Stories Of Impact
Over $9 million raised for CFS’s Sayang Sayang Fund benefitting over 130,000 beneficiaries
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

Over $9 million raised for CFS’s Sayang Sayang Fund benefitting over 130,000 beneficiaries

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a group of kids in orange tees

The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) launched the Sayang Sayang Fund (SSF) in Feb 2020 as an emergency response fund, aimed to benefit Singapore’s underserved communities impacted by COVID-19.

As a result of the keen generosity from Singapore’s general public, over $9 million had been raised, enabling the SSF to expand its scope to support nine initiatives to ensure that the most vulnerable in Singapore’s communities did not fall through the cracks. This was made possible through CFS’s highly proficient understanding of grantmaking and close collaboration with our valued community partners. This was swiftly translated into impact supporting 298 grantee organisations and 136,000 beneficiaries.

“It is with great pleasure that we thank all our partners and donors for their unwavering generosity in such times of adversity. CFS is honored to have brought together so many people from all walks to life to help those most vulnerable in need. 

Without everyone’s support, neither the Sayang Sayang Fund nor its initiatives would have been birthed. We are humbled and proud of the part that CFS has played to be able to be in such a privileged position to do what we did,’’ says Joyce Teo, Deputy CEO of CFS.

Some of the initiatives that were supported by the SSF included SeniorsOK@Home, which provided relief to seniors unable to leave their homes because of social distancing measures, Recess@Home, which provided meal subsidies for needy students during their Home Based Learning (HBL) period and MigrantsOK@Home, which extended care towards our migrant workers in the form of free top-ups in their prepaid cards to call their loved ones at home.

The emergency response funds were able to reach recipients promptly due to the Fund’s nimbleness, alongside the combined efforts of informal grassroots networks and community groups outside of the regular charitable bureaucratic systems.

A summary on the SSF funds disbursed so far

CFS aims to disburse all of the donations raised to our allocated partners and beneficiaries. To date, over $7 million has been disbursed. The charity partners were required to provide a comprehensive report on how these funds were used and whether they were fully utilised.

Giving relief to migrant workers

CFS worked with Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME), Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) and Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) to provide funding for our migrant workers, whose assistance has been invaluable and support to this community would not have been possible without their help.

In total, $200,000 had been disbursed by the MigrantsOK@Home initiative through our partners, benefitting 90,000 migrant workers with care packages and free prepaid top ups.

“We are very happy to have CFS partner with us to support our migrant workers in the factory-converted dormitories,” says MWC Chairman Yeo Guat Kwang. “We are really very thankful to everyone for giving a helping hand to our migrant workers in this challenging time.”

Aiding the elderly with AIC

More than $1.5 million was also disbursed to seniors for assistance through the SSF through the SeniorsOK@Home initiative, who received immediate aid, food supplies, necessities and medical supplies.

CFS collaborated closely with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and other agencies to distribute relief to this particularly vulnerable community. Much needed funding was delivered to nursing homes and other community care providers to enhance precautionary measures during the pandemic, and also to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the staff and residents of more than 90 community healthcare organisations.

300 infrared thermometers were also developed and distributed by CFS through the initiative, and helped to reduce the manpower required for temperature taking at nursing homes, hospices and eldercare centers, where manpower was sorely lacking during the COVID19 period.

‘’During this period, it is important that we combine efforts with our partners to support seniors in a timely manner. The Sayang Sayang Fund, within a short time frame, has helped to channel significant and meaningful support for our Community Care partners and seniors,’’ says Tan Kwang Cheak, CEO, AIC.

Distributing meals to needy students with the Ministry of Education (MOE)

Much credit goes to CFS’s partnership with the Ministry of Education with the Recess@Home initiative. The persistent efforts of the dedicated civil servants in MOE shone through, as they worked tirelessly with CFS in disbursing funds to needy students in the fastest way possible.

More than $1.3 million has been disbursed through MOE to the Recess@Home initiative and helping more than 28,000 needy students to receive their meals. The subsidies were disbursed via top-ups to the students’ School Smartcard which students could use to purchase food and essential groceries at some hawker centres, food courts, minimarts, convenience stores and supermarkets.

“Thank you for helping us with our daily expenses during the circuit break period. It really helped our family financially as our parents do not have enough money to give us pocket money every day. Having this really helped us because sometimes we try to save the money our parents give us. We are really grateful because not many people have this opportunity.’’ said Primary 6 sisters, Liyana and Hanayani.  

Putting a roof over the heads of rough sleepers with SafeSleep@Home

For the initiative SafeSleep@Home, almost $200,000 was disbursed to help more than 300 rough sleepers to find shelter during the circuit breaker period and obtain more permanent housing in the long term. The funds also went towards providing them with daily necessities and food supplies.

CFS has collaborated with four charity partners to provide temporary housing, overhead support, and home transition funds for over 300 individuals, including families. About 10 percent had successfully transitioned into long-term permanent housing, while the rest are in the process of doing so.

Other Community Grants disbursed by CFS

Through our community partner Filos Community Services, CARE packs were distributed to 250 vulnerable and isolated elderly and 50 low income families. These CARE packs contained tip sheets on hygiene, hand washing, use of masks, home exercises and helplines. Essentials such as antiseptic soaps, dettol, vitamin c, tissue packs, stretch bands or water bottles to be used for home exercises, thermometers, biscuits and milo, hand sanitizer and masks were also included.

CFS also supported community partner Petapis, and provided funds to purchase essentials to 4 of their residential welfare homes to mitigate the risks of the infection such as personal protective equipment (PPEs) and thermometers. 300 beneficiaries benefitted from the essentials that the funds provided.

“The Sayang Sayang Fund’s measure of success is not by how much it has raised, but by the number of smiles on the faces of all the people it has helped. I feel tremendous gratitude for our partners both government and community, who have come together so compassionately to give aid to those in Singapore who are most in need. Thank you for your steadfast efforts and generosity,’’ says Catherine Loh, CEO of CFS.

To find out more about Sayang Sayang Fund, please visit https://www.cf.org.sg/sayangsayangfund/

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Stories Of Impact

Care Corner Educational Therapy Service – Tackling gaps for children with special learning needs

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A child creatively arranges red and white paper to form letters, showcasing their artistic skills and imagination.

Singapore can take pride in being billed the best country for children to grow up in, based on a 2018 report by the non-governmental organisation, Save The Children. Yet, for children with special learning needs within mainstream schools, there remains room for timelier intervention and more holistic support.

Supported by multiple donors from the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), Care Corner’s Educational Therapy Service (ETS) has been serving children with special learning needs in mainstream schools from Kindergarten 1 to Primary 6. More than half of its students are from lower-income families, where lack of financial resources often means delayed diagnosis or access to specialised learning support services. Children struggle to keep up with their educational milestones and peers, hurting their self-esteem and motivation.

Care Corner’s ETS well-received Specialist Tuition (English) and Specialist Tuition (Math) programmes have helped these children overcome their challenges and progress in their academic journey. Over 70% of its students showed improvement in their literacy and numeracy skills in 2017, based on assessment scores.

Many of its students spend on average of at least two years with ETS, benefiting from small class sizes where teachers adapt learning methods to the needs of each child. “Current mainstream resources do offer short-term support, but in reality, such children require continuous, targeted help for longer duration to allow the child to pick up the needed skills,” says Isaac Tan, Clinical Director.

More notably, its Specialist Tuition programmes are designed to not just improve key skills, but actually meet the academic demands of mainstream curriculum. “Improving reading skills does not mean the child can address academic demands, and tuition classes without these specialised methods might not cater to these children’s weaknesses,” adds Isaac.

Care Corner’s dedication to its mission can be witnessed in its innovative KidsBright Programme, which it developed by exploring research into brain development and contemporary movement therapy. KidsBright takes a three-pronged approach, through brain-stimulating movement exercises, diet, and mental training to help stimulate a child’s brain.

Care Corner believes tackling underlying causes in cognitive difficulty can have far-reaching effects in boosting learning. Impressively, more than 90% of children in its 2017 programme saw improvements in their learning abilities based on parental feedback.

“By addressing the underlying causes, these children may reach a level of improvement that they no longer require specialist tuition,” expresses Isaac. KidsBright’s approach is now being compiled into a research study, which Isaac hopes will catalyse and influence local approaches towards children with special learning needs.

Moving forward, Care Corner ETS is piloting a new Psychological Assessment Service in the second half of 2018. Tan believes such services are much-needed, especially for lower-income families, as early diagnosis allows children to receive interventions at an earlier stage and improves their chances of catching up with their peers.

Increased demand for its services has also seen Care Corner ETS open a new centre in Woodlands. Joanne Sim, Programme Head and Senior Educational Therapist, expresses, “With our expansion into Woodlands and launch of psychological services, we aim to offer a more comprehensive range of services, whilst reaching out to more children with special learning needs to support them in achieving their potential.”

Photo: Care Corner Educational Therapy Service

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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

CFS Donor Learning Trip Series: The transformative power of early intervention by the Dyslexia Association of Singapore

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This initiative is part of CFS’s Donor Learning Trips, a series of engagement opportunities that enable donors to personally connect with charities and gain insights into how they support communities in need.

Imagine not being able to read because the letters and words are mixed up. Imagine struggling to spell or write, being labelled slow and falling behind at school. These are the realities students with dyslexia face, realities that empathetic donors from CFS got to better understand during a visit to the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS). 

“It was an eye-opening experience that left a lasting impact on us,” said Mr Sim Willing, President of the IFPAS Love Fund. The IFPAS Love Fund is one of four donor-advised funds (DAFs) that joined our Donor Learning Trip in July 2023 to the DAS Learning Centre at Serangoon Central. The social service organisation provides dyslexia screenings, psychological assessments and remediation. 

Accessing Quality Education is one of CFS’s five focal areas for grantmaking, where we curate programmes that ensure everyone has access to quality, holistic education and opportunities for them to function and thrive academically.

During the visit, donors had the valuable opportunity to hear from and talk with DAS Vice-Chairman Mr Kevin Kwek, DAS CEO Mr Lee Siang, Senior Specialist Psychologist Ms Scarlett Leong and other staff members.

One key takeaway for our donors was that dyslexia is more common than they thought. Dyslexia is a neurological condition where the brain is wired to handle information differently. It is lifelong and tends to be hereditary. Studies indicate that it affects around 10% of the population, 4% severely. 

In Singapore, there are an estimated 20,000 students with dyslexia severe enough to need intervention, says Mr Lee. Children with dyslexia, moreover, may also have co-occurring difficulties. These include problems with memory, attention, time management and sequencing.  DAS currently serves around 3,500 preschool, primary and secondary school students across 12 centres. 

Poverty significantly compounds the challenge for students with learning difficulties. Undiagnosed children who slip through the cracks find it hard to break out of poverty. As Mr Lee points out, “International research suggests that 30-60% of prison populations may have dyslexia. Specialist intervention can help break a vicious cycle for those with special needs.” At DAS, 52% of its students come from lower-income families. This is where intervention—supported by donor generosity— can be transformative. 

Intervention requires significant resources. DAS gets some funding for screenings but none for psychological assessments. Such assessments are crucial to ascertain if a child has a learning difficulty, its severity and to identify areas of learning needs. Each assessment must be carried out by a highly trained psychologist and takes considerable time, making it costly. This can put it out of reach of the less well-off.

To bridge this gap, DAS collaborates with like-minded partners like CFS. For the charity, CFS has been critical in bringing in donors such as the IPFAS Love Fund. Their grants directly help children from lower-income families access this much-needed service.

IFPAS set up the IFPAS Love Fund in 2017, choosing CFS for its strong track record in managing charitable funds. “A dedicated advisor at CFS takes the time to understand our giving goals and guides us to make well-informed decisions on where to direct resources for maximum effect. Administration is also easy as CFS handles legal and financial compliance, fund management, and grant distribution,” adds Mr Sim

As our relationship with CFS has grown, so has the depth and breadth of our giving. Over time, we have gained a better understanding of social issues and community needs, and CFS has played a pivotal role in keeping us updated on emerging trends and impactful projects. This ongoing learning process has led to the evolution of our giving strategies, allowing us to be more strategic, responsive, and effective in addressing the changing needs of the community.

Dyslexia is a hidden disability but with timely intervention, many can go on to contribute significantly to society. Through targeted and thoughtful philanthropy, we can extend professional support to more children with dyslexia, allowing them to reach their full potential and lead more fulfilling lives.  

CFS assists charities and their underprivileged communities by connecting them with donors seeking to support causes and crucial needs that resonate with them deeply.

To find out more about the causes we support, please visit www.cf.org.sg/what-we-support/.

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News

Media release: CFS and NVPC initiate cross-sector collaborative effort to help disadvantaged young persons in Singapore

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Colabs Graphic Logo
  • Partnership between CFS and NVPC formed Colabs, to drive collaboration among the public, private and social sectors to tackle complex social issues
  • First series tackles social mobility of disadvantaged young persons in Singapore

Singapore, July 2, 2018– The Community Foundation of Singapore (“CFS”) and the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (“NVPC”) have partnered to catalyse collaboration among the public, private and social sectors.

Colabs, an initiative by CFS and NVPC, drives collaboration by bringing together philanthropists, businesses, non-profits and sector experts to share knowledge, exchange ideas and co-create solutions. More than 100 representatives from 56 stakeholders took part in the first Colabs series that focused on the needs of disadvantaged young persons. These comprised government ministries, statutory boards, multi-national corporations, private companies, foundations, individual philanthropists, academics and non-profit organisations.

In addition, CFS and NVPC have released a guide to provide funders from various sectors of society with practical ways to help disadvantaged young persons in Singapore. The guide, titled ‘A Call for Collaborative Giving: Closing the Gap for Disadvantaged Young Persons’, capturesinsights uncoveredby the diverse group of stakeholders who met to discussthe issues, and outlines clear recommendations for collective action.

“Collaboration is the way forward, as the scale, scope and complexity of social issues today makes it impossible for a single player or the government to solve alone,” said CFS Deputy Chief Executive Officer Joyce Teo. “By leveraging our shared expertise, skills and resources, collaborative partnerships offer donors opportunities to bring about more impactful social change.”

NVPC Director of Strategic Partnership Darrel Lim elaborated: “While there are numerous programmes by organisations to address current issues, there are still gaps, challenges, and constraints faced by beneficiaries and social services. Colabs is a platform which brings together like-minded stakeholders to learn and share insights, uncover gaps in the current system and collectively devise ways to plug these gaps.”

The Colabs series on disadvantaged young persons focused on whether education is a game changer for improving their social mobility. Over the course of eight months, participants shared and heard from sector experts, beneficiaries, and donors. Through roundtable talks, workshops, as well as a field trip and poverty simulation exercise, participants learnt about the challenges that prevent disadvantaged young persons from doing well in life, and the types of support currently available.

Elaine Loo, Director of Central Youth Guidance Office, Ministry of Social and Family Development, commented, “Colabs connects stakeholders across the various sectors to facilitate the sharing of perspectives and nudge collective efforts to address issues that our children and youth are facing today. Networks such as these are useful platforms that allow public agencies to hear directly from stakeholders, including our private sector partners.”

Colabs participants found that while education can help bridge social gaps, not every child can fully tap into the benefits that education can bring. Economic, social, and cultural differences also contribute to a greater degree of variance in Singaporean students’ academic performance compared to students from other countries[1], and social gaps may widen if disadvantaged young persons here are not given the help they need.

Disadvantaged young persons here face multiple challenges. Parents tend to work long hours or hold shift jobs, leaving little time to attend to their children’s learning needs. They often shoulder more adult responsibilities[2]. This can result in poorer literacy development and academic performance, and may lead to psychological issues such as depression and other conditions[3].

“It is difficult to have a ‘one size fits all’ solution because circumstances vary from person to person. Instead, harnessing collective expertise towards providing a variety of support structures with the capacity to consider unique individual needs will result in greater, longer lasting impact,” noted Benjamin Teo, social worker and Centre Director at SHINE Children & Youth Services.

The Colabs guide outlines three different levels on which aspiring changemakers can make a difference through philanthropy and/or volunteerism. Firstly, there are programme-level initiatives which affect young persons directly. These involve supporting new programmes or enhancing existing ones. Secondly, there are organisational-level initiatives that target to strengthen non-profit organisations’ capacity and capabilities; these can significantly impact outcomes across many programmes. Lastly, funders can choose to invest resources on sector-level initiatives that will impact the wider ecosystem, such as the development of multi-stakeholder data sharing platforms. More details can be found on pages 10 to 13 of the guide, which can be downloaded here.

A second Colabs series focusing on persons with disabilities has concluded and a third Colabs series focusing on seniors will commence later this year.

END

About Colabs
Colabs is a philanthropic initiative by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre and the Community Foundation of Singapore. It drives collaboration by bringing together the public, private and social sectors to tackle complex social issues. It enables philanthropists, businesses, non-profits and sector experts to collectively build insights and co-create solutions for lasting change.

About the Community Foundation of Singapore
The Community Foundation of Singapore (“CFS”) is a non-profit organisation founded in 2008 to encourage and enable philanthropy in Singapore. We match donors’ interests with causes and offer ways for them to make a greater impact through their charitable funds. We also collaborate with charity partners to identify and develop programmes that support diverse communities. Our purpose is to create real and meaningful change while building a philanthropic culture in Singapore. CFS is a registered charity with Institution of a Public Character status.

About the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre
The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre is an independent not-for-profit organisation that advocates giving in Singapore. Our vision is for Singapore to be a Giving Nation and to cultivate a strong culture of contribution where giving is part of every Singaporean’s DNA. We work closely with charities, corporates, public sector agencies, institutions as well as the community to build a robust ecosystem to make giving simple, fun and meaningful.

[1]According to the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (“PISA”) international survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”). The latest PISA survey results show that ESCS differences account for 16.8%, 17.0%, 15.1% of the variance in Singapore students’ performance in science, reading, and mathematics, compared to the OECD average of 12.9%, 11.9%, and 13.0%, respectively.

[1]  Mathews, M. & Chan, C. (2015). Empowering Low-income Families: Documenting the Contributions of Family Excellence Circles (FEC)

[1]  Mathews, M. & Chan, C. (2015). Empowering Low-income Families: Documenting the Contributions of Family Excellence Circles (FEC)

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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.

News

The Straits Times: Teacher gives students with disabilities hope

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a picture of a teacher and a student

by Rahimah Rashith, 24 October 2016

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.”

The ending to beloved children’s book Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White gives an apt rendering of the relationship between teacher Jeyaram Kadivan, 34, and his former student, Mr Caleb Tay, now 20.

Over the course of a year in 2009, Mr Jeyaram spent his weekends thumbing over a paperback edition of the novel, scanning each page into his laptop using a machine that converted the scanned images into words. Read more.

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