Stories Of Impact
#MyGivingJourney x Stefanie Yuen Thio: Maximising impact with her purpose-driven philanthropy 
wavy line banner

Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

#MyGivingJourney x Stefanie Yuen Thio: Maximising impact with her purpose-driven philanthropy 

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
portrait of stefanie

#MyGivingJourney is a series where CFS features extraordinary women in Singapore and their efforts in philanthropy. This story features Stefanie Yuen Thio, Joint Managing Partner, TSMP Law Corporation and Board of Director at CFS. 

When COVID-19 first hit in early 2020, Stefanie Yuen Thio was appalled that healthcare workers had trouble getting a taxi or a Grab. It didn’t seem fair: front liners in our fight against the pandemic were shunned because people were afraid, they would transmit the virus. So Stefanie decided to do something about it.  

Through her family’s #GivingBack Foundation, she donated $20,000 to start the Sayang Sayang Fund (SSF). One of the fund’s first initiatives was to give out taxi vouchers to nurses and hospital staff. SSF has since ballooned to over $9.6 million thanks to the generosity of Singaporeans and financially helped close to 360,000 people hard hit by the pandemic. But the outreach that remains closest to Stefanie’s heart is helping weary essential workers get a ride home.   

SSF is one of several community impact funds under the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), designed to tackle unmet needs on the ground. Stefanie’s #GivingBack Foundation, meanwhile, is one of a growing number of personal foundations that CFS has facilitated. “CFS provides a guiding hand to people starting on their journey of giving, or those who want to be more purposeful and effective in their donations,” notes Stefanie, who is joint managing partner at TSMP Law Corporation.  

Stefanie chose CFS as it is a cause-neutral, one-stop philanthropy advisory platform. It can set up funds quickly and cost-effectively. It works with over 400 registered charities in Singapore and can enlighten and match donors with the causes they are most passionate about — as well as highlight charities that have the greatest needs. Moreover, it conducts due diligence, which builds trust in giving. As Stefanie sees it, “CFS helps donors to structure their giving for maximum impact and sustainability.”  

The #GivingBack Foundation has centred on children, the elderly and foreign workers. Among the charities, it has funded is Smile Asia, which provides free cleft operations to disadvantaged children in the region. And while Stefanie donates a tenth of her income to charity and the church, she believes writing a cheque is not the only way to contribute. 

She makes an effort to volunteer in person and has involved her son Jonathan from an early age. When he was in primary school, she brought him along on all of her law firm’s charity events. This included learning to cook with intellectually disabled kids and a day out at the Outward Bound School with boys from Boys’ Town. When he was 15, Jonathan accompanied her on a trip to Uzbekistan to serve on a Smile Asia trip. “Now that he’s older, we involve him in discussions on how to allocate funds from the foundation,” she adds. 

Exposing the next generation to philanthropy early will help institutionalise giving, making it less ad hoc and more strategic, she believes. “I would like giving to be a default. So that the question of “can I afford to give?” or “why should I donate when I already pay taxes?” is no longer a legitimate response,” she says.  

She is already seeing this in Singapore. “It’s in the young people. They may not yet have built up a hefty bank balance but they give their time and with their hearts. I see it in older folks who want to leave some of their assets to charity when they pass because they are thinking about their legacy. And for the others, they want to invest in a better world for their children.”   

Begin your own journey of giving with CFS. Read more 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. 

Picture of admin bluecube
admin bluecube

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.

Opinion

Our Annual Report 2023 is now available for download

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
CFS Annual Report 2023

We are excited to share the release of the Community Foundation of Singapore’s (CFS) Annual Report for 2023.

With the overarching theme of ‘Creating a Better Tomorrow Together’, the report highlights the work done to inspire and facilitate strategic giving to benefit our local community. We showcase the enhancements we have made to our service offerings, governance standards, and operational efficiencies over the past year. It stands as a testament to CFS’s unwavering commitment to proactively identify and address emerging community needs, and our experience and expertise that enables us to drive tangible impact.

Here are some key highlights from the Annual Report 2023:

A Year of Steady Progress:

Against a backdrop of slower economic growth in 2022, donations remained high and our rolling three-year average continued on an upward trend. Our community of dedicated philanthropists continued to grow. Through strategic partnerships with corporations such as Accenture, Endowus, and other institutions, we harnessed a wealth of expertise to amplify our impact. 

The past year marked a significant milestone, with 47 new donors establishing 27 Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs). Their generous contributions allowed us to allocate $16.8 million in grants to 212 organisations spanning diverse causes, demonstrating the incredible power of collective giving.

In collaboration with the Agency of Integrated Care (AIC), we launched the FUN! Fund, a community impact fund focused on improving the well-being and happiness of our seniors through innovative programmes designed to infuse fun into their lives.

Making a Greater Impact:

In 2022, CFS took significant strides towards ensuring outcome-driven grantmaking. Our grant framework now places a strong emphasis on measurable change, ensuring greater impact for both our donors and charity partners.

Throughout the year, CFS’ Centre for Applied Philanthropy (CAP) played a pivotal role in fostering collaboration across public, private, and community sectors to address complex social challenges. This collaborative approach will gain even more momentum in 2023.

With sustainability advocacy being one of our key focal areas, we strengthened our ESG framework. This involved aligning our programmes with the United Nations’ Social Development Goals, a move that underscores our commitment to making a lasting positive impact.

The potential of philanthropy lies in its capacity to bring about enduring, positive change. As we look back on the year and observe the significant impact made possible by the support of our donors, we find inspiration to continue our efforts. Our grants have helped to improve the lives of many, including refugees seeking to rebuild their lives, youths in need of mental resilience, disadvantaged students receiving evidence-based after-school tutoring, dementia patients receiving specialised care, marginalised job seekers receiving coaching and training, and nurturing the next generation of climate champions. 

Connect with Us: 

CFS is deeply committed to advancing strategic philanthropy, and positioning Singapore as Asia’s philanthropy hub. To achieve this, we actively serve as an Enabler, Steward, Convener, and Advocate.

We are eager to connect and collaborate with donors, charities, partners, and sector leaders to build a more compassionate, caring, and inclusive Singapore. To learn more about CFS or join us on our mission, we welcome you to get in touch.

For an in-depth exploration of the year’s milestones and the impact of our contributions to the community, click here to download your copy.

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”。

Picture of admin bluecube
admin bluecube

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.

News

社区基金会让善款发挥更大爱

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
portrait of CFS CEO Catherine Loh

随着出生率不断下降和人口老龄化,慈善事业下来可更专注在老人方面。

新加坡社区基金会(The Community Foundation of Singapore,简称CFS)总裁罗佩仪告诉《联合早报》,政府虽然负责照顾老人的基本需求,但公众可协助提升老人的生活素质,维护他们尊严,让他们在暮年,可以过得更有意义和活跃。

“在教育方面,除了孩童和青少年,受日新月异的科技影响、必须重新受训的成人学生,也应该获得额外支援。”

罗佩仪说,CFS有13年管理基金的经验,致力于确保有高水平的透明度和治理,好让捐款者有信心,知道他们的基金能协助和满足社会现有和未来的变更需求。

她指出,CFS与个人捐款者和慈善机构合作,加强各种慈善事业。

“到CFS的个人、家庭和企业,都希望能支持新加坡的慈善事业,发挥影响力。我们能协助捐款者通过一个有组织和战略性的形式,达到他们的慈善目标。”

过去13年来,捐献者的基金支持性质和规模不一的慈善机构,包括医疗和福利项目,以及教育学府等。

她坦言,一些人虽然知道CFS,但CFS也意识到需要更多信息,协助个人作出知情决定。

为了提高人们的认识,CFS积极向律师和金融专员和顾问介绍“捐献者指示基金”(Donor Advised Funds,简称DAF),让他们考虑将DAF当成客户规划慈善事业的工具之一。

她说,像律师和金融顾问这类提供咨询服务的人,可以为准备捐款的客户提供选项,包括直接捐助特定慈善机构,或通过DAF支持有需要的社区。

“我们因此希望专业咨询顾问与客户谈论财富规划时,也能把慈善列为其中的项目。”罗佩仪说,去年冠病疫情期间,国人鼎力支持慈善,包括不幸者、教育、健康医疗等项目。”

她以因应疫情推出的Sayang Sayang Fund为例说,有超过5185人和企业捐出超过900万元,受益者有13万6000人左右。

“国人慷慨解囊,真的鼓舞人心。作为立场中立、获公益机构(IPC)资格的慈善机构,CFS致力于加强不同社群的生活素质。”

去年4月至7月,全国志愿服务与慈善中心(NVPC)和CFS通过调查公司Toluna展开的调查显示,每10人中有六人认同人人都可以作出遗赠。

她指出,除了全国慈善遗产捐赠(legacy giving)计划,以及CFS本身的“伟大捐赠”(A Greater Gift)运动,CFS专注于提高遗赠的意识,以及捐献慈善机构的价值。

她说,CFS下来将推动捐献的各种方法,并鼓励人们多谈论遗赠和慈善事业,“不论是在餐桌或办公室”。

另外,2021年是“欢庆新加坡女性年”(Year of Celebrating SG Women),推动性别平等与促进女性发展。

罗佩说,CFS将侧重表扬参与慈善事业的女性,不论是捐款者、决策者、董事成员和义工。

以已故总统纳丹的名字命名的“纳丹教育提升基金”今年成立10周年,至今累积逾1000万元资金。这个捐赠基金已发放超过370万元,通过助学金、奖学金,以及各项经济援助计划,支持工艺教育局和高等教育学府的贫困学生顺利升学。

前总统纳丹是在2011年同新加坡社区基金会合作成立这个基金。纳丹同年卸任总统,2016年逝世,享年92岁。

纳丹教育提升基金属于“捐献者指示基金”(DAF),由CFS负责管理。该基金开放让公众捐款。纳丹生前委任一个拨款咨询委员会,负责就基金可支持的项目提供建议。这些年来,委员会的成员不时更新。

纳丹教育提升基金拨款咨询委员会主席陈育宠受询时说,前总统纳丹乐善不倦,他的一生体现出慷慨助人、关怀,以及奉献的精神。“纳丹出身贫寒家境,向来体恤和关怀社会上的弱势群体。”

陈育宠指出,纳丹生前深信教育对促进社会平等扮演重要角色,能赋予弱势家庭的孩子改善自己和家人生活的机会。

基金起初援助的项目包括四个自助团体的教育援助计划,为印度人发展协会、华社自助理事会、回教社会发展理事会,以及欧亚人协会的受益学生提供援助。多年下来,基金也支持包括工艺教育局、南洋理工学院、共和理工学院,以及新跃社科大学、新加坡国立大学和南洋理工大学等学府。

基金去年就为工教局拨款超过40万元,支持的项目包括面向弱势学生的经济援助计划,通过每月发放津贴,减轻这些学生的交通及生活费负担。

至于跃大,基金在2019年拨款为该大学设立“纳丹教育津贴”(S R Nathan Study Grant),给修读部分时间课程的跃大生提供经济援助。这些学生一般先完成工教院和理工院课程后才报读跃大,升学道路较为曲折。

陈育宠说,社会各阶层人士深受纳丹的启发,不少人慷慨解囊捐钱给纳丹教育提升基金。“我们希望纳丹教育提升基金可作为规划遗产捐赠的一个典范。”

已故家庭科医生林文忠生前时常免费为贫困病人看诊。为纪念他乐善好施的精神,家人从他的遗产拨款2400万元设立慈善基金会,援助年长及末期病人,也资助癌症研究。

林文忠是一名敬业乐业的家庭科医生。他在70多岁时被诊断患上前列腺癌,坚持行医至80岁才退休。林文忠晚年笃信天主教。他于2002年逝世,享年84岁。

新加坡社区基金会受询时说,林文忠生前多年的行医经验,以及他晚年患病的经历,促使他生前非常希望能援助弱势年长者及泌尿科疾病患者。

据林文忠的女儿林春娘透露,她的祖父生前也患前列腺疾病,父亲当年对祖父的病情爱莫能助,为此感到懊恼,当父亲患病后,更希望尽一己之力,推展泌尿科癌症方面的研究,以造福癌症患者。

林文忠两个女儿林春娘和林素真按照他的遗愿,于2018年咨询CFS,以父亲的名义设立基金,支持父亲生前关心的慈善和医疗研究项目。林文忠医生基金会也是“捐献者指示基金”,由CFS负责管理。基金会并不开放让公众捐款。

CFS指出,林春娘和林素真对父亲希望这个基金能发挥怎么样的社会影响力有清楚的概念,CFS提供专业咨询协助她们设立基金会,并建议基金会可资助的项目。


新加坡国立大学医院的“林文忠医生泌尿科癌症研究”是其中一个受益的项目。林文忠医生基金会捐赠700万元资助这个项目进行临床试验研究,以提升泌尿科癌症患者的护理及医疗水平。

经营三家疗养院的天主教福利协会(Catholic Welfare Services)获基金会捐赠800万元,作为提升其疗养院设施和运作的经费,让院内年长住户受惠。

此外,基金会也捐赠800万元资助雅西西慈怀病院(Assisi Hospice),帮助该病院拥有16个床位的圣迈克病房减轻提供住院护理方面的开销,让有需要的末期病患获得慈怀护理。

信用:联合早报©新加坡报业控股有限公司。复制需要许可

Picture of admin bluecube
admin bluecube

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.

Events

CFS Philanthropy Forum 2019: Looking to the future of community philanthropy

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
A diverse crowd attentively observes a conference presentation, engrossed in the speaker's discourse.

At the CFS Philanthropy Forum 2019 held on 18 March, over 100 guests – including donors, charities and partners – gathered to hear from leaders and experts on what lies ahead for community philanthropy.

Headlining the evening was keynote speaker Eileen Heisman, President and CEO of National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), the largest independent donor advised fund (DAF) administrator in the United States. In her dynamic speech, Eileen – a founding member of CFS’s international advisory committee – shared NPT’s amazing journey to raising more than US$13 billion in charitable contributions, and encouraged all in attendance to rise to the challenge of taking local philanthropy to new heights.

Following her speech, Eileen was joined by Dr June Lee, Honorary Research Fellow, Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy (ACSEP) at the National University of Singapore, and moderator Laurence Lien, Chairman of CFS, in an engaging panel discussion on how DAFs enable smarter, better giving by helping donors give more thought to the purpose of their charitable dollars.

Referring to how DAFs are gaining rising interest in Asia, Eileen commented, “A lot of people have chosen donor advised funds because they want something that’s easy, turnkey, relatively inexpensive and can be adapted to changing interests. Donors have many different types of philanthropic goals, so with a DAF, they can shape the fund according to their preferences and they can change their giving focuses over time.”

June noted DAFs offered specific advantages for families looking to give. “In a recent research paper published by ACSEP, we found that one of the biggest question families ask is ‘how do we engage family members in our giving?’” Setting up a DAF allows a founder to set aside funds for philanthropy without burdening his or her children financially, she adds, while also allowing flexibility down the line when a founder’s children wish to pursue to a different charitable cause from their parents.

Remarking on the opportunities ahead for community philanthropy, Eileen cited the growth of two major trends: micro donor advised funds targeting millennials, and new services enabling direct payroll deductions into donor advised funds. “These trends will change the face of donor advised funds as we go forward,” she said.

She challenged CFS to tap on these wider trends to expand its offerings, “As someone who’s very much invested in CFS’s success, I would like to see CFS be creative and thoughtful about expanding the horizon for donors and the community of Singapore to express their philanthropy in different and new ways.”

In his closing remarks, Laurence commented, “It’s clear DAFs are a trend that can’t be turned back. DAFs are there for us to use, to promote, and the only direction is up.”

The evening ended on a poignant note as CFS announced the handover of its chairmanship from Laurence to Christine Ong who takes over as Chairman on 1 April.

Indeed, CFS has come full circle and we are so grateful for the guidance, trust and support we have received over the last decade.

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”。

Picture of admin bluecube
admin bluecube

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

UBS Diversity in Abilities Concert – Celebrating the talents of children with special needs

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
Children dressed in bright costumes holding props while performing on stage

A joint initiative by UBS AG and the Community Foundation of Singapore, Diversity in Abilities is a stage production and art exhibition showcase to bring performing and visual arts lessons to special education schools in Singapore.

The aim was to motivate and inspire children with special needs to learn new skills and inculcate new hobbies through the arts. With the help of trained artists, students took a 16-week journey of learning and discovery of talents and achievements in film, music, dance, drama and visual arts.

These kids were then invited to showcase their talents at an exhibition and concert, performing together with children of UBS employees. At the event, UBS employees also got involved as make-up artists, receptionists, ushers and auctioneers.

“UBS has been in Singapore for nearly 40 years and our community investments focus on education and entrepreneurship. The Diversity in Abilities arts programme is one such initiative. We hope that through our investment in these various initiatives, we can make a contribution to the success of Singapore as a community.” said Edmund Koh, Singapore Country Head and Asia Pacific Head of Wealth Management, UBS.

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”。

Picture of admin bluecube
admin bluecube

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.

Trending Stories

Scroll to Top