechnic when he was younger. He recounted how he had never fully focused on his education then and felt that he had unfinished business with his educational journey. Thus, he wished to prove to himself that he could do it as long as he had the right mindset. 

As the youngest in the family, he feels lucky to have been offered the SRNEUF which provides him with a monthly allowance. This allowed him to focus more on his schoolwork instead of worrying about having his parents bearing his expenses. In fact, he has taken this chance to work part-time as a food deliveryman to cover his own expenses, as well as to help his parents in managing their finances.  Danish aspires to work on his skills needed to be a financial advisor, fund manager or financial analyst, to be able to provide quality advice to help those in difficulty to manager their financial decisions. 

“My interest in finance started when I was little because my family always had to struggle just to meet our daily needs. It made me interested because I wanted to know how I could manage my finances better,” said Danish.

Throughout the years, the SRNEUF has worked with ITE to provide assistance to underprivileged students who require financial help. Since 2012, the SRNEUF has supported needy students in ITE, with a total of 1,848 bursaries disbursed over the years with a cumulative grant total of $2.47 million.

“President Nathan’s life epitomises the spirit of generosity, caring and giving. He was a tireless giver. Known to come from humble beginnings himself, he was always known to have a heart for the less privileged in society. In 2011, Mr Nathan established the S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund (SRNEUF) to provide financial support to students for their education,” said Mr Bobby Chin, the Chairman of the Grant Advisory Committee of the S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund.

He firmly believed that education was an important social leveller which provides students from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to seek a better life for themselves and their families,” he continued.

To transform lives with your giving, get in touch with us at contactus@cf.org.sg or read more about it here.

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