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#MyGivingJourney X Ravina Kirpalani: Taking family philanthropy to new heights
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

#MyGivingJourney X Ravina Kirpalani: Taking family philanthropy to new heights

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CFS launched the #MyGivingJourney series, which features extraordinary women in Singapore and their efforts in philanthropy. Our second story features Ravina Kirpalani, Head of Philanthropy at the Enpee Group Foundation, board member of Beyond Social Services and volunteer at HCA Hospice Care. 

Mention hospice and most people picture the atmosphere to be heavy or depressing. Instead, it is the exact opposite, says Ravina Kirpalani. Ravina has been volunteering at HCA Hospice Care for over 11 years and rates it as one of the most rewarding experiences in her giving journey.   

“I have learnt so much from the patients through their positive attitudes, amazing sense of acceptance and loving interactions. They have a zest for life and want to enjoy whatever time they have left,” she says. “The staff are also wonderful and caring and I leave each volunteer session so much fuller and more joyful than I did when I walked in.” 

Spending time with the terminally ill is just one of the many causes Ravina has embraced. As head of philanthropy at the Enpee Group Foundation, she oversees its community work, which stretches from Africa to India and Southeast Asia. The Enpee Group was founded in 1961 by Ravina’s father-in-law in Nigeria and has grown into a $300 million conglomerate.  

The Foundation kicked off in 2001 with community initiatives in Nigeria and India, where the group’s manufacturing plants are located. It also collaborates with charities such as the Tulsi Chanrai Foundation which does extensive work in healthcare, through its Mission for Vision, Mission for Primary Health and Mission for Water programmes in Nigeria. 

In Singapore, the Foundation supports several educational initiatives. It funds scholarships and bursaries at the National University of Singapore in the areas of solar energy research, environmental studies and medicine. It has also begun sponsoring 10 students who are studying for their nursing certificates at the Institute of Technical Education. And in 2021, it set up a scholarship for three students to complete their BSc in Nursing practice. The Foundation also grants aid to outstanding individuals from India and Nigeria to study for a Masters in Public Administration at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP). 

To further deepen their philanthropic giving in Singapore, Ravina and her husband Sanjay set up a Donor-Advised Fund with CFS in 2020. This supports smaller charities including the Reading Odyssey programme by Shine Children and Youth Services, which focuses on children from disadvantaged backgrounds with learning difficulties, the Kids Excel enrichment programme run by Catch them Young at partner schools which targets disengaged primary students from needy families, and the Family Justice Support Scheme by Law Society Pro bono Services. 

“Education and healthcare are our primary focus because of the ripple effect,” says Ravina. Thanks to the Foundation’s assistance, a student who lost his father to brain cancer when he was just five years old was able to go to medical school and become a doctor. The Foundation is also working with one of the six LKYSPP alumni that it has helped to date on an adolescent health initiative in Nigeria. Aside from this, Ravina finds time to contribute to Beyond Social Services, a charity that helps youths from less privileged backgrounds break away from the poverty cycle.  

For Ravina, giving back is an integral part of her family legacy. Growing up in Hong Kong, she saw how her mum volunteered at various charities such as the Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital.  Her mum was also an active member of the Hong Kong Indian Women’s Club, where she did welfare work for the elderly and orphans. Ravina, who now lives in Singapore, is building on that tradition and taking the family’s philanthropy to new heights. 

Begin your own journey of giving with CFS. Read more about #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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New office for S’poreans to partner the Government and give ideas

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CFS is pleased to be a part of Forward SG, as we build our shared future, together.

We know that collective effort – through financial support, knowledge-sharing, and community collaboration – is the bedrock of a stronger, more inclusive society.

As part of the Forward SG movement, CFS will rev up our mission to forge stronger connections between generous donors and local communities, inspiring those who’ve thrived to give back, create a positive ripple effect in our community – and strengthen our social compact.

Donations will be channelled to where they’re needed most, paving the way for enduring, meaningful change. Read the news below to learn more about the latest Forward SG updates.

To spur civic participation, a new office will be set up to create more space for Singaporeans to work with the Government.

The Singapore Government Partnerships Office, one of the recommendations of the Forward Singapore report, will lead national efforts to engage citizens who want to contribute, by facilitating interactions between them and relevant government agencies.

The office is part of a broader shift to empower people to take individual and collective actions, in the hope that building a shared future will foster unity.

“We recognise that there are some areas where it may be better for the Government to step back and allow more space for citizen participation,” said the report. 

“We will therefore introduce new ways to promote civic participation. We will also support more ground-up efforts by Singaporeans to shape and improve their communities.”

The Government will actively seek input and work closely with all stakeholders and partners, said the report prepared by the fourth-generation political leaders led by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong.

Besides creating more avenues for civic participation and ground-up efforts, the report also sketched out ways to nurture a stronger culture of giving and for people to support their fellow Singaporeans.

The recommendations follow the 16-month-long Forward Singapore exercise that saw more than 200,000 Singaporeans contribute their suggestions. 

At a press conference on Friday, Mr Wong said: “This is more than just an engagement exercise. It’s really a partnership effort… between Government, people, community groups, employers, businesses, (it) encompasses our tripartite partnership.

“It’s really a whole-of-Singapore partnership, and that’s the only way that we can implement these big moves and these big shifts together.”

Ultimately, the aim is to build a vibrant, thriving and resilient society where the broad middle enjoys progress, the vulnerable receive care, and the better-off do their part to improve the lives of fellow citizens, said the report.

“We ask that Singaporeans step forward to give back to our society, especially those who have done well and benefited from the system,” it added. 

This could be through financial donations, contributing knowledge, or working with community organisations. 

To this end, a new programme will be introduced to better connect donors to local communities and channel donations to where they are needed over a sustained period.

This will be done in collaboration with the Community Foundation of Singapore and Community Chest.

For example, a donor could support the educational needs of children from several lower-income families not just financially, but also in the areas of mentorship, internship and job opportunities, to help build their social capital and networks.

Businesses can also do more for the wider community, said the report.

It held up business leaders-turned-philanthropists such as Hajjah Fatimah, who donated land to build the Hajjah Fatimah Mosque, Govindasamy Pillai who set up the Ramakrishna Mission charity, and Tan Tock Seng, who donated money towards the building of what became Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

To guide companies in designing business practices and operations that can benefit society, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre has set up the new Company of Good strategy, and 55 companies have adopted this corporate purpose framework.

Young people can give their views on policies through youth panels that were launched in May. These panels will look into financial security, careers and lifelong learning, digital well-being, and environment and sustainability. 

Mr Wong said some of the top issues for youth that surfaced during the Forward SG exercise were jobs and career choices, mental wellness and sustainability.

“There was a very strong sense of wanting to give back and support others who are less fortunate,” he said, adding that a group of young people worked closely with the Ministry of Social and Family Development team to come up with recommendations to uplift lower-income families.

Another aspect of fostering unity involves strengthening multiracialism and the Singaporean identity, said the report, adding that the Government will do its part by continuing to expand spaces for more interactions between different groups. 

More will be done to promote collaborations between the various self-help groups, and to encourage more Singaporeans to be involved in racial harmony programmes in the community, said the report.

It noted that sustained effort to sensitively manage the difficult issues on race and to create shared experiences through school, and community and national events, has allowed Singapore to enjoy several decades of racial and religious harmony.

“But we must have the humility to acknowledge that our multiracialism is still a work in progress,” it said.

Even as more avenues will be provided for people to contribute ideas, the report said, not all ideas can be accepted and, sometimes, there may be differing views on how to achieve an outcome.

In such cases, the Government will explain its considerations, and take the “practical and pragmatic” approach by looking at data and evidence and considering the circumstances and context before deciding on a way forward.

“Such differences are not so fundamental because our ends are the same, and it is a matter of working out the best approach to take,” said the report.

From Friday to Sunday, Singaporeans will be able to learn more about the initiatives in the report at the Forward Singapore Festival at Silver Garden – Silver Leaf at Gardens by the Bay. After this, the festival roadshow will make its way to various heartland locations until Jan 28, 2024.

There will be exhibition booths on the key policy shifts highlighted in the report, an interactive booth where people can create their own avatars to discover what the shared future holds, and a holographic booth where they can make pledges for Singapore.

Read more about the Forward Singapore report.

 

Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media 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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Law firm Rajah & Tann donates $225k to ST School Pocket Money Fund and Dementia Singapore

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(From left) Dementia Singapore’s chief executive Jason Foo, ST Singapore editor Zakir Hussain, Community Foundation of Singapore chief executive Catherine Loh, R&T managing partner Patrick Ang and R&T Foundation chairperson Rebecca Chew.

Law firm Rajah & Tann (R&T) has contributed $225,000 to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF).

The donation was part of the firm’s 45th anniversary celebration on Thursday (May 5) at the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, where it also gave $225,000 to charity Dementia Singapore.

Mr Zakir Hussain, a board trustee of STSPMF and ST’s Singapore editor, and Dementia Singapore chief executive Jason Foo jointly received a cheque from R&T managing partner Patrick Ang and Rajah & Tann Foundation chairman Rebecca Chew.

Mr Ang said: “The spirit of caring and giving back to society is part of R&T’s DNA, which we inherited from our founders T. T. Rajah and Tann Wee Tiong.”

A commemorative book about Rajah & Tann titled Duty of Care+ was also unveiled during the celebration on Thursday.

Written by former ST senior writer Cheong Suk-Wai, the book traces the law firm’s growth from its beginnings as a two-man partnership to the regional firm it is today.

“The Rajah & Tann story is essentially about how a group of talented lawyers came together to build a top-rated indigenous Singapore law firm, while holding fast to the principle of excellence with heart in the way they practised law and cared for others,” said Mr Ang.

Among Rajah & Tann’s notable alumni are T.T. Rajah’s son V. K. Rajah, who was Attorney-General from 2014 to 2017 and a former Judge of Appeal; Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon; former Attorney-General and current Judge of Appeal Justice Steven Chong; and current Judge of the Appellate Division Justice Quentin Loh.

STSPMF general manager Tan Bee Heong said the fund gave out almost $9 million to help more than 12,000 beneficiaries last year.

“This donation will help us continue our work in providing thousands of students from low-income families with school pocket money for meals and other schooling needs,” she added.

The STSPMF was started in 2000 as a community project by ST to help children from low-income families.

It has given out nearly $90 million to date and has helped more than 200,000 beneficiaries.

This article was originally published in The Straits Times hereSource: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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Our Annual Report 2022 is now available for download

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We are proud to announce that the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) Annual Report 2022 has been published.

Download your copy here to learn more about the year’s highlights and our impact on the community.

Amid continued disruption from COVID-19 and the uneven recovery that followed, we took transformative action to push forward with our donors, charities and partners. We saw a record number of new funds and unprecedented donor generosity. Together, our grantmaking supported the immediate and emergent needs of our beneficiaries and partners.

For the financial year ended 31 March 2022, CFS received a record of $46.6 million in donations. We welcomed 37 givers to our community through the establishment of 24 new donor-advised funds (DAFs). $18.3 million in grants was made to 240 organisations and 14 individuals during the financial year.

The Annual Report contains the following information:

  • Corporate Information
  • Growth in Recent Years
  • Impact Highlights and Transformation
  • Corporate Sustainability
  • Forward Vision
  • Governance and Policies
  • Financial Statements
  • Grantees List

CFS is committed to working with donors, charities, partners and various sector leaders in the ecosystem to build a more vibrant, inclusive and caring Singapore. To find out more about CFS, get in touch with us.

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The Straits Times: Philip Yeo biography raises more than $500k for charity

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“More than half a million dollars have been raised for charity in conjunction with the launch of former senior bureaucrat Philip Yeo’s biography, Neither Civil Nor Servant.

The funds collected by the Economic Development Innovations Singapore (EDIS) – which Mr Yeo chairs – will go towards helping underprivileged children, via the company’s corporate social responsibility arm, EDIS Cares.

The monies will enable EDIS Cares to expand its programmes in Singapore to reach a targeted 300 children over the next three years, EDIS said yesterday.

The EDIS Cares fund is administered by the Community Foundation of Singapore.”
Read more here.

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