Stories Of Impact
Supporting ITE Students through COVID
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

Supporting ITE Students through COVID

John Doe
John Doe
A professional woman in a white shirt and tie stands confidently in front of a projector, ready to deliver a presentation.

As many as 80 percent of ITE students come from low-income families and are receiving bursaries from the government. Kintan Teo is one of them. Her family of four survived on just $800 a month before COVID-19 struck. Her mother, the sole breadwinner, was working as a cleaner.

When Kintan’s mother lost her job in April, the family had to use whatever meagre savings they had to get by. While Kintan’s mother sold baked and cooked food to generate some
income, her earnings were still insufficient to cover their utilities and other bills. Kintan, a Business Studies student at ITE, tried working part-time to supplement the family income but gave it up after a few months. She had to work four to five days a week for up to seven hours daily as a team leader at a chicken wing restaurant.

“The job was physically and emotionally draining. It was difficult for me to work and study at the same time. I didn’t have time to rest as I had to report for work immediately after my lessons and during weekends,” explained Kintan. Left with only five hours of sleep a day, Kintan was constantly tired and found it hard to wake up and stay focused in school. She also didn’t have enough time to do revision and her grades were affected.

Studies Come First
Like Kintan, Passenger Services student Siti Raudhah is struggling to cope with work and studies. Her mother, who works as a cleaner, is the sole breadwinner of her family of five. Since young, Siti has been aware of her family’s financial difficulties. After completing her ‘O’ Levels, she took on part-time jobs in banquet services and retail to supplement her family income.

Siti is currently working part-time at a clothing retail store but is clear that her studies always come first. “Working and studying at the same time is tough. As a slow-learner, I took a
break from my part-time job to catch up on my studies before resuming work. This is how I balance my studies and work,” explained Siti.

Help On the Way
More than 1,000 needy students are dependent on ITE for meals when they are in school. During the Circuit Breaker period, the Recess@Home scheme through the Sayang Sayang Fund made it possible for these students to continue receiving meals. More than $650,000 was contributed, enabling students across primary to tertiary levels to have at least one decent meal a day while on home-based learning.

In addition, some students like Siti receive additional aid under the Special Student Assistance Scheme (SSAS)-Covid, which provides emergency relief for students who are badly affected by the Covid-19 situation. With the help of the $100,000 donation from the Mind The Gap – Knowledge Funds, Siti and others like her have some emergency funds to fall back on to help them tide through this difficult period.

“The additional financial aid has helped my family. My mother is able to buy groceries and I am able to set aside some money for school and other necessities,” said Siti.

Photo credit: ITE

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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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News

Business Times: The beauty of giving to those you do not know

John Doe
John Doe
A snapshot of a newspaper Business Times: The beauty of giving to those you don't know

Govind Bommi, 71, is well known to regulars at the Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly.

The businessman and philanthropist spends his Thursday mornings volunteering at the Tampines centre, befriending seniors who are there to receive physiotherapy or other forms of rehabilitative care after conditions such as a stroke, Parkinson’s or arthritis.

He does not speak Mandarin or any of the Chinese dialects that most of the regulars are most comfortable with. But that’s been no barrier to friendship.

“You hold their hand, and usually offer the hand that they can use, as some are stroke patients. It’s all about connecting,” says Mr Bommi, a Singapore permanent resident and naturalised US citizen.

One might think this began with his decision to set up a charity fund in Singapore, after spending 20 years here. But Mr Bommi would tell you that seeds were sown far earlier in his childhood, by his mother’s selfless giving to people she did not know.

A mother’s influence
“We didn’t have much when we were growing up… it was hand-to-mouth,” says Mr Bommi, originally from Bangalore, India. All five children shared a small bedroom, and the family lived off their father’s hard-earned income. “Yet, whatever we had, we shared.”

He wasn’t speaking merely of siblings sharing. Beggars would knock at their doors each evening, and his mother, Andal, always found something to give. “It was not leftovers. Even though we didn’t have much, she would cook and keep some aside because she knew that they would come ask for food,” he recalls.

His mother’s largeness of heart only grew with time.

Once, as a grown man in his 40s, Mr Bommi made his annual trip back to India to visit his then 75-year-old mother. One of the first things she said? She had told a young man with a terrible skin problem, boils all over his face, to come see her son, and Mr Bommi was to take him to his doctor friends.

“I asked her, ‘Who is he? How do you know him?” And she just looked at me and said, “I don’t know. Do you have to know who he is, to help him?” That really struck a chord,” says Mr Bommi.

“When you want to help, helping someone you know is easier to do. My son, my child, my niece, my friend, my neighbour – when you have a “my” attached to anything, it is easier. It’s an extension of you, it’s easier to give. Now, to give to somebody that you do not know – that’s what my mother talked about.”

Mr Bommi himself has been on the receiving end of strangers’ kindness and giving too.

Arriving in the US as a 21-year-old, on money borrowed from a friend, Mr Bommi knew no one. Through those early months of adjusting to life in a foreign land and navigating the stress of changing schools and moving, he found some solace each night in lighting up a little prayer lamp his mother had given him.

A rough settling-in was made smoother by strangers who helped, says Mr Bommi. There was the Jesuit priest who helped him find accommodation, and then the Canadian-French family whose home he eventually lived in, among others.

These experiences led him to believe that most people are compassionate. “You see someone not well, hurt, the human instinct would be to go help. Thought manifests itself into words. Further on, the words manifest into actions… Most people will have the thought, but for whatever reason, it’s not shown.”

Taking action
Mr Bommi is not one to just let a thought be.

2015 marked his twentieth year in Singapore. He had arrived in Singapore as an expat, posted by his American company to be a regional director here. But when his term was up, he decided to stay on, started his own water filtration and purification business, and married a Singaporean.

Singapore is now home to him, he says. “I thought: now that I’ve settled down in Singapore, I wanted to do some charity work here.”

He had already set up a charitable foundation in India, Andal Cares, named for his mother. “All the blessings that we have – good health, good family, good wealth – all of that, we have to share…. We are only temporary keepers of this wealth – we have to share it. It’s been given to us for a purpose, to share.”

And so, he told his lawyer, he wanted to do the same here. But, he soon realised that it would take considerable time and resources to set a foundation up, find the right people to run it, meet governance requirements, and handle the administrative work involved. His lawyer pointed him to the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), as an option that could provide charitable fund management and philanthropy advice.

Given his desire to support eldercare services, CFS staff took him to visit nursing homes and rehabilitation centres to give him a better appreciation of Singapore’s eldercare landscape. Which is how he first discovered the work of Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre.

“Through the visits, I got a clearer idea of the different types and needs of eldercare support here. CFS helped to build on my interests, and hone in on the causes and impact I want to make, so that I could find a focus for my giving,” he said.

In March 2016, Mr Bommi started the Andal Cares Fund with S$250,000, under CFS, to support the Metta centre. He has since pledged to raise that sum to a seven-figure amount over several years.

Getting to know those you help
“CFS did an excellent job of setting up and managing my charitable fund, taking care of all the ground work for me – from evaluating programmes, conducting due diligence and disbursing grants, to reporting on impact. That’s a big relief for me as it frees up my time to concentrate on my volunteer work with the community,” says Mr Bommi.

His people-centred approach of giving also led Mr Bommi to support, through CFS, a pilot programme by Metta Welfare Association called “We are Bonded”. The programme introduces young befrienders to elderly persons, with the aim of building emotional bonds and enhancing well-being, while studying the benefits of inter-generational bonding.

“From my volunteer work with Metta, I observed that even though seniors are being physically rehabilitated, many of them experience loneliness or isolation and are emotionally withdrawn. Through this programme, we hope that we will be able to better understand and tackle the emotional issues of an ageing population.”

Because as much as he believes in the value of giving to those whom you don’t know, he also believes in getting to know the ones receiving his gifts.

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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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

Media release: Community Foundation of Singapore celebrates 10th anniversary

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John Doe
10 Years From giving to impact graphic
  • Over S$60 million in grants have been disbursed by the foundation, which now manages more than 110 funds.
  • Collaboration, legacy, and impact to be of focus in the coming years.

September 5, 2018 – The Community Foundation of Singapore (“CFS” or the “Foundation”) turns10 this year and marked the milestone with a celebratory event at the Arts House today. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu was the guest of honour at the event, which was also attended by more than 120 guests comprising donors, charities and other partners.

More than 110 charitable funds have been established with CFS since its inception in 2008. Over the past decade, it has raised more than S$100 million in donations and given out grants amounting to around S$60 million to over 400 charity partners that support a wide range of causes. These include animal welfare, arts and heritage, children, education, the environment, families, health, persons with disabilities, seniors, sports and youth. This puts CFS in good stead to help donors identify gaps and opportunities in the ecosystem, undertake due diligence on charities, and manage grants with a high degree of accountability to deliver lasting benefit.

“As an organisation known for its community knowledge, professionalism and strategic approach to giving, CFS has much to be proud of after a decade in the philanthropy sector. Singapore has progressed rapidly but the social challenges we face – from an ageing population to social inequality – have become more complex and interconnected. While the government tackles social issues on a large scale, there are gaps and needs that are in need of more support. It’s crucial for philanthropy to evolve to tackle these diverse issues within our community innovatively. By staying close to the evolving needs of diverse communities, CFS is able to consider the well-being of the community from multiple dimensions,” said Catherine Loh, Chief Executive Officer, CFS.

Collaboration is becoming increasingly important as it is impossible for a single player or the government to solve current social issues alone, given their complexity, scale, and scope. With collaborative partnerships, however, like-minded stakeholders can leverage their shared expertise, resources and skills to bring about change more effectively. In this spirit, CFS has partnered the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre to launch Colabs, a joint initiative that drives collaboration by bringing together philanthropists, businesses, non-profit organisations and sector experts to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and co-create solutions. Colabs recently released a guide that provides practical ways to help disadvantaged young persons in Singapore, following a series of roundtable talks and workshops attended by more than 100 representatives from 56 stakeholders with interests in this area.

Legacy is not only financial in nature, but also comprises personal and/or business values that are inculcated in children and handed down from generation to generation. With this in mind, CFS inspires donors to live generously and contribute to society in meaningful ways, giving in whatever capacity they can, regardless of the stage of life they are at. This resonates with donors, and more individuals are thinking about philanthropy even before they retire. Accordingly, the age profile of donors who set up individual funds with the foundation has evolved, with the proportion of donors doing so under the age of 50 increasing over the past decade. At the time of CFS’s inception in 2008, 14%* of donors were under 50. This percentage has since risen, with 40%* of all donors working with the foundation now being under 50 at the time their funds were established.

Moving forward, there will be an increasing focus on better assessing the impact of philanthropic initiatives on the community. To this end, CFS hopes to encourage more charity partners to incorporate output and outcome tracking in their programmes, taking both quantitative and qualitative measures into consideration.

*Based on the cumulative number of people who have set up individual donor funds, excluding corporate or collective funds. Some individual donor funds are established by couples and family members.

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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.

Stories Of Impact

Retired doctor donates $1m to start new donor-advised fund

John Doe
John Doe
two elderly climbing up stairs

Dr Chua, a retired doctor, 80, gave $1 million to start the Bamboo Lotus Fund with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) in July after being inspired by another retiree’s donation of $1 million to start a charitable trust that he did the same thing. 

Describing himself as an “ordinary” general practitioner, and not a “highly paid medical specialist”, Dr Chua said: “I hope (my example) dispels the myth that only prominent individuals or corporate organisations can make significant donations. “To me, $1 million is a significant amount that will get others to notice and start to consider how much they can give too.”

Dr Chua, who has a daughter, said that helping others comes “naturally” to him and his family. Over the years, they have given “small contributions” to charity. But when he turned 80 this year and felt he may not “have many years left”, he decided to help in a more substantial way.

He plans to help disadvantaged women and families, and the arts and heritage through his new fund.

The retired doctor says bamboo, which signifies resilience, is his favourite plant, while lotus is one of the characters of his wife’s Chinese name. Thus, the Bamboo Lotus Fund was born.

It is one of 165 donor-advised funds under the Community Foundation. Donors pledge at least $200,000 to set up a fund. The foundation manages the money, advises donors on the needs in the community and disburses the funds according to their wishes.

CFS chief executive officer Catherine Loh said the number of donor-advised funds started to grow exponentially several years ago. At the start of 2018, there were 110 such funds. The biggest donors have given more than $20 million to set up their funds.

It took 10 years for the CFS to attract $100 million in donations for all the donor-advised funds set up by various individuals or companies. But it took just the past three years for that sum to hit $200 million, Ms Loh said.

The CFS was ranked third in a report on the 10 largest philanthropic foundations here.

Ms Loh said: “Through times of crisis like the pandemic, individuals have become more open and willing to give more sustainably to make their giving more meaningful.”

A growing awareness of the CFS’ track record has also attracted more donors to set up such funds.

They include successful professionals, retirees or individuals who are semi-retired, and companies.

They give to a wide range of causes, with mental health and the environment among those growing in interest, Ms Loh said.

Since its formation in 2008, the CFS has given out $122 million in grants to a variety of needs.

Dr Chua said: “I hope that this will inspire others in my profession or people of my age, to also donate their money before we pass on.”

To find out more about Legacy Giving, visit us at Legacy Giving or contact us here.

This article was originally published in The Straits Times here. Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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Events

Singapore Youth Impact Collective helps youths progress from classroom to working life

John Doe
John Doe
A diverse group of individuals standing united in front of a sign displaying the empowering message "Together We Can.". (From left) James Tan, Tan-Wu Mei Ling, Justina Tan, Joyce Teo, Dr Ang Kiam Wee, Pang Sze Khai and Jacky Ang.

Despite the heavy rain on the morning of 9 October 2018, hearty drumbeats and festive excitement filled the air at Level 5 of Block A, ITE College Central.

It was the much-awaited launch of the Singapore Youth Impact Collective, a first-in-Singapore initiative that uses the collective impact model to empower disadvantaged youths to progress more smoothly from the classroom to fulfilling careers.

The Collective also launched two youth empowerment programmes – A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E by TOUCH with a new centre at ITE College Central and Youth Forte by SHINE.

Guests were treated to a rousing performance by ITE College Central’s Brazillian percussion group Batidas Centro whose energetic drumming could be heard even at Level 1.

CFS Deputy CEO Joyce Teo gave a short inspirational speech, saying: “We believe disadvantaged youth have the ability to achieve their maximum potential. We promise that we will work together to improve youth work-readiness by enabling our youth to have the academic and vocational qualifications, personal assets, and opportunities to succeed.”

After the Collective was launched, guests were invited to tour the new centre and try their hand out at its various recreational activities, such as video games and darts.

Students from the Adventure Facilitation interest group were also on hand to demonstrate some outdoor tips while the Barista interest group youths satisfied thirsty guests with the delectable gourmet coffee they had brewed themselves.

The Collective, which comprises Changi Foundation, the Community Foundation of Singapore, Credit SuisseOctava FoundationSHINE Children & Youth Services and TOUCH Community Services, was formed when the members recognised the complexity of social issues disadvantaged youths faced and realised that multiple stakeholders needed to work together to find effective ways to help them.

Industry partners who are able and willing to provide opportunities for internships and job immersion experiences for the youthsare invited to contact youthcollective@cf.org.sg to see how they can support these programmes.

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”。

admin bluecube
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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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