Stories Of Impact
Karim Family Foundation: Donor-Advised Fund Raises $200,000 to Support Local Sports Champion Loh Kean Yew 印尼富商林益洲家族基金拨20万元奖励骆建佑
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

Karim Family Foundation: Donor-Advised Fund Raises $200,000 to Support Local Sports Champion Loh Kean Yew 印尼富商林益洲家族基金拨20万元奖励骆建佑

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In December 2021, 24-year-old Loh Kean Yew became the first Singaporean to win the Badminton World Federation World Championships in Huelva, Spain. 

With his unyielding fighting spirit and humble personality, Loh took the spotlight and became a sporting legend. Loh’s commitment to his sports attracted the attention of many – including those around the world and region.

Underscoring his rising popularity in Indonesia, the Karim Family Foundation, set up by the Indonesian-Chinese tycoon Bachtiar Karim’s family with The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), awarded Loh with a donation of $200,000 for winning the Badminton World Federation World Championships. 

The Karim Family Foundation wanted to congratulate Loh, now ranked as the world’s number 15 in men’s singles, for his win and hoped that the cash would motivate him to continue pursuing his sporting dreams. 

The foundation contacted the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) through the Singapore Press Holding Media Trust’s Chinese Media Group and under the stewardship of CFS.

Bachtiar Karim is the Group Executive Chairman of Singapore-headquartered oil conglomerate, Musim Mas. Musim Mas is an integrated palm oil firm run by Bachtiar Karim with his brothers, Burhan and Bahari. In 2021, according to Forbes, the Karim family had a cumulative net worth of around US$3.5 billion (S$4.7 billion), ranked 10th richest in Indonesia.

Through the decades, the Karim Family Foundation has donated to local charities and has had a focus on sports development, arts and culture, education and mental health sectors. The businessman is known for his philanthropy, having gifted S$2.27 million to his alma mater, the National University of Singapore, to start a professorship in sustainability in its business school in 2010 and another S$5 million to various causes, including the Singapore General Hospital and the Alzheimer’s Disease Association, in 2020. Despite his justified bragging rights, the businessman himself prefers to keep a low profile with his philanthropic work.

On behalf of the Karim Family Foundation, Chayadi Karim, son of Bachtiar Karim and the main manager of the family fund, told Lianhe Zaobao: “We have always believed in giving back to society. The purpose of the Karim Family Foundation Fund is to support all kinds of meaningful social activities. This time we want to reward Loh Kean Yew, and we hope that youths will set him as a role model. I think Loh Kean Yew is amazing. Badminton competitions are very fierce, in addition to skills, winning also depends on strong willpower. I have observed this young man for a long time, and I admire his never-say-die fighting spirit.”

Chayadi Karim expressed his and his family’s support for Loh in nine words: ‘play badminton well, play badminton well, play badminton well (好打球,打好球,打球好)’, hoping that Loh will continue to give his best and play well without worries, bringing back more glory for himself. “It also proves that it is good to play sports, not just a hobby, but also as a career. It inspires more young people to devote themselves to sports, so that the standard of sports in Singapore will continue to improve,” Chayadi Karim adds.

Bachtiar’s daughter, Cindy Karim, another key administrator of the fund, said: “Our family is inspired by Loh Kean Yew’s tenacity, and it is also touching that he remains humble after such an impressive achievement. Through the Community Foundation of Singapore, we will try my best to inspire more youths to be future ‘Loh Kean Yew’s in Singapore.”

Commenting on the award, Loh who is currently playing in India for the India Open, told Lianhe Zaobao: “After I won the World Championships, well-wishers and sponsors such as Mr Karim sent me many rewards and encouragement, and I feel touched and immense gratitude for what I received. For athletes, this is a recognition of our hard work and sacrifice. Giving my best for my country has always been my number one priority. Knowing that there are so many generous people out there who are very supportive and encouraging local athletes is great and very important to me. There are so many people who have helped me in my life that I can’t thank them individually. I would not be on the podium without the support and encouragement of so many.”

Lawrence Leow, President of SBA, said: “We are deeply grateful to Mr Karim for his care and support for Kean Yew. Kean Yew’s performance on the court has inspired the imagination of a new generation of badminton fans and conveys an important message. Even though we are a small country, with the support of the many, we can still achieve good results.”

The Badminton World Championships is an event that only counts points and does not offer bonuses. The competition is not part of the “Major Games Award Programme” of the Singapore Olympic Council and therefore, Loh Kean Yew did not receive any monetary rewards despite his glorious return home.

On top of the latest S$200,000 awarded to Loh by the Karim Family Foundation, SBA revealed last week that Loh has been rewarded with an amount over S$250,000, combining a donation from local business people and public crowdfunding. Chinese sports brand Li-Ning, a sponsor of SBA, is also negotiating a long-term sponsorship contract for Loh, worth over six figures.

Previously, five local businesspeople in Singapore also raised S$50,000 for Loh after he was conferred the title of world champion and awarded the gold medal. The five businesspeople are Ang Kiam Meng, executive director and group chief executive officer (CEO) of Jumbo Group, Daryl Neo, co-founder and CEO of DC Frontiers, Dora Hoan, group CEO and co-chairman of Best World International, Eugene Ang, managing director of JK Technology, and Wei Chan, managing director of Pine Garden’s Cake. 

Subsequently, Chan, who led the first fundraising, set up another donation fund called the ‘Low Kean Yew Encouragement Fund’ via Ray of Hope earlier this year to allow contributions from the members of the public to contribute. Chan started the new initiative after many members of the public approached him hoping to show their gratitude in a similar way. Collectively, at the time of this writing, the two funds have raised over S$210,000. 

If you too, would like to support a meaningful cause of your choice, please read more here.

This translated article was adapted from the feature within Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报 here. Source: Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报 © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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Stories Of Impact

#MyGivingJourney x Trina Liang-Lin: Investing in a sustainable future 

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#MyGivingJourney is a series by CFS to celebrate inspiring women and their work in the philanthropy sector. We are proud to feature Trina Liang-Lin, Managing Director at Templebridge Investments and Board of Director at CFS. 

Trina had a back to nature, farm to table experience growing up. Right up to the late 80s, her father’s family-owned farms in Lim Chu Kang, raising chickens, ducks and cultivating vegetables. That gave her a front row seat to the benefits of producing our own food and using natural resources thoughtfully.  

Today, Trina is investing her time and resources to push eco-consciousness to the top of our agenda. In November 2021, she led the launch of Women in Sustainability and Environment (WISE), the first women’s society in Singapore to focus concerted gender action towards Singapore’s Green Plan 2030 and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 12. 

WISE hopes to educate and empower a community of women who, in their roles as consumers, business owners and professionals, can move the needle on creating a greener world. This will be done through lectures, mentorships and awards. “Climate change disproportionately affects women and girls around the world so it is important for women to be represented in eco leadership circles and in green economy jobs. We need greater participation, inclusiveness and visibility of key female stakeholders in sustainability and climate advocacy,” says Trina, who works for a US$5 billion global fund where she focuses on clean energy investments in Southeast Asia. 

Trina has been elbow-deep in social and community work for much of her professional life. The causes she champions are decidedly diverse: she has given her time and expertise to uplift women, the arts, education and animal welfare. She helped found the Financial Women’s Association Singapore, which offers women in finance a support network, and was a past-President of UN Women (Singapore). She is currently Singapore’s representative to the G20 for Women.  

Her giving journey has seen her serve on the boards of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy CentreSingapore Council of Women’s Organisations and Sentosa Development Corporation. In line with her passion for conserving wild species and their habitat, she currently volunteers on the boards of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF-Singapore) and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. That’s not all: Trina is also a board member of Victoria Junior College and the Singapore Repertory Theatre.  

For their 20th wedding anniversary in 2016, Trina and her husband Edmund Lin established a foundation to give back in a more strategic and effective way. They explored different avenues but opted to go with CFS as it works closely with over 400 charities across a wide spectrum and can establish philanthropic funds seamlessly and quickly. Their Lin Foundation has supported causes that resonate with them, such as education, where they fund scholarships at Singapore Management University.   

“We decided to start giving back relatively early as we want to start making an impact now rather than later,” says Trina. “This is a long-term commitment for us and with CFS expertly guiding us in managing a foundation and making grants, our giving is optimised and can be scaled up further.” 

Begin your own journey of giving with CFS. Read more stories about the #MyGivingJourney series 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. 

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Stories Of Impact

Reading Odyssey – Building confidence and motivation through reading

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John Doe
Children sitting in a circle, engrossed in a book, fostering a love for reading and learning together.

With recent changes to school-based assessments in primary schools, Singapore’s education system is looking beyond mere academic results to appreciate the importance of the joy of learning. In this vein, Reading Odyssey – a community-based project by Educational Psychology Service, SHINE Children & Youth Services – has been empowering disadvantaged children to enjoy reading with meaning, knowledge and understanding via this novel programme since 2013.

Supported by multiple donors from the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), Reading Odyssey currently collaborates with various community partners to run in seven centres across Singapore and serves 120 children from Kindergarten Two to Primary Six, many from lower income families. “Many of these children are two to three years behind their peers in their reading abilities and have limited learning support and exposure. They usually have low confidence and a poor academic self-image,” says Magdalen Loh, Reading Odyssey Captain and Lead Learning Specialist.

One of the root causes, adds Magdalen, is lack of exposure. Due to complex issues in their family backgrounds, these children do not have wide learning opportunities, or have difficulties accessing help.

Unlike academically-focused tuition centres, Reading Odyssey focuses on inspiring interest in reading and offering opportunities for exposure and building confidence. Another key objective is to help children understand the meaning of words and knowledge. Here, reading is used as a tool to expose the child to the wider world. Genres are intentionally varied; children are exposed to topics, from robotics to the environment, that may be beyond their scope of interests. Materials are targeted to each child’s ability, and the programme incorporates a guided reading approach involving helpful guided questions for volunteers and children to discuss.

Improving a child’s confidence and inner motivation may not be an easy task, but with time and dedication, the programme has seen rewarding results. In the past years, more than 70% of participants showed an increase in confidence from observable behaviours across its centres, and more than half showed improvements in their reading age or reading levels. “Many of the children are motivated to come regularly. They want to learn more once they know they have improved,” says Magdalen.

Part of the programme’s success is due to its volunteer-driven model and close partnership with the local communities to identify those in need. Each child is matched one-on-one with a trained volunteer, who partners the child to work purposefully through the text and stories. Such exposure and engagement, says Magdalen, helps build confidence and increases their understanding of the different topics.

“With confidence in learning, even if you are a weaker student, you dare to approach someone older and not feel embarrassed. With inner confidence and motivation, you will find ways to help you improve,” she expresses.

With increased demand from the ground, Reading Odyssey is looking to scale its centres from seven to ten by 2021, and increase its reach by 50% to 180 children. Plans in the works include formalising its volunteer training, events to deepen a sense of its community and developing new games and testing tools to enhance the programme’s impact.

Ultimately, the goal is to offer an avenue for disadvantaged children to access opportunities beyond their personal circumstance. Magdalen expresses, “We want to do our part to use stories to help children ask questions and think about the wider world. When their motivation is innate, they can help themselves in the long run.”

Photos: SHINE Children & Youth Services

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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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News

Including the Excluded: Everyone Plays a Part

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John Doe
Standing man in blue shirt with wooden wall backdrop.

Through working and volunteering in the non-profit sector, I often meet people living in dire circumstances. I vividly remember one incident while distributing breakfast to families living in public rental units. Speaking in simple English, the mother thanked us profusely for the warm porridge and noodles – generously contributed by a donor – so the money saved could go towards their monthly transport.

Giving goes a long way. But recognising and acknowledging the realities of those in need may be just as important.

Speaking after the association’s annual general meeting at Kallang Netball Centre on Friday, Liang-Lin, a fund manager for a US$7 billion (S$9.5 billion) firm focused on green real estate investments in Asia, hopes to bring her expertise to the table and increase the amount of financial support for Singapore netball during her four-year term.

Look around the world and it is not hard to see how the unmet needs of marginalised groups can lead to tension and ruptures in the social fabric. In Singapore, social exclusion and by default, inclusion, has become a hot subject – not the least because of our incredibly diverse society, aging population and the widening inequality.

Responding to these challenges require us to think more deeply and tangibly about the ways we respond to the disenfranchised. I believe developing empathy and simply taking time to understand the challenges of others, will play a critical first step.

I was encouraged to see in a 2016 study of Singaporeans’ attitudes towards social inclusion, that many saw the importance of ‘celebrating diversity’ and making a greater effort to understand vulnerable groups; be it the disabled, the mentally ill, migrant workers or disadvantaged households. The message is clear: we all play a part in making Singapore more inclusive.

At the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), it is our mission to identify underserved needs – and then empower donors to give meaningfully to meet them. In this issue of Change Matters, I’m happy to share several developments that will enable you to contribute to a wide range of social causes.

You might have seen the recent news about the launch of the LIFT (Learning Initiatives for Employment) Community Impact Fund. LIFT supports programmes that provide vocational training, social support and suitable job placements in the open market for disadvantaged persons.  Through LIFT, you’ll be able to help people with disabilities, persons recovering from mental illnesses, disadvantaged women and youth-at-risk to make a better life.

We also highlight the incredible dedication of HOME (or the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics). Amidst the challenges, HOME has steadfastly championed the well-being of migrant workers in Singapore over the last decade. Learn about how your support to CFS’s Migrants Emergency Assistance and Support (MEANS) Fund helps HOME provide vital financial assistance in a migrant worker’s time of crisis.

With your continued support, I believe we can help to foster a sense of belonging and empathy towards those who have less, enabling them greater opportunities to participate meaningfully in our society.

Joseph Lua

Assistant Director

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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Events

Lunar New Year 2018 – Celebrating a decade of growing giving to impact

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John Doe
a man holding a microphone speaking

CFS’s 10th anniversary celebrations kicked off to a wonderful start with a Lunar New Year lunch on 1 March.

Themed “A decade of giving and gratitude”, the event was a testament to CFS’s journey from a quiet start-up a decade ago to a thriving organisation today.

Attended by some 120 donors, charities and partners, the room was filled with a spirited sense of bonding. In his opening speech, Chairman Laurence Lien reflected on CFS’s beginnings during the 2009 Global Financial Crisis when few prospects wanted to talk about philanthropy. “Surviving the first five years was an achievement,” he expressed, citing the setting up of the Outing for the Elderly Fund and the S R Nathan Education Upliftment fund as early endorsements of CFS’s capabilities.

Striking a poignant note in his last year as CFS’s Chairman, Laurence also left several memorable parting thoughts – from inviting donors to be part-owners of CFS to encouraging all to embrace collaboration through their own donor communities.

There were endless conversations in a convival atmosphere as old ties were renewed and new connections were made between donors and charities. In the spirit of collaboration, Deputy CEO Joyce Teo provided an update on Colabs – an initiative between CFS and NVPC announced a year ago.. Her speech shone a light on Colabs’ objective of tackling social issues by bringing together diverse players and signalled forthcoming initiatives focused on disadvantaged children and youth, persons with disabilities and seniors.

Rounding off the lunch, CEO Catherine Loh thanked donors for their trust in CFS, which has resulted in many donors embracing new and innovative approaches to philanthropy. She signalled CFS will focus on Collaboration, Legacy and Impact to tackle issues arising from a rapidly ageing population, technological disruptions and income inequality. To this end, CFS will build on its strong foundation to help even more donors experience the benefits of committed and sustained giving.

We look forward to the exciting months ahead as we continue to mark this milestone year and drive community philanthropy forward.

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