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

Stories Of Impact

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

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portrait of trina liang-lin

#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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938Now: Night Chat with Susan Ng

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A group of people sitting at a desk with microphones and computers.

(From 938Now’s Facebook post on 23 October 2018):

Join us on #NightChatWithSusanNg from 9pm-10pm

Leading our conversation tonight – the work of the Community Foundation of Singapore. Their vision is to inspire giving. And they do this by partnering donors and charities to enhance giving in Singapore.

Catherine Loh, Chief Executive Officer, Community Foundation of Singapore tells us more about the work they’ve done over the last 10 years and how they’ve encouraged philanthropy in Singapore.

Ten years after Lim Wei-Jen founded his wealth management company Liontrust, he started the Liontrust Charity Fund with the Community Foundation of Singapore. This was his personal long-term goal – to give back to the community when the company started doing well. Managing Director Ashley Ong also believes in helping people, a value that is important to the company.

Liontrust supports charities focusing on children from disadvantaged backgrounds and with special needs. https://liontrust.com.sg/

Community Foundation of Singapore is a registered charity with Institution of Public Character status. For more information visit www.cf.org.sg.

Encore broadcast of the interview will be on Saturday 27 October 2018, 9–10pm.

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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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Stories Of Impact

Life after winning the 2020 Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award: Natalie Koh’s pursuit of a career in musical excellence

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John Doe
a woman playing a violin

Winning the Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award in 2020 was a pleasant surprise for talented violinist Natalie Koh, who was not usually recognised for her solo performances and had to prepare for the Award’s audition just after last year’s circuit breaker without any formal instruction.

“I am deeply honoured to have received the Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award in 2020. Violin playing has always been something that I am very passionate about, although my growth and achievements have not always been a given,” says Natalie. 

“A lot of conscientious and diligent work was put into moulding myself into the musician that I am currently and that I am proud to be.”

Since then, the budding musician has kept herself busy and forged determinedly ahead in her musical career. These included performing in digital concert recordings, teaching the violin at Forte Musicademy as a private violin teacher, and engaging with the special needs community through various community art activities.

Apart from keeping a hectic schedule as a performer, Natalie also spends much time imparting her love of music to the next generation of budding musicians — serving as a Teaching Assistant in her Alma Mater, the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, and as an Assistant Director for classical music concert recordings and productions by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, alongside other local organisations.

The promising young musician was also able to present her solo recital at the Awards, for which she was extremely excited and thankful for, as her graduation recital was put off last year due to the pandemic’s restrictions. “Overall, I would say that my recital was a success, and I hope that I fared well as a representative on behalf of the Award and the music community,” Natalie recalls with pride.

The Award’s prize money has enabled Natalie to realise her dreams of going overseas to attain a Master’s in Violin Performance, which will broaden her horizons as a performing violinist, music educator and community artist. She hopes to take the experience and knowledge gained from the two years abroad and expand her musical practice upon her return to Singapore.

Natalie recognises that living and studying in Chicago will prove to be expensive, but with the $10,000 award money, she will be able to defray some of her living costs. With the reduced financial burden, the young musician will be able to focus on learning to the fullest of her abilities in the States.

The Goh Soon Tioe Award has supported yet another promising young musician in paving her way to a brighter future towards a career in music, and adding another valuable gem to the flourishing music scene in Singapore.

“I am deeply thankful for the recognition and the support from the Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award and the Community Foundation of Singapore. This Award has raised my profile as an emerging musician in Singapore, and I sincerely hope that I can be one to shape and grow the classical music scene in Singapore,” says Natalie.

Read and learn more about Natalie’s first steps into music and how she grew to become the talented musician that she is here.

If you would like to contribute towards the arts or support causes that you are passionate about, please visit our website at https://www.cf.org.sg/

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Stories Of Impact

KidsExcel – Leaving no child behind

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John Doe
a group of children in a classroom

At a time when after school tuition and enrichment programmes have become the new norm, children from less affluent backgrounds are increasingly disadvantaged by their inability to afford these lessons. This creates an educational landscape that places each child at different starting points by virtue of their socio-economic backgrounds.

KidsExcel is a values-driven, academic and sports enrichment programme that aims to support schools and parents in providing a holistic education for kids. Its mission is to provide a holistic, well-rounded programme that develops healthy minds, healthy bodies and strong character, using sports and academic enrichment to nurture the physical, intellectual and social skills of children.

“KidsExcel seeks to address the prevailing asymmetry in educational opportunities for underprivileged children. The programme aims to develop these children holistically through a structured integration of sports and drama with academic enrichment,” said Victor Pok, Director of Vivakids which runs the programme.

By providing primary school students under the Ministry of Education (MOE)’s Financial Assistance Scheme access to a year-long enrichment programme, KidsExcel hopes to inculcate in students an intrinsic motivation to excel, which will hopefully follow them through their lives.

At a recent site visit to Fuhua Primary School – one of KidsExcel’s school partners – the Community Foundation Singapore (CFS) and its donors bore witness to the work they do. Each week, students spend three hours on academic enrichment and an additional three hours on sports as an added incentive for them to turn up for classes.

At the after school programme, students learn through interactive and engaging lessons that provide effective development opportunities. Math classes saw students engaging in friendly competition to solve problem sums flashed out by their teacher. Speech and drama lessons visibly instilled in them a sense of confidence. Frequent proficiency testing also helped facilitate differentiated lesson plans to suit the varied capabilities of students.

While the sports component was conceived to encourage students’ attendance, it plays a pivotal role in developing them holistically. A range of carefully designed and modified games provides opportunities for the students to learn values – such as teamwork and self-confidence – that are beneficial for their intrinsic development.

And the overall results are encouraging. The programme at Fuhua has seen full attendance since its inception. Through timely and consistent tracking of exam results, statistics from KidsExcel’s school partnerships reflect overall improvements in students’ literacy and numeracy levels.

In a spirited sharing of the school’s experience, Fuhua’s co-ordinating teacher-in-charge praised it as an affordable programme that provides sustainable value-add to students. “I have seen an improvement in many of the students and they really enjoy the time they spend with their friends during the programme. Many of them often come to my office just to ask me if the programme is on this week, the following week, or even in the following year. It really speaks to how the programme has given them something constructive to look forward to. Otherwise they will probably be doing nothing at home or gallivanting at the malls.”

“The support of CFS and its donors has been crucial in realising our aims, providing the platform to engage even more in the future.” said Victor.

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Stories Of Impact

The Business Times: A S$10m fund with a difference to address Singapore’s social issues

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A professional man confidently stands on a railing, showcasing elegance and poise in his suit.

It seeks to foster tie-ups among stakeholders for long-term initiatives, rather than one-off donations

By Claudia Tan

Lunch affairs with Singapore Exchange (SGX) head of global sales and origination and executive vice-president, Chew Sutat, does not come cheap. But it is not because he prefers fine dining or a lavish meal, but rather, he is always looking out for opportunities to raise funds.

Mr Chew is known for chairing the SGX charity initiative Bull Charge since 2011. He is also chairman of Caregivers Alliance and the Kaki Bukit Grassroots organisation, among other key positions he holds.

“That’s why people joke that lunch with me is very expensive because invariably, there is always some cause that someone resonates with and I happen to be able to be a channel to help them give back,” said Mr Chew.

His inclination to contribute to society can be attributed to his days as a boy scout in Anglo Chinese School (ACS).

“As a kid, my first interaction with social causes was raising money as a scout,” said Mr Chew. He also chaired the Interact Club, which provides opportunities for students to serve the community, in secondary school.

While he was actively involved in social and community-based activities in his early days, he admitted to taking a backseat upon enrolling in university and entering the corporate world.

It was only when former SGX chief executive officer Hsieh Fu Hua came into the scene that Mr Chew reignited his passion for philanthropy. Mr Hsieh was responsible for initiating the Bull Charge back in 2004 and had always championed for charitable causes.

“Fu Hua was an inspiration and after he left SGX, I had the opportunity to chair the internal SGX corporate social responsiblity activities. He is also one of my key mentors that got me more involved in charity and community work later in my corporate life,” said Mr Chew.

His involvement in charity and community work made him realise that there exists what he coined as a “market failure” in fundraising efforts.

“There are a lot of young folks who may have an interest in doing good and want to set up charities for causes they are passionate about but money from many foundation owners may not necessarily find the way to these people who want to do good.”

“And many of them with the best intentions don’t necessarily have the experience, network or professional ability to set things up,” he said.

That was why when the new initiative Mind the Gap 200 (MtG200) was brought to his attention, he seized the opportunity to be a part of it.

Kickstarted by chief executive officer of Pavilion Capital Tow Heng Tan, MtG200 is a S$10 million fund set up by 11 donors, in their own private capacities, with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) to address social issues in Singapore. MtG200 targets needs in four main areas – community, education, healthcare, and sustainability.

Mr Chew, who is the youngest member in MtG200, said that it was humbling for him to be able to fill the gaps of the “market failure”.

“The fund can create confidence for new initiatives to kick off and be a platform for others who would like to give back and bring about catalytic change,” said Mr Chew.

What sets this fund apart is that it aims to foster collaboration among stakeholders for long-term initiatives, rather than one-off donations.

“The MtG200 family of funds can leverage on each other in terms of their individual expertise to create something that is much bigger than what they can do on their own,” said Joyce Teo, deputy chief executive officer of CFS.

This is contrary to current charity efforts that involve a lot of event-based fundraising.

“Current initiatives create a very transactional relationship between the giver and the charities,” she said.

A fund like MtG200 will build a longer-term relationship with the charity partners, creating sustainability in terms of funds going into the charity sector.

Last week, MtG200 had already made a commitment of S$500,000 to Assisi Hospice to look into building capabilities in manpower and innovations to deliver palliative care.

But Mr Chew acknowledged that sparking change in the society extends beyond fundraising, and manpower is needed on the ground.

He recounted how he often gets mocked by his wife, who is a volunteer at an after-school care for those who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

“She said she is doing the real work while I sit on charity boards and do the boring stuff,” said Mr Chew.

The challenges faced in the charity scene are plenty but the needs are even more, he said

“Bottom line is that there is a role for every individual. You may not be able to write that big cheque but a small cheque can go a long way. You may not be able to go into the sector fulltime but you may volunteer in other ways.”

On rumours that his active involvement in grassroots work may position him for a career in politics, Mr Chew replied, “My present plate of professional responsibilities, community and volunteering work is already more than full – supported by a very patient wife. Read more

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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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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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