Stories Of Impact
#MyGivingJourney X Ivy Tse: Going the distance for youths 
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

#MyGivingJourney X Ivy Tse: Going the distance for youths 

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In our #MyGivingJourney series, CFS features extraordinary women in Singapore and their efforts in philanthropy. This story features Ivy Tse, CEO at Halogen Foundation Singapore.  

At 35, Ivy Tse must be one of the youngest CEOs around. But the unassuming head of Halogen Foundation Singapore quips that she is more a “Chief Everything Officer”. In a day, her job can take her from fundraising to building partnerships to staff development – or even tackling a problem with the office printer.  

A relatively small charity, Halogen runs on a team of about 21. Its mission is to transform the lives of disadvantaged young people through leadership, mentorship and entrepreneurship programmes. Ivy joined in 2012, when the team was about half its current size. And coming from global giant Procter & Gamble, she found she had to be a Jack of all trades in her new role organizing events at Halogen.  

“You have to be very resourceful. If there is an obstacle, you find a solution,” she says. “It was humbling.” People also questioned her decision to ditch a lucrative career path at P&G. “They said, it’s so hard to get in, why would you leave?” she recalls. Plus, there was the financial aspect: moving to the nonprofit sector meant taking a pay cut of a third.  

But the go-getter, who also describes herself as an idealist, was going through what youths now call a ‘quarter-life crisis’. She decided she wanted to immerse herself in work that counted. And she figured, “If it doesn’t work out, I can crawl back to the corporate sector and run twice as fast to make up for it!”  

Ten years on, the dynamic Ivy, who runs marathons in her spare time, shows no signs of slowing down. Nor any regrets building a career empowering young people. Seeing how Halogen’s dedicated volunteers and partners help shy, apprehensive teenagers gain access to the social capital and soft skills needed to thrive in a fast-evolving world has brought her a lot of gratification. The Foundation has created more resilient youngsters, reduced school dropout rates and developed leaders who have gone on to make a positive impact in their communities. 

Giving back has been a part of Ivy’s life since her school days. She chose CCAs that revolved around volunteer work such as Habitat for Humanity and Rotaract Club, while studying for a double degree in mechanical engineering and business at the National University of Singapore. She enjoyed hands-on volunteering but she also thrived on the organizational aspect of nonprofit work. And, she liked motivating people to participate in charitable causes and seeing them grow through that experience.  

“That’s what I get to do now at Halogen,” Ivy notes. Her job also sees her working with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) which helps donors and grant makers understand what nonprofits like Halogen do and matches them. For example, CFS linked up UBS with Halogen and the financial institution has helped fund Halogen’s Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship programme. 

Ultimately, what Ivy is most proud of is growing and building a team that is really passionate about youth development. Her advice for young people who are mulling a career in social services? “It can really challenge you. It’s almost like being an entrepreneur,” she says. “And it is rewarding in so many ways.” 

Begin your own journey of giving with CFS. Read other inspiring stories of #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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News

Media release: CFS launches community impact fund to raise marginalised groups’ participation in the workforce

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A woman expertly prepares coffee in a bustling coffee shop, showcasing her barista skills amidst the aromatic ambiance.
  • Partners with social enterprises and charities to concurrently provide WSQ*-certified vocational training and social support.
  • Targets for 60% of participants to attain sustained employment**.
Singapore, May 23, 2019 – The Community Foundation of Singapore (“CFS”) has launched a new community impact fund to address social exclusion from the country’s workforce. Called the LIFT – short for Learning Initiatives for Employment – Community Impact Fund, it will support programmes that provide vocational training for marginalised groups in Singapore and place them in jobs in the open market.

The programmes are targeted at four marginalised groups – persons with disabilities, persons recovering from mental illnesses, disadvantaged women and youth-at-risk. Its focus is on helping them navigate and overcome barriers to securing sustained employment. This is done through equipping and supporting them with both hard and soft skills for obtaining and maintaining jobs in the food and beverage industry. The programmes may be expanded to span more industries in the future.
“Marginalised groups have largely been excluded from the labour market because of various stereotypes, stigmas and prejudices. This often leads to economic and social vulnerability that follows them for life. We hope to pilot new pathways to help the vulnerable make a living, improve their self-esteem and become more involved in society,” said Joyce Teo, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at CFS. “LIFT meets this need in a holistic manner by concurrently providing participants with technical training, social support and job coaching to help them manage socio-emotional and financial stressors while they learn and work. Ultimately, the aim is to help them get and stay employed with the help of the community.”

The fund aims to support an initial 90 participants with a total of 12,600 hours of WSQ-certified vocational training (over a three month period per participant on average), as well as 5,400 hours of job matching, job placement and on-the-job coaching support. This works out to an average of 140 hours of vocational training and a further 60 hours of post-training support each. During the training phase, participants will also receive ongoing social support from charity partners to minimise or resolve family and/or other issues that may otherwise derail their learning.

Potential participants will first be identified and referred by IPC (Institute of a Public Character) charities, and then assessed in terms of attitude, aptitude as well as potential for employment. Successful candidates will then be trained by one of two social enterprises working alongside CFS as programme providers – Project Dignity will train participants for kitchen and service jobs while Bettr Barista will train participants to be baristas, and both will also provide job attachment opportunities during the training phase.

CFS aims for around 65% of participants to complete the training phase and for around 60% of graduates to be successfully placed into employment in open market conditions for at least three months – a milestone predictor of an individual’s ability to stay in sustained employment with regular income. To track the efficacy of the programmes, programme providers will, where possible, keep in touch with the participants for up to two years.

The establishment of the LIFT Community Impact Fund was catalysed by discussions that arose on the back of Colabs, an initiative by CFS and the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre that drives collaboration by bringing together the public, private and social sectors to learn and co-create solutions to tackle complex social issues in Singapore. Specifically, LIFT was sparked by talks with participants in a Colabs series that ran in the second half of 2017 and focused on persons with disabilities. The range of marginalised groups that stand to benefit from LIFT has been broadened to also include persons recovering from mental illnesses, disadvantaged women and youth-at-risk as there are considerable overlaps between these groups.

A guide providing practical ways to help persons with disabilities has been developed based on insights derived during the Colabs sessions. It outlines some of the challenges facing persons with disabilities, especially after they turn 18. These include the lack of employment options and opportunities for meaningful social interaction. It then suggests collaborative solutions targeted at three different levels – programme, organisation and sector. More details can be found on pages 9 to 14 of the guide, which can be downloaded here.

While an anchor donor has already been secured to seed the LIFT Community Impact Fund, CFS is looking to raise funds to cover the estimated S$528,000 required to support the programmes. Potential donors who wish to contribute to LIFT can visit Giving.sg or write to CFS at contactus@cf.org.sgfor more information.

CFS’s community impact funds help address unmet needs or under-supported causes in Singapore. Through collaborations with charity partners to identify gaps and co-develop programmes, these funds enable the disadvantaged to lead better lives with the support of the community at large. CFS currently has three other community impact funds – MEANS (Migrants Emergency Assistance and Support)Outing for Seniors and Safe Home.

(Photo: Bettr Barista)

* Workforce Skills Qualifications **For at least three months, a milestone predictor of an individual’s ability to stay in employment with regular income.

 

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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

CFS welcomes new Chairman Christine Ong, succeeding Laurence Lien

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Three individuals standing together in front of a screen, engaged in an activity or presentation.

(From left) Catherine Loh, Christine Ong and Laurence Lien.

The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) welcomes new Chairman Christine Ong on 1 April 2019, succeeding outgoing Chairman Laurence Lien. The handover was announced at the CFS Philanthropy Forum 2019 held on 18 March.

Signalling a new phase for CFS as the organisation looks to the future, Christine brings extensive experience spanning 30 years from the banking and finance industry, with key leadership positions in Citibank and UBS. She has long been involved in volunteering and mentoring in community regeneration, education and the arts. At UBS, she started a community affairs programme which raised $3 million to support various causes around the region including educating disadvantaged young people in East Java and saving children from being used as drug mules in the Mekong sub-region.

Christine is a current board member of Focus on the Family. She most recently served as Chairman of Arts House Limited and was previously on the board of The Esplanade Co Ltd (2015–2018).

Said Christine, “It is an honour for me to step into Laurence’s giant shoes at CFS. Laurence has not only built a successful organisation but his inclusive leadership has helped forge strong relationships with donors, partners and stakeholders.I am grateful for the opportunity to lead CFS which, over the years, has transformed how philanthropy is approached. As the organisation evolves to respond to an increasingly complex social landscape, I shall continue to build on the trust and meaningful relationships established between donors and charity partners to inspire even more giving and lead CFS into the next decade.”

Laurence was a founding director of CFS when it was launched in 2009, acting CEO from 2009–2013, and has served as its Chairman since 2013. He has been instrumental in introducing the concept of community philanthropy through donor advised funds to Singapore. He played a significant role in helping CFS grow to achieve 126 funds, raising over $134 million and disbursing over $71 million to over 400 charitable organisations in Singapore.

CFS CEO Catherine Loh remarked, “Under Laurence’s strategic leadership, CFS has grown tremendously and established itself as an organisation well-regarded for its community knowledge, professionalism and strategic approach to giving.”

Reflecting on his ten-year tenure at CFS, Laurence said, “When you start a venture in the non-profit sector, you don’t own anything. The rewards are not material but instead a personal satisfaction that comes from knowing you made a difference.”

He cited CFS’s phenomenal four-fold growth in 2018 as a fitting time for his departure, “CFS is really at an inflection point and it is a good time to leave on a high note. I am confident that with a good board and team already in place, and an experienced hand taking over as Chair, CFS will grow from strength to strength, and become a landmark in Singapore’s giving landscape.”

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

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

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Opinion

Creating social impact through philanthropy

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Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has likely changed your life on a daily basis. Though the pandemic has affected everyone, it hasn’t done so equally – the situations of the most vulnerable groups have been severely aggravated and awareness of our society’s fault lines and underserved needs have been heightened. But, if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the tremendous power of common people working together to achieve a unified goal.  

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News

The Straits Times: New youth collective to level playing field for disadvantaged young

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Two people seated at a table with a 'City of Good' sign in the background.

By Seow Bei Yi

SINGAPORE – To help youth from disadvantaged backgrounds transition from school into the work environment, a new year-long programme will be launched this year to offer them workshops and vocational training.

Dubbed the “youth collective”, the initiative comes after a series of discussions involving 56 groups in the social service sector concluded that while education can help bridge social gaps, not every youth can fully tap its benefits.

Led by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) and the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), the discussants found that economic, social and cultural differences contribute to a greater variance in academic performance among Singaporean students, compared to elsewhere.

The social gap may hence widen if disadvantaged youth here are not further helped, CFS and NVPC said.

Participants deliberated over the multiple challenges that disadvantaged youth face, with parents tending to work long hours or on shifts.

This leaves them little time to attend to their children’s learning needs, while the children often shoulder more adult responsibilities. It can result in poorer literacy and academic performance, and may lead to psychological issues such as depression and other conditions, CFS and NVPC said.

Contributing to the youth collective are a multi-national corporation, a Singapore firm, non-profit groups and researchers, CFS deputy chief executive officer Joyce Teo said yesterday. More details will be available when the project is launched later this year.

CFS and NVPC also released yesterday a 17-page guide on closing the gap for disadvantaged youth.

The youth collective is an early initiative sparked by Colabs, a series of discussions beginning last year that gathers disparate stakeholders across the social service sector to exchange ideas, including philanthropists, businesses, non-profit groups and sector experts. Colabs is led and funded by CFS and NVPC.

Explaining the need for it, NVPC Director of Strategic Partnership Darrel Lim said that, among other things, these discussions are designed to “uncover gaps in the current system and collectively devise ways to plug these gaps”.

“The challenge lies in what we call ‘wicked problems’, or very complex problems, that don’t lend themselves very well to any single party’s intervention. The only way to solve them is to bring together various parties and look at how we are working currently to serve beneficiaries, what are some of the problems that still exist, and why they exist despite everybody’s work,” he said.

Besides obtaining inputs from experts, beneficiaries and donors, the Colabs process involved a field trip and a poverty simulation exercise.

Following this first Colabs series, a second one ending in May looked at how to help those with disabilities. A third will focus on seniors. Spin-off projects from these series are likely to be announced later.

“There is information out there, but it is disparate,” said Ms Teo. “What we try to do is eventually distil that and say, there is something that we can do, and how can we go about doing it.”

“Collaboration is the way forward as the scale, scope and complexity of social issues today make it impossible for a single player or the Government to solve alone,” she added. Read more

Read the Colabs media release here.

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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”。

Picture of admin bluecube
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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.

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