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Relaxed Fund – helping SAAC clients through horticulture
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Stories Of Impact

Relaxed Fund – helping SAAC clients through horticulture

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Group examining flora in a garden setting.

CFS donor George Jacobs, who created the Relaxed Fund, advocates a vegan lifestyle. Promoting horticulture is his way of championing this, while at the same time helping the clients at the St Andrews Autism Centre (SAAC).

He has funded three Edible Community Gardens (ECG) through the Relaxed Fund: one at SAAC, one at Metta Welfare Association, and one at the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES).

The ECG is a unique programme as it involves multiple parties, including the community, and meets both social and environmental needs.

CFS and George visited the ECG at SAAC late last year. The grant from the Relaxed Fund has supported eight planter boxes in two locations at SAAC. The crops grown include: tomatoes, chilli padi, mint, lemon balm, thai basil, rosemary, mosquito plant, xiao bai chai, kang kong, kai lan and brinjal.

The vegetables have been harvested on a quarterly basis while the herbs are harvested as and when there are requests for them. It was also an opportunity for the donor to meet some clients, parents and a community volunteer, and to receive affirmation from them.

“My wife and I wanted to encourage people to eat more plant-based foods, as these foods boost human health and address global warming issues,” said George. “The reason behind the ECG was to give them a sense of vested ownership. If they grow the fruits and vegetables, they may be more likely to eat them. This programme at SAAC also supports the Singaporean government’s 30 by 30 vision, which is to produce 30% of our own food (up from 10% currently) by 2030.

I am very pleased with the great results of the SAAC Community Garden and would like to credit the parents of the clients as well as the community who have all been a supportive part of this amazing effort,” said George.

SAAC currently has about 66 clients altogether. Twenty two of them are on the horticulture programme, although some of the other clients help out on occasions.

Chloe Phua, Senior Coach for Horticulture at SACC, said there have been huge improvements in the clients: “At the start of the programme, they would only do watering and simple weeding, as they used to do for other plants in the premises. Many had tantrums due to the exposure to heat and extreme aversion to dirt. However, the routine of the chores helped them to adjust to the gardening. Now, with very little prompting, the clients are familiar with various stages of the gardening process, from germination through to harvesting. They have also built up their tolerance levels, being able to go through a quarter hour of gardening before washing their hands at a break.”

She added that, overall, the gardening has helped to improve the social skills and capabilities of the clients, who are now able to do gardening together and even go out to the community to deliver their produce.

It was Rosa Quitadamo, a resident of the nearby Villa Marina Condominium, who bridged the gap between SAAC and Villa Marina. Having started her own community garden within the condominium, she had suggested that SAAC sell the produce from their garden to residents in Villa Marina.

Rosa said: ‘’By selling the vegetables they have grown, it gives the clients a sense of value in their gardening. It also raises awareness of autism within the community in a very personal way.’’

Not only that, it instils a sense of pride and responsibility in the clients who work in the ECG. Aloysius has been gardening at SAAC for 18 months, and he is proud to bring vegetables home for his aunt to cook in a soup or for his family to eat with rice.

‘’I enjoy gardening here,’’ he said, with a glowing sense of ownership of his part in the ECG. ‘’I like the watering and the soil preparation,’’ he added, before going on to describe the latter in great detail.

Even the parents of clients who work in the ECG were full of praises for the programme. Aunty Chin and Uncle Joo, parents of client Dwayne Goh, were impressed and amazed by their son’s progress.

Said Aunty Chin, “Dwayne used to be so scared of getting dirty but now, trained by the coaches and regular gardening, he can plant seeds and even do weeding.  I have seen a lot of improvement in Dwayne because of the gardening and am thankful for the support from the donor.”

“Many people with autism connect better through their senses. Gardening speaks to them as it involves many senses, like smell and sight. It has even changed my wife’s diet! She actually doesn’t really like vegetables but because Dwayne brings back what he has grown, she will eat them! I prefer to get the vegetables from here because it is fresher and they don’t use pesticides,’’ added Uncle Joo.

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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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Business Times: Size no barrier to structured corporate giving

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A newspaper article showcasing how size is not a hindrance to structured corporate giving. Exploring corporate philanthropy regardless of company scale.

Liontrust hopes its charity fund will spur fellow SMEs to make their giving count

Many owners of Singapore’s small and medium-sized enterprises would gladly give back to their community. But, without the heft larger corporations have, it is easy for them to resign themselves to thinking that each dollar they give won’t go as far, says Lim Wei-Jen, 47.

He wants his company’s giving to count for more.

Mr Lim is the founder of Liontrust, a trust and wealth management firm that got its start in 2005 and then rode the wave of growth in Singapore’s wealth management sector. It now has offices in Hong Kong and New Zealand too.

“It has always been in our plan that we want to commit a percentage of our profit to charity. We are quite blessed that the business has brought about additional income, that allows us to give,” says Mr Lim.

That desire to give of their gains is shared by the rest of Liontrust’s management team, says managing director Ashley Ong, 52. Many of them come from humble backgrounds. In Mr Ong’s case, his mother worked hard as a school sweeper to provide for her nine children, but never shied away from giving to those in need. “‘If you have the means, please help,’ she’d say.”

Mr Lim says, “In this world, there are the haves and the have-nots. The have-nots are really struggling; the haves may have no qualms about dining, opening a bottle of wine that costs a few thousand dollars…. We see the gaps in society and want to do our part to build a more inclusive home.”

In the early years, Liontrust’s giving was fragmented and ad-hoc, says Mr Ong. But the team did hope to eventually undertake a more structured and sustained approach to giving.

“How do smaller companies typically give? Do we just write a cheque to whichever organisation happens to knock at our door?” says Mr Lim. That also meant defaulting to safer, more established names.  “But these organisations are usually well supported and probably have sufficient publicity.”

Mr Lim says, “Do you only give to those with the highest profiles? We wanted to go deeper. To find charities with needs that we were not aware of.” Trouble was, that work of uncovering and assessing lesser-known charities would take more time, effort and expertise, he adds.

The business of doing good
This was why, when the Liontrust team came to know about the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), things clicked into place swiftly.

“Before starting with CFS, we talked about creating an internal committee, which would help to find targeted beneficiaries, but that wasn’t the best use of our resources as many of us were not familiar with the charity sector.

“By setting up a fund with CFS, we are guided by professionals who have the breadth and depth of knowledge of the charitable landscape in Singapore. This is an immense help to maximise our reach to those whom we want to help,” says Mr Ong.

Since starting the Liontrust Charity Fund with CFS in 2015, Liontrust has given to several children’s causes, supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds and with special needs, as well as assistive technology training for visually impaired children. CFS also surfaced less-publicised needs to Liontrust, such as the need for donations to cover fares of the London cabs that wheelchair-bound children from low-income households need to get to their hospital appointments.

Mr Ong describes Liontrust’s partnership with CFS so far as “a match made in heaven”.

Beyond receiving assistance with due diligence and reports on how each dollar is disbursed, CFS made it possible, in the first place, for Liontrust to set up a fund with relatively lower capital.

It might have been daunting for a small company to put aside a large sum at one go, but Liontrust was able to meet their intended commitment to the fund they set up in smaller, yearly tranches instead of a lump-sum.

Positive externalities
Choosing to manage its corporate philanthropy by setting up a fund aligns nicely with Liontrust’s business goals. “We’re in the business of trust, and some of our clients have also been interested in philanthropic giving, so we thought we should do it ourselves.”

What Mr Lim and Mr Ong did not anticipate though, was how Liontrust Charity Fund has become a rallying point around which to encourage their colleagues, clients and associates to give – whether by volunteering time or donating money.

“It’s been interesting because, through this, I’ve also been able to rally some of my closer friends and business associates,” says Mr Lim.

It is not uncommon, he observes, for well-heeled professionals in Singapore to have more than they need. Mr Lim also believes people to be innately kind and keen to give. Yet, many are so strapped for time to think about how best to use excess funds that often, they just end up buying another property. “With the fund, we have an opportunity to offer them an avenue to give and make a difference in other people’s lives without having to worry about due diligence,” he says.

They hope Liontrust’s modest experience will spur other smaller companies to pursue structured corporate giving too.

“I would encourage companies, whether small or big, to consider CFS. Often, the impression is that it is the big-name companies that can set up a foundation, organise a big charity run to fundraise… We don’t have those resources, yet we have been able to do this our own way,” says Mr Ong.

“Yes, there are fees to pay, but the extra help that comes really makes your every dollar count,” he adds.

And while the myriad reasons to embark on structured corporate giving certainly include the good that it does for a business’ brand – that cannot be the motivation, says Mr Lim. “Companies should not go in with the intention of getting publicity, of getting some mileage out of giving. You just have to take the first step in giving.”

Source: Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings 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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The Peak Singapore: How responsible businesses can make their philanthropic dollars travel further

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While more companies are heeding the call to give back to the community, selecting a worthy cause and monitoring the use of donations may be a complex task. That’s where the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) comes in. It helps corporations develop a long-term philanthropy strategy, find suitable charity partners, and track the outcome of donations.

“We help donors go beyond what they can do on their own, and identify charity partners who can provide accountability,” says Catherine Loh, CEO of CFS.

One way of creating greater impact is to look at fresh ways of addressing community needs, suggests Loh. Take UBS’ Diversity in Abilities arts education programme, which aims to develop the talents of children and youth with special needs. After attending the programme, participants are able to concentrate better and have an overall improvement in the pace of learning. Such potentially beneficial initiatives can be made possible only by corporations that have a higher appetite for risk and are willing to support them, says Loh.

In terms of managing charitable dollars, both donor and recipient must agree on how the money will be used, the duration of the funding and the kind/depth of reporting required, Loh says. More importantly, she adds, companies should adopt the mindset of a partner and view philanthropy as a “learning journey”.

“Just like any business project, things can go wrong. Sometimes, it could be a misreading of community needs, or there could be physical or manpower constraints faced by the charity. We hope to take corporates on a philanthropic journey, to help them gain insight into what it takes to make a meaningful change.” Read more.

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The Business Times: New fund to help Singapore’s marginalised groups land jobs

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By Rachel Mui

The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), which is a non-profit organisation, on Thursday said it has launched a new fund to raise the participation of marginalised groups in Singapore’s workforce.

Among other things, the Lift (Learning Initiatives for Employment) Community Impact Fund will support programmes that provide vocational training for marginalised individuals, and place them in jobs in the open market, CFS said.

These programmes are targeted at four marginalised groups – persons with disabilities, persons recovering from mental illnesses, disadvantaged women, as well as youths-at-risk – with a focus on helping them navigate and overcome barriers to securing sustained employment.

This will be done via equipping them with both hard and soft skills for obtaining jobs in the food and beverage industry, with the possibility of including more sectors in the future, CFS added.

Said Joyce Teo, deputy chief executive officer at CFS: “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.

“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 (workforce skills qualifications) vocational training, 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 60 hours of post-training support for each participant. During the training phase, participants will also receive social support from charity partners to minimise or resolve family and/or other issues that may otherwise derail their learning, CFS noted.

Potential participants will first be identified and referred by the 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.

Both companies will also provide job attachment opportunities during the training phase.

CFS aims for around 65 per cent of its participants to complete the training, and for about 60 per cent of graduates to be successfully placed into employment for at least three months. To track the efficacy of these initiatives, programme providers will also, where possible, keep in touch with participants for up to two years, CFS said.

While an anchor donor has been secured to seed the Lift Community Impact Fund, CFS is now looking to raise additional funds to cover the estimated S$528,000 required to support the programmes for these marginalised groups.

Potential donors who wish to contribute to Lift may visit Giving.sg, or write to CFS at contactus@cf.org.sg for more information. 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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护联中心新设135万元基金 打造更“好玩”乐龄护理

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如何鼓励年长者更积极地投入社交,活出精彩的老年生活?护联中心推出新的135万元基金“FUN! Fund”,鼓励业者把“好玩”融入乐龄护理计划。

配合11月1日的社区护理日,护联中心星期五(11月4日)举办社区护理领导系列,并在活动宣布推出新基金。

“FUN! Fund”由护联中心和新加坡社区基金会联合成立,致力于改善乐龄人士所面对的社交孤立现象,进而提升他们的身心健康。

社区护理业者可呈交计划书,提出创新的活动点子来带动乐龄人士的情绪,鼓励他们积极尝试新事物。例如,太和观庙弯活跃乐龄站推出“虚拟游乐场”,通过高科技系统和怀旧元素的“新旧”结合,带给乐龄人士别具特色的玩乐体验。

每项计划可获得高达五万元的资助款项。

除了成立基金,护联中心和新加坡社区基金会接下来三年也将在社区护理的四大方面展开合作,分别为:活跃乐龄、环境和社区空间、人力和业务连续性。

阅读更多:Fun! Fund

信用:联合早报©新报业媒体有限公司。复制需要许可

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