Stories Of Impact
Seniors Colabs learning journey #1: Empower Ageing – mind over body for a better quality of life
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

Seniors Colabs learning journey #1: Empower Ageing – mind over body for a better quality of life

John Doe
John Doe
An image of a mature woman engaging in weightlifting exercises alongside a group of individuals.

Ageing isn’t something most people think positively about. Think of old age and most people – especially seniors themselves – would naturally fixate on the negatives. Yet for young charity Empower Ageing, it’s been changing entrenched mindsets with a series of innovative programmes and solutions – including a clarion call to seniors to ‘go for your mountain’.

On a learning journey for Seniors Colabs, representatives from various sectors joined Empower Ageing at Cornerstone Senior Centre in Cheng San. During the ice-breaking session, Colabs participants were challenged by Empower Ageing’s founder Isaiah Chng to reconsider their assumptions about old age. Instead of viewing old age as a time of disempowerment and frailty, can seniors be encouraged to think differently?

The morning kicked off with an exercise session conducted by Empower Ageing with over 40 seniors from the community. The session was intentionally crafted to build a sense of empowerment, with facilitators encouraging seniors to take active steps in maintaining their physical health. A lively sense of group camaraderie could be observed, as seniors gathered in groups to support each other in performing a series of exercises designed to enhance their strength and mobility. Designed with the concept of ‘reaxing’, the session featured exercise equipment that trains seniors to physically respond to unpredictable situations in daily life. At times, individual seniors would themselves take the intiative to teach fellow members and newcomers the exercise moves

During the discussions that followed, Colabs participants were impressed by the engagement levels of the seniors, many of whom attend the sessions five times per week. One key learning point for Colabs participants was the importance of collecting and tracking data, so that the seniors could see the tangible physical improvements from the exercise sessions. Another key learning point was the importance of how integrating positive mindsets about ageing helps seniors build confidence and motivation.

Colabs participants were also exposed to new models and concepts of empowering seniors in the community. These include integrating physical rehabilitation with the daily life and environment of the seniors, and the GYM challenge that inspires seniors to go beyond their physical limitations.

Ageing well is critically relevant to all of us – not just those who have already entered into their golden years. The Colabs learning journey empowered participants with a new concept of successful ageing, with a view of applying insights to their own organisations.

Colabs is a philanthropic initiative by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre. 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.

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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

Motivating trainees towards a brighter future

John Doe
John Doe
A group of individuals standing together on a stage, smiling and posing for a photograph.

The new S R Nathan Book Prize & Special Assistance Scheme spurs trainees from ITE’s Traineeship Scheme to reach for a better future.

In recent years, Singapore’s education system has been seeking to move beyond academic grades to a more holistic approach towards learning. Seeking to change broader mindsets towards the value of applied learning and work experience, Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education (ITE) has been steadily championing a ‘work-study’ approach through its Traineeship Scheme.

For a group of fresh secondary-school leavers, the scheme offers a much-needed alternative pathway. The course equips students with relevant industry skills – leading to both a nationally-recognised certification and career progression – while also allowing them to earn a monthly salary as they learn.

In September 2019, the S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund (SRNEUF) launched the S R Nathan Book Prize & Special Assistance Scheme, which supports financially-needy students from the ITE Traineeship Scheme.

Managed by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), the SRNEUF has been supporting full-time ITE students in need since 2012. With CFS’s facilitation, the S R Nathan Book Prize & Special Assistance Scheme was established this year in response to ITE’s appeal to extend support to trainees, many of whom come from families in challenging financial circumstances.

Similar to full-time ITE student profile, majority of students in the Traineeship Scheme are from lower-income households . While salaries for trainees start from $1000 before CPF deductions, trainees generally do not receive their income until their second month at work.

“We want to help this group of trainees because they are a group helping themselves by heading straight to the workforce after secondary school,” says Mr Aw York Bin, Deputy CEO (Industry). Joining the workforce is an uphill task for these young students, as they have to adapt to work-life while juggling academic commitments. “The S R Nathan Book Prize is an encouragement for them to persevere and complete the course,” he adds.

Additionally, the S R Nathan Special Assistance Scheme will help students from the lowest income tier with food and transportation for the first month before they receive their first salary. Lee Geok Teng, a student in Nitec in Business Services, remarks, “The traineeship has been a good way for me to be financially independent and enables me to pay my own phone bills and insurance.”

Ruthra Vaitheshwari D/O Thiagarajen, who is currently pursuing a Higher Nitec in Service Management, recalls the physical strain of managing work and her studies in her first three months. She says, “This award encouraged me further. The moment I received the prize from Mrs S R Nathan, I felt I should work harder.”

Muhammad Fadzrin Adzri B Adnan, a trainee who has worked at the Sheraton Towers Singapore Hotel, says the traineeship has helped him build an edge for his future career. “Receiving this book prize is very unexpected and a motivation for all the trainees who have worked hard in this course,” he says.

Remarking on ITE’s long-term partnership with CFS, Mr Aw commented, “CFS has opened many doors for us over the years to reach out to potential donors and to raise awareness of the needs of vulnerable students. Their advice has been invaluable, as well as their capacity to facilitate conversations around the evolving needs of our students.”

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”。

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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

S’pore couple plan to leave money to charity after their death in new campaign to promote legacy giving

John Doe
John Doe
A man and woman posing for a photo against a beige background, capturing a joyful moment together.

SINGAPORE – It was their son’s degenerative eye disease that set ophthalmologist Dr Audrey Looi and her neurosurgeon husband Dr Ang Beng Ti on the path of philanthropy.

The couple were devastated around a decade ago to find out that James, now 19, suffers from Stargardt’s which causes progressive vision loss, when he was in primary school.

To make matters worse, there was a serious lack of programmes then to support children with low vision in their educational and other needs, Dr Ang, 51, said.

In 2011, the couple set up the charity iC2 PrepHouse, which teaches children with low vision the skills to cope with daily life and supports them to remain in mainstream schools.

They now plan to leave $200,000 or more in their wills to set up an endowment fund to support the iC2 PrepHouse’s work and to fund scholarships for needy undergraduates of the Singapore Management University (SMU).

James is now a business undergraduate at the SMU. The Angs have two other children, aged 13 and 21.

Dr Looi, 50, said: “So instead of giving it (our wealth) all to our children, we have started thinking about putting aside a part of it for charity. I think we have to be a little less self-focused and to give back to society.

“We told our children that they can contribute to the fund (in future). And I would like to think that our kids can manage without this sum we are giving to charity.

“Long after we are gone, we have this charity that continues to provide help for children with low vision. iC2 PrepHouse is our family legacy.”

The couple are among the donors fronting the “A Greater Gift” campaign in a three-month drive to promote legacy giving that was launched on Tuesday (Nov 24) morning.

The campaign was started by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), a charity which promotes philanthropy here.

Legacy giving is broadly defined as future donations to charity, such as in the form of leaving money or property to charitable causes after one’s death.

Ms Catherine Loh, chief executive of the CFS, said the charity has seen more interest in legacy giving in the past few years, by people from different demographic groups including singles and married couples without children.

However, she added that Singaporeans’ interest in legacy giving lags behind Western societies, noting that it is taboo in Asian cultures to talk about death and even writing wills.

She said it is changing though.

“People think that legacy giving is only for the very rich. But we want to tell people, nothing is too small. We want to change this concept that it’s only for the very rich.

“Another thing people think is that if they give a legacy gift, their children will not have anything. We want to say it’s not an either-or (situation) and they can consider leaving a part of it (their wealth) to charity,” added Ms Loh.

While there are the uber rich who are leaving millions to charity after their death, some charities have also received as little as $10,000 from a person’s estate, she said.

The CFS will provide resources to help charities engage their donors on legacy giving, among its efforts to boost this form of philanthropy here.

Besides the Angs, the other donors who are part of the campaign include MP and lawyer Nadia Ahmad Samdin, 30, and venture capitalist Hian Goh, 46.

In their campaign video, Ms Nadia said she went to school with the help of financial assistance and now wants to help at-risk young people, while Mr Goh wants to create opportunities for innovators to reach their full potential.

Mr Goh is a co-founder of the Asian Food Channel, a pay-television channel now known as the Asian Food Network.

Source: The Straits Times

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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.

Events

Singapore Tatler: CRIB X CFS Legacy Building And Impact Series

John Doe
John Doe
four people standing together posing for a picture

Investors and like-minded philanthropists invited by CRIB and the Community Foundation of Singapore gathered at Grand Park Orchard for a panel discussion on November 1, where father-daughter duos Richard and Rebecca Eu, and Keith and Sharon Chua shared their insights and personal anecdotes towards charity and legacy building. The event culminated in a cocktail session as guests indulged in canapés and drinks at the bar, over conversations with old friends and new. Read more.

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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.

Events

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Family Office Circle Webinar: Philanthropy in Singapore and the Region

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John Doe
singapore skyline city scenery

The Community Foundation of Singapore’s (CFS) CEO, Ms. Catherine Loh, was invited to speak at a virtual closed-door Family Office Circle event titled Philanthropy in Singapore and the Region on the 22nd of July, organised by the MAS-EDB Family Office Development Team[1] in partnership with the Asia Philanthropy Circle (APC) and CFS.    

The event was attended by 55 international and local participants, involving single family offices and family foundations who had either set up or are setting up a presence in Singapore.

Ms. Kelly Teo, Deputy Director and Head of MAS’ Banking Development Division, observed in her opening remarks that there was an increasing interest among single family offices, especially those involving the next-generation, to give back to society such as through  philanthropy. This sentiment is corroborated by the UBS Family Office report 2020 which found that philanthropy is becoming the most important activity by the time of the third generation. However, many were unsure about how to start and who to give to. The Family Office Circle event was hence organised to share with single family offices about the philanthropy landscape and giving opportunities in Singapore and the region.

The crucial role of Philanthropy in Singapore

CFS’s CEO Ms Catherine Loh participated in a fireside chat, hosted by Ms. Stacey Choe, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of APC on Singapore’s philanthropy landscape, its gaps and opportunities.

Catherine spoke about the need for philanthropy in Singapore, despite being widely regarded as a wealthy country. She explained that due to the widening income gap, social inequality is deepened in our society, and philanthropic donations are needed to provide relief to those in need and to find long term solutions to reduce social inequality. 

While Singapore does not have absolute poverty, relative poverty is a concern here. Research has shown that a family of 4 needs between S$2,500 to $2,950 a month in gross household income to live decently. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the lower income more seriously than those with higher incomes.  The lower income and less educated are likely to find it challenging to pivot and adapt to a workplace that is changing due to technological advancements.   

Singapore also requires solutions to a rapidly ageing society.  Other critical areas of need would be looking at issues related to mental health and environment.  All these issues are critical to the future stability of Singapore.

When asked about how we could support those who are most in need, Catherine answered that she would prefer donors to ask what kind of social change they would like to see instead. She said that asking that question would lead to effecting long term change, for instance, helping the poor to get out of the poverty cycle.

Catherine also extolled the benefits of participating in philanthropy, citing that families who engage in it together are happier and pass down shared values to the next generation. Philanthropy also reduces the income gap and promotes cohesion in countries, and benefits the rest of the region as well through exchange of expertise and the replication of successful philanthropic pilot programs.

A Donor’s Giving Journey

Catherine was delighted to have Mr. Govind Bommi, the Founder and Chairman of Filtrex Holding Pte. Ltd, to share his inspiring giving journey as a donor of CFS and what motivated him to give.

CFS donor Mr. Govind Bommi came from very humble beginnings. He was born in Bangalore, India, to a family of six children who lived off a single income.

Despite his family’s modest background, it was his mother’s generosity towards the beggars who came to his house in the evenings that made the deepest impression on him. It was her philosophy towards helping others that struck a chord with him and formed the basis of his own giving nature, leading to the founding of the Andal Cares Fund, named in honor of his mother.

Mr. Bommi now considers Singapore his home, after moving here 20 years ago. He set up a water filtration and purification company, and says it’s best to participate in the community that one lives in and find out how best you can help others. Currently, Mr Bommi’s Andal Cares Fund is administered and managed by CFS, and supports rehabilitation programmes by the Metta Association. 

The Philanthropy Landscape in the region and its opportunities

The CEO of APC, Ms. Mafruza Khan gave an introduction to APC and the work that they do while COO Ms. Stacey Choe spoke about the philanthropy landscape in the region, its key trends and opportunities to build a better Asia through philanthropy together. She also shared about the unique challenges that philanthropists faced in Asia and suggested how philanthropists can convene together and collaborate to catalyze the necessary changes.

If you would like to learn more about philanthropy giving in Singapore, read here.

[1] A strategic partnership between the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Economic Development Board.

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