Stories Of Impact
Helping Clients Grow Their Giving
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

Helping Clients Grow Their Giving

John Doe
John Doe
Portrait of Freaderic Tan Kelvin Choo

This article first appeared on CFS’s Legacy Giving Website. To find out more about Legacy Giving, please click here.

People like to give and I think people like to be effective as well [and] see the direct result, the impact of their giving.

Legacy giving enables you to make a difference beyond your lifetime. In support of CFS’ campaign for “A Greater Gift”, IPG Howden has partnered CFS to inspire individuals to include gifts to charities in their wealth planning.

Senior financial consultants Freaderic Tan and Kelvin Choo believe in the power of advisors to help clients realise and fulfil their giving intentions through legacy giving.

As Senior Vice-President and First Vice-President respectively at IPG Howden based in Singapore, they have a combined experience of over 35 years in the wealth planning, wealth management, and financial services industries.

“I think clients want to help by giving, and they also want assurance and for the source of advice to be a trusted source,” says Freaderic.

“I think these long-term advisors to the clients would be very well-placed to be giving this advice and I think the clients would feel like they have been done a favour,” he continues.

Kelvin believes that clients might not initially think of turning to their financial advisors for advice on legacy giving, but that greater awareness could help change this.

“I think many clients, by and large, who are wealthy currently are usually first or second generation wealth creators and perhaps the bulk of their priorities lie in growing that wealth further,” he says.

“However, with more education,” he explains, “I believe clients will begin to understand that even as they grow their wealth, they can also grow their giving.”

Legacy giving is suitable for clients of all ages, he points out, saying, “We believe that by having that discussion and planning for their legacy now, younger clients can actually make their gifts in the future.”

What advice on legacy giving do these senior financial experts have for their fellow advisors? How do they address questions that advisors may get when discussing legacy giving with their clients? Watch the interview below to find out more.

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Homeless during the pandemic: how our Sayang Sayang Fund responded with agility

John Doe
John Doe
a homeless person sitting on the ground

When Singapore locked down during the pandemic, homelessness became a visible, urgent issue. Cross-border commuters and people that had lost their housing due to irregular income or family conflict joined the rough sleepers who scrape by on the margins of our society.

But with any crisis, there is an opportunity to make things better. In this instance, the authorities and social service organisations moved quickly, joining forces to provide temporary shelters. “The rapid expansion of overnight shelter capacity – from around 60 places at the start of 2020 to a peak of 920 during the circuit breaker – was a considerable feat and evidence of what can be achieved with bureaucratic will and an active civil society,” notes a new study called Seeking shelter: Homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore.

Conducted by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), this landmark study was funded by the Community Foundation of Singapore’s Sayang Sayang Fund(SSF). SSF decided to fund this research project to gain deeper insights into the issue of homelessness and how charities can better meet this critical gap.

The study involved a nationwide street count in 2021 and in-depth interviews and was led by Dr. Ng Kok Hoe, a senior research fellow and head of the Social Inclusion Project at LKYSPP. Dr. Ng and his team found that in 2021, the number of homeless people who took refuge in temporary shelters shot up six-fold to 420 compared to 2019. 

Shelters offer greater safety, protection from the elements, and access to basic amenities. At one point during the circuit breaker, homeless shelters reached capacity. “Homelessness is one of the harshest forms of social exclusion,” the study points out. To be homeless in a pandemic, it adds, is to experience even sharper dislocation and hardship.  

Protecting people living on the streets during a public health crisis was one of the many challenges SSF stepped in to address swiftly. SSF was launched in February 2020 as an emergency Community Impact Fund (CIF) during the early days of Covid-19. It was designed to support frontline and healthcare workers.

Donors responded with overwhelming generosity to our appeal. SSF raised a total of $9.6 million from multiple platforms, tripling our initial target. A campaign on alone raised $1 million in donations from the public. All this helped turn SSF into our largest and most impactful pooled fund to date. 

As the pandemic unfurled, unmet needs among vulnerable groups in Singapore escalated. Our deep understanding of on-the-ground issues and strong relationships with charities and government agencies meant CFS could form strategic partnerships to channel funds to the needy in the fastest and most effective way. 

As part of its SafeSleep@Home initiative, SSF gave a $417,000 grant to four charity partners – AMKFSC Community Services, Good News Community Services, Methodist Welfare Services, and New Hope Community Services. The money covered daily necessities, furnishings, and other costs associated with sheltering over 476 rough sleepers.

As of December 2020, about 10% gained permanent housing. 

“Collaboration and trust are key in times of crisis,” says Joyce Teo, executive director at the Centre for Applied Philanthropy at CFS. Aside from rallying donor support, CFS tapped on its extensive cross-sector network to generate diverse perspectives, allowing SSF and other stakeholders to respond efficiently and collectively to the homelessness dilemma. 

To date, SSF has launched ten programmes. The fund has also worked with 891 grantee organisations and touched the lives of 359,302 beneficiaries. It is a powerful example of how collaborative philanthropy can tackle societal problems with agility. 

“The crisis created opportunities for different stakeholders and built new partnerships. It was also a useful learning curve,” notes Joyce. The learnings from this, plus the research findings from Seeking shelter, put CFS in a better position to deliver services to the homeless. “All these work together to help us build a more resilient community better equipped to deal with future crises,” she adds. 

To learn more about the Sayang Sayang Fund and its impact, please click here.

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.

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.


Ng, K. H., & Sekhon Atac, J. S. (2022). Seeking shelter: Homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore. Singapore: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. social-inclusion-project

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Stories Of Impact

Retired doctor donates $1m to start new donor-advised fund

John Doe
John Doe
two elderly climbing up stairs

Dr Chua, a retired doctor, 80, gave $1 million to start the Bamboo Lotus Fund with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) in July after being inspired by another retiree’s donation of $1 million to start a charitable trust that he did the same thing. 

Describing himself as an “ordinary” general practitioner, and not a “highly paid medical specialist”, Dr Chua said: “I hope (my example) dispels the myth that only prominent individuals or corporate organisations can make significant donations. “To me, $1 million is a significant amount that will get others to notice and start to consider how much they can give too.”

Dr Chua, who has a daughter, said that helping others comes “naturally” to him and his family. Over the years, they have given “small contributions” to charity. But when he turned 80 this year and felt he may not “have many years left”, he decided to help in a more substantial way.

He plans to help disadvantaged women and families, and the arts and heritage through his new fund.

The retired doctor says bamboo, which signifies resilience, is his favourite plant, while lotus is one of the characters of his wife’s Chinese name. Thus, the Bamboo Lotus Fund was born.

It is one of 165 donor-advised funds under the Community Foundation. Donors pledge at least $200,000 to set up a fund. The foundation manages the money, advises donors on the needs in the community and disburses the funds according to their wishes.

CFS chief executive officer Catherine Loh said the number of donor-advised funds started to grow exponentially several years ago. At the start of 2018, there were 110 such funds. The biggest donors have given more than $20 million to set up their funds.

It took 10 years for the CFS to attract $100 million in donations for all the donor-advised funds set up by various individuals or companies. But it took just the past three years for that sum to hit $200 million, Ms Loh said.

The CFS was ranked third in a report on the 10 largest philanthropic foundations here.

Ms Loh said: “Through times of crisis like the pandemic, individuals have become more open and willing to give more sustainably to make their giving more meaningful.”

A growing awareness of the CFS’ track record has also attracted more donors to set up such funds.

They include successful professionals, retirees or individuals who are semi-retired, and companies.

They give to a wide range of causes, with mental health and the environment among those growing in interest, Ms Loh said.

Since its formation in 2008, the CFS has given out $122 million in grants to a variety of needs.

Dr Chua said: “I hope that this will inspire others in my profession or people of my age, to also donate their money before we pass on.”

To find out more about Legacy Giving, visit us at Legacy Giving or contact us here.

This article was originally published in The Straits Times here. Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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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.

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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


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



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All about legacy giving

John Doe
John Doe
a portrait of an old lady

LEGACY giving is not the prerogative of the ultra-wealthy alone. That is the mindset the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) wants to inculcate with its latest movement – the Legacy Giving Initiative (LGI) – which was launched by a campaign called A Greater Gift last November.

According to a Social Pulse survey, while the majority of respondents (83 per cent) flagged awareness on what legacy giving is, only 33 per cent considered legacy as a means of giving, and just 3 per cent indicated they would take action.

Legacy gifts can be broadly defined as planned, future donations to charities, which include cash, marketable securities, insurance payouts, and CPF monies. Those looking to support a cause over a period of years can establish a donor-advised fund (DAF) with organisations such as CFS to manage grant distributions. Now, about six months after the Legacy Giving Initiative was launched, CFS is shifting into the knowledge phase of its initiative.

CFS chairperson Christine Ong said the foundation “will drive this phase by engaging with prospects and partners, conducting targeted research to gather data insights, and building formal alliances with multipliers”.

“The digitally-led campaign, A Greater Gift, has introduced people from different walks in life in Singapore to legacy giving,” she said.

CFS’ microsite on legacy giving has reached out to three key audiences – individuals, professional advisers and charities – receiving over 33,000 page views from 19,000 visitors since its launch and offering information on legacy giving.

Radio spots were also featured in the campaign, reaching over 1.3 million people.

Gregory Vijayendran, the president of The Law Society of Singapore, said that for the gift-giver, legacy giving has four advantages.

First, it allows the donor to give their own voice to their unique personality, values and beliefs for a cherished cause. Secondly, it creates a meaningful memorial to perpetuate the legacy of the donor, he said. Thirdly, it positively impacts subsequent generations through sustained giving. And, lastly, he said it deepens and lengthens the connection between the charity and the donor.

Ms Ong is keen to build on the momentum gained so far. She said that donors’ profiles with CFS have evolved over the last 12 years since it was set up.

“The younger generation is more interested to identify problems, or be more involved with understanding the issues and identifying the cause before they decide to set up a fund,” she said.

CFS is looking into ways to measure the social impact of the research programme.

“We hope to see how this can be done on a more standardised national level. We want donors to be more focused on the impact of their giving and, at the same time, allow charities to upscale, to make them better stewards to their donors,” said Ms Ong.

“CFS will be sharing knowledge on legacy giving, to empower and enable more individuals to plan and make legacy gifts. In addition, we will work with professional advisers by providing them with resources to help them ignite conversations with clients, and share its knowledge on legacy giving, as well as the potential of DAF, to empower and enable more individuals to plan and make legacy gifts.”

To date, CFS has cultivated over 400 professional advisers and charity representatives, through online events, seeding a network of conversation starters and multipliers for legacy giving.

Ms Ong said the aim is to send the broader message that “everyone can give”.

“Giving is not about the amount and you can start at any stage of your life. For those who can set up their own DAF, they can make a pledge – we will take pledges of S$200,000 and create funds for them,” she said.

“Regardless of one’s background and lifestyle, everyone can play a part in the shared ambition for a fairer and more sustainable Singapore.”

This article was originally published in The Business Times here. Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction

To find out more about Legacy Giving, kindly visit our Legacy Giving website or contact us here.

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