Stories Of Impact
The Funding Network (TFN)
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

The Funding Network (TFN)

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The Funding Network (TFN) is an innovative, inspiring and rewarding way for donors to make a real, positive difference to the community. The programme offers charitable organisations the opportunity to pitch their cause to a group or corporation to secure crowdfunding and mentoring as well as expand their donor base and network. TFN makes it possible for individuals, foundations and corporations to give collectively in increments starting from S$50, with an aim to raise at least S$10,000 for the non-profit. Here are some projects TFN successfully supported:

  • GoLi – The Moving Theatre

GoLi is a travelling theatre that goes around Singapore transforming community spaces into vibrant places for arts and culture. In 2014, the group secured funding from The Funding Network and other sponsors to kickstart the design and construction of an inflatable pop-up theatre. After a technical trial conducted in November 2014 to test its robustness, GoLi embarked on designing a second structure with a larger and more flexible capacity. The inflatable theatre finally made its official debut outside Toa Payoh Community Library at the Singapore International Festival of Arts in July 2015. 

  • Groceries With Love on Wheels (GLOW)

The National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) initiated Groceries With Love on Wheels in 2010 to deliver basic necessities to low-income and house-bound residents. On 7 June 2014, more than 550 volunteers distributed grocery bags to 3,000 needy recipients identified by People’s Association.

  • Lunch treats for the elderly

Dignity Kitchen takes the elderly and needy out for meaningful city tours and meals. The tours bring them to places of interest and nostalgia complete with a special lunch prepared by Dignity Kitchen. In April 2014, the social enterprise secured funding through TFN which enabled them to work with 18 eldercare centres and nursing homes to bring some 708 seniors out for a treat. 

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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

Singapore Tatler: Community Foundation of Singapore Celebrates 10th Anniversary

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A group pf individuals from CFS posing together

The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) was founded during a tumultuous time. Chairman Laurence Lien recalled that it was during the global financial crisis of 2008 and Lehman Brothers had just collapsed—hardly good news for a non-profit organisation that was set up to encourage and enable philanthropy in Singapore. But now, 10 years later, 113 charitable funds have been established with CFS, which has raised more than $100m and disbursed around $60m to over 400 charitable organisations in Singapore, said CEO Catherine Loh at its 10th anniversary celebrations at The Arts House, which was graced by minister Grace Fu as its guest of honour. Lien and Loh also paid tribute to its donors and charity partners, and encouraged one and all to not only give more, but give well and channel them for impact. CFS’ three-pronged focus in the coming years—collaboration, legacy and impact—will guide its purpose of building a philanthropic culture in Singapore.
Read more.

Speaking after the association’s annual general meeting at Kallang Netball Centre on Friday, Liang-Lin, a fund manager for a US$7 billion (S$9.5 billion) firm focused on green real estate investments in Asia, hopes to bring her expertise to the table and increase the amount of financial support for Singapore netball during her four-year term.

The 53-year-old took over from Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jessica Tan, who has been the association’s president since 2012. Tan had reached the end of her tenure, which saw the national team make several breakthroughs, including a gold medal at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.

Liang-Lin holds various appointments such as being Singapore’s representative to the G20 for Women appointed by the Ministry of Finance. She is also a board member of the Community Foundation of Singapore, which promotes philanthropy through facilitating the establishment of charitable funds.

She said: “One of the things that is overlooked when we look at philanthropy and fundraising is that sport is not really part of the things that people will automatically think about.

“Less than one per cent of the funds that we raise in the Community Foundation goes to sport. The values that sport brings need to be amplified more, so that corporates… see the need to support sport. I think that link needs to be stronger so that we get not just more corporate sponsors, but also they can come in for longer periods of time.”

While national agency Sport Singapore provides funding to netball, corporates can also do their part, she added.

She said: “If we play our cards correctly, we can get corporates to come in and hopefully support them, to see the wider purpose of sport and bring the nation together.”

She also hopes the association can be proactive in looking for financial support, adding: “We must work more strategically with governing bodies on educating corporates on the importance of really supporting sport.”

The former netball player also made references to the recent Women’s World Cup for football, noting the “ability for a game that focuses on women in the sport to bring global attention”.

She said: “I want that kind of trajectory of the limelight going to women’s sport. I think that is a trend that will continue, and I hope that netball will be part of that trend.”

Meanwhile, Tan was satisfied that she has achieved the three objectives she had set out to do when she came on board – to improve quality of play, build a fan base and create an ecosystem which involves coaches and players.

The 57-year-old added: “As much as I do feel sad about having to step down, but at the same time, leadership renewal is very important.

“I think Trina will help to galvanise the team together, and bring a lot of new perspectives and quality to the association.”

Join us in making an impact on Singapore sports scene! Reach out to us for more information.

Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media 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

Beyond cultural philanthropy: The art of making a difference

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group of musicians practicing together

Last month’s Patron of the Arts event was a spot of sunlight at a time of gloomy Covid-19 headlines. The fact that Singaporeans – individuals as well as corporations – are still strongly supporting our arts groups in cash donations as well as with in-kind gifts was a heartening takeaway for everyone who cares for the arts and cultural scene in our country.

The annual awards – alongside a similar counterpart in the heritage sector – are a meaningful way to thank those who have been generous to the cultural landscape. And I am sure patrons also enjoy being in the limelight for an evening and being recognised for the vital support that they give to Singapore’s culture.

Cultural philanthropy is important for sustainability in the sector as it complements the grants given by the Government and the income that groups earn from ticket sales, classes and other programming.

However, while awards may recognise more significant donors, in reality, everyone can play a part, and arts companies appreciate all contributions, big or small. The income tax deduction also serves as an added incentive.

But beyond philanthropic giving, there are numerous other ways Singaporeans support the cultural scene. For starters, there are the skilled but unpaid volunteers who help out in many arts companies, serving on the board or on one of the committees. Today, with many arts companies being charities and some even Institutions of Public Character, which can collect tax-exempt donations, the boards have the important role of ensuring compliance with the latest codes of governance.

Fortunately, many of our leading arts companies have volunteers from the corporate world, including bankers, lawyers and accountants, who can contribute their expertise and ensure companies are well run, with funds from donors and grant-givers accounted for.

Sometimes, where necessary, they even mediate the relationship between the artistic team and company’s administrators who manage the purse strings.

Supporting artists’ works

It is also important to remember philanthropic giving typically benefits these arts charities. So any largesse may not benefit the freelance musicians, creative writers and visual artists, unless they receive commissions from the companies.

That is why there is another kind of patron who should be recognised. These patrons visit the artists’ studios, check what they are working on, and acquire or commission new works as a show of support. This is not philanthropy that attracts tax deductions, but such patrons have been instrumental in sustaining the careers of the visual artists, especially in the early days of their practice.

One sterling example of how one individual can make a difference is architect, art collector and former chairman of the National Gallery Singapore Koh Seow Chuan. His support of, and genuine interest in, Singaporean artists from pioneer painters like Cheong Soo Pieng to young contemporary artists, is well known and documented in Singapore’s art history. Singapore needs more committed patrons like Mr Koh.

Corporations, too, can give work to home-grown artists through active commissioning. For example, Raffles Hotel, as part of its reopening earlier this year, commissioned a playwright and theatre practitioners to create a virtual whodunnit set on the hotel’s beautiful grounds.

Co-owning the arts

But why is giving to the arts important in the first place? Why can’t the Government just fund and take care of everything? Well, that is because the arts should be co-owned by the people, even if there is strong government support. This model also ensures a diversity of artistic expressions and encourages more ground-up creations.

For individuals who step up and offer their time, energy and financial wherewithal, I suggest that they are driven by a deeper desire beyond a personal love for an art form. They clearly understand that art created from the community has something unique to say about the world we live in, conveyed through an artist’s sense of aesthetics or personal philosophy.

Such individuals also appreciate how the arts can inspire, restore weary spirits, and bring joy to people. Thus, by enabling artists or arts groups, these engaged individuals enrich the larger community and by extension, the nation.

For those with both ambition and resources, individuals have even galvanised like-minded people with diverse skills to start an arts company. Two relatively new organisations that have made significant strides in recent years are the Jazz Association, which develops and promotes home-grown jazz talents, and Re:Sound Collective, which programmes excellent chamber music for classical music lovers.

This is the spirit we need to harness in the Singapore of tomorrow. Certainly, the Government has signalled that it welcomes more partnerships with the private and people sectors, and no doubt, it has the resources to enable growth. This, of course, means a joint ownership of the arts and the attendant challenges in artistic excellence and audience development.

For those with the interest, skills or financial means but have no idea how to navigate and support the cultural scene, here are some practical suggestions.

The National Volunteer And Philanthropy Centre provides a service that matches skilled volunteers with leadership roles in non-profit organisations, including arts companies. First-timers can always start with event-based volunteerism, or by serving on a sub-committee, before offering to contribute on a board.

For those with more substantial financial means, they can approach the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), which can advise them on how to start a fund to support the cultural scene.

The CFS has helped donors set up charitable trusts with an interest in giving to the arts, among other priorities, on a sustained basis. In particular, newly settled entrepreneurs or business owners from overseas could consider this both to support and better understand the Singaporean cultural fabric.

One area Singapore can do better is in how the Government and an active citizenry can jointly identify the gaps in specific sectors, and establish ways to work together on solutions and co-deliver the outcomes. The Government should not be expected to have its finger on the pulse of every part of society, and indeed may not also be in the best place to respond to every challenge.

Timely questions

For the arts, this is a timely question as the National Arts Council takes stock of its first five-year arts master plan and looks ahead to its next.

Should grooming pop music talent for export or developing community arts for positive social outcomes be a priority? What about adapting our home-grown literature across multimedia or facilitating more translations? And importantly, how can the people sector jointly own these priority areas?

The approach here applies to other parts of society as well – from the social sector to sports and the environment. A trusting partnership between the Government and committed citizens will lead to Singaporeans proactively owning challenges and gaps in specific sectors, encourage experimentation on new approaches while providing greater clarity to private funders and skilled volunteers on where to focus their energies.

Successful partnerships will also reduce duplication and inefficiencies, such as having too many parties with similar missions or chasing after the same demographic to provide services.

As existing non-profit companies make an objective assessment of their future and relevance to their stakeholders, government agencies will also need to reflect on how much more space they can cede to support the growth of the people sector to achieve such strong partnerships.

This will be critical for a resilient citizenry, as society matures and the people continue to grapple with the pernicious impact of a protracted pandemic.

  • Paul Tan is the former deputy chief executive of the National Arts Council and serves on a few boards of non-profit arts companies in Singapore.

If you would like to start your journey of effective giving, visit 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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Stories Of Impact

#MyGivingJourney X Jenny Wah: Transforming customer experiences to reignite growth

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#MyGivingJourney is a series by CFS where we feature extraordinary women in Singapore and their efforts in philanthropy. In our last feature, we have one of our own – Jenny Wah, CFS’s Director of Marketing & Communications.

Jenny Wah chalked up over 20 years of marketing experience at several MNC companies. She started in Key Account/Brand Marketing in the FMCG industry with brands such as Coca-Cola & Pokka. Then she spent the bulk of her marketing career in the IT industry with Adobe and Autodesk. She led global teams and worked with diverse clients all over the map. The demands were dizzying, as were her frequent flyer miles.  

It was a career that rewarded on many fronts. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, leaving many businesses and employees reeling. The pandemic was called a ‘great equaliser’; however, COVID-19 also revealed glaring inequalities in societies. For her, this was a period of introspection that led to a flash of insight and courage.  Jenny recalls: “I found myself wondering, what could I do that can contribute to a more equal society?”  

So when the opportunity to join the Community Foundation of Singapore came along, she decided to take up the role of Marketing and Strategic Communication Director.   

Equality of opportunity and social mobility have long shaped Jenny’s outlook towards a purposeful life. One of three children of a mechanic and a housewife, she understands the struggles of many lower-income families.  

Growing up, Chinese New Year was a particularly poignant time. For her, it was a window into how altruism can uplift lives: each year, the Chinese clans would give out bursaries to help students in need, as well as items like school books, shoes and uniforms. Jenny was one such beneficiary. 

Education was Jenny’s springboard to a better future. Armed with a B. Business (Honours) degree from NTU and later an MBA, she embarked on a career in sales and marketing, garnering a reputation for her can-do spirit and creative solutions. She often spearheaded her firms’ corporate social responsibility efforts as well, which she found fulfilling. Four years ago, she started volunteering as a museum host at the National Museum of Singapore, feeding her passion for culture and history. 

Crossing over to a nonprofit meant new challenges. Budgets were smaller and there weren’t as many hands on deck. Jenny learnt to work around this by tapping into her network for pro bono services and negotiating goodwill with vendors. She also had to build a team from scratch.  

However, all this was made easier by the warmth and commitment of the people she worked with. “Everyone double or triple hats and works together for the collective and greater good, never losing sight of the big picture” she notes. Most importantly, she adds, “I see my work here initiating positive change and making a difference.”  

Jenny believes that technology can deliver an impactful customer journey in a consistent, personalized and scalable fashion through transformative concepts such as marketing automation, nurturing through compelling content and relationship marketing. 

“For me ‘Customer Experience’ is not marketing fluff, it’s a work ideology that needs to be at the core of everything we do professionally. I believe that both ‘People’ and the ‘Promises’ we make are at the very heart of CFS’s Brand. I am proud to work in CFS which offers the unique opportunity to be a part of something that will profoundly impact society,” she says. 

Begin your own journey of giving with CFS. Read more about the #MyGivingJourney series here. 

This article was written by Sunita Sue Leng, a former financial analyst and journalist, who believes that the written word can be a force for good. She hopes to someday write something worth plagiarising. 

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Opinion

Giving mental health a boost – why it matters

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When the pandemic hit, seemingly overnight, daily routines and livelihoods were forever changed. Children could no longer play outdoors; youths saw lost time with friends, school, graduations and more; while adults straddle an ever-changing array of challenges – from coping with loss of work to additional care-giving duties. 

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