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Beyond One-Time Giving: Creating Lasting Impact
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Events

Beyond One-Time Giving: Creating Lasting Impact

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A poster for the Giving Week event, showcasing the spirit of generosity and community involvement.

SG Cares Giving Week (1-7 December) celebrates the spirit of giving. This is the time to share your time, talent, treasure and voice to support causes that you are passionate about, in all ways, big and small.

If you are considering making more lasting contributions that go beyond a single donation, CFS can help you transform your giving. Here are some ways in which you can make giving a sustained way of life:

  1. Get involved in philanthropy by setting up a donor-advised fund
    The philanthropic ecosystem can be a complex terrain to navigate. If you’re considering embarking on a philanthropy journey, setting up a donor-advised fund (DAF) with CFS is an excellent starting point. You could also invite several friends or family members to start a DAF together!Our philanthropy advisors will help you understand the needs of vulnerable groups and how you can make an impact in Singapore. You decide which causes to support and how much funding to provide. We handle the administrative details of grant-making, allowing you to concentrate on making the difference that truly matters to you.

    To learn more about setting up a DAF, visit How to Get Started

  2. Use your time and talent to make a difference
    If you are looking to make an impact with your skills and spare time, volunteering with a non-profit organisation is a great way to do this. At CFS, we are passionate about raising awareness about various causes through a variety of channels. Whether you’re a proficient writer, skilled photographer, or possess other creative abilities, your involvement can help us craft compelling content and engaging multimedia that drives our mission forward.

    You can find out more details here:   Content Writer , Photographer/Videographer

  3. Leave a legacy for future generationsEach of us holds the power to create a lasting legacy by designating a portion of our financial assets in our will or trust. By choosing to leave a legacy gift with CFS, you pave the way for future generations to carry forward your values and aspirations for the community beyond your lifetime. It is a way to ensure that your impact on causes you care about resonates long into the future.

    You can also establish a donor-advised fund in the name of a loved one. A memorial fund is a wonderful way to honour their legacy and continue their work.

    It is never too early to plan your legacy gift. To learn more about legacy giving, visit https://www.legacygiving.sg/

    SG Cares Giving Week is a key initiative of the national SG Cares movement held annually from 1 to 7 December, that celebrates the spirit of giving and seeks to make giving part of our way of life. It is organised by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) in collaboration with SG Cares Office and National Council of Social Service (NCSS). Support the movement at givingweek.sg.
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Events

CFS Change Matters Series: Mens, Manus and Machina – How AI Empowers People, Institutions & the City in Singapore

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Charitable Business professionals standing before a screen.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will be a disruptive influence on society, for good as well as ill – and there is a duty to provide a sense of hope, upfront, that humans will be able to prevail.

That was the core message of the inaugural CFS Change Matters Series talk, “Mens, Manus and Machina – How AI Empowers People, Institutions & the City in Singapore”. It was delivered on 21 June 2023 by Professor Jinhua Zhao, Associate Professor of Transportation and City Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“Mens”, “manus” and “machina” are Latin for “mind”, “hand”, and “machine” respectively, and the title plays on MIT’s motto, “mens et manus”. The title of the talk is also the name of a multi-disciplinary collaborative project between MIT and Singapore’s National Research Foundation. The collaboration is co-led by Prof Zhao, and aims to address the following questions:

  1. How will we design technology and train humans to build the skills and habits for human success in a robotics-heavy environment?
  2. How will we adapt our social and business institutions to create the incentives and protections for innovation and human welfare?

In his talk, Prof Zhao shared four key insights into AI.

1. AI will transform, rather than reduce, demand for workers

Enablement, not elimination, of workers

The aftermath of the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) saw the rise of the machine, leading to a major change in the way we worked. This did not, however, reduce overall demand for workers.

Citing economist James Bessen, 1 Prof Zhao noted that the number of ATMs in the USA grew rapidly from the 1970s, when the first ATMs were installed in banks. However, the role of the bank teller was not eliminated, but enabled. Bank tellers now focused on value-added services centered on human interactions, which could not be replaced by ATMs. As such, the number of bank tellers increased.

Employment grows along with automation

While automation has led to displacement and job loss, there has historically not been a fall in overall employment. Increased productivity from automation, as well as the growth of new human desires over time, have created entirely new jobs and industries.

This has led to an overall increase in employment; in fact, the 2018 US Census counted that more than 60% of jobs in 2018 had not yet been “invented” in 1940.

2. AI is not all the same

Expert versus Learning Systems

AI systems generally fall into two categories: expert systems and learning systems.

  • Expert systems rely on predefined rules and a knowledge base to mimic the expertise of specialists.
  • Learning systems, such as machine learning, mimic the way the brain learns and processes information.

Discriminative versus Generative Models

In addition, AI systems mainly adopt either a discriminative or a generative model in relation to their inputs.

  • Discriminative models classify or discriminate between different inputs, based on their features.
  • Generative models learn the patterns and relationships within the data input to generate new samples that resemble the original data.

The ubiquitous ChatGPT, for example, is a Large Language Model, an example of a generative model AI that can produce human-like chat responses.

3. The real impacts of AI on society

AI will replace white-collar jobs, not blue-collar jobs

While the Industrial Revolution replaced manual workers, AI’s superior analytic and generative skills enable it to replace white-collar jobs like office workers and scientists.

For example, a Google-developed AI known as AlphaFold was able to significantly outperform human scientists in the field of protein structure prediction – a feat normally requiring decades of expertise from humans.

As such, it is “highly skilled” white-collar jobs that may be at risk from AI – a concerning proposition for developed economies that depend heavily on these jobs.

The response of social institutions will determine the impacts of AI

The impact of AI does not occur in a vacuum. Tapping the beneficial impacts of AI on living standards depends on how successfully social institutions can take advantage of it. For example, society must continue to be responsible for providing financial safety nets for those displaced by AI, and for caring for seniors who may find it harder to adapt.

These institutions must also respond to not just the economic challenges, but the social challenges of AI. Citing the intellectual Yuval Noah Harari, Prof Zhao noted that generative AI, for example, could destroy the ability for people to have meaningful conversations – and undermine democracy in the process.2

4. Science, government, and individuals can respond to AI productively

Science can help us control AI

Science must solve the alignment problem3 in order to develop beneficial AI – which takes only actions that achieve human objectives and preferences. Otherwise, AI could unintentionally act in a way that is destructive and harmful to humanity.

Governments can educate humans to fill areas that AI cannot

While AI is powerful, it is not superior to humans in all areas. Humans are better than AI at:

  • Creativity: being able to apply knowledge from one area to another area
  • Dexterity: tasks involving manual dexterity
  • Social intelligence: conducting “social negotiations” with humans, such as knowing when it is safe to turn while driving
  • Long-term planning: being able to break long-term plans (e.g. a 5-year plan) into shorter increments

With that in mind, governments should focus education on creativity and communication, as well as critical thinking: the ability to judge, and to ask the right questions. This prepares students to become evaluators, directors and planners, instructing AI to act on their goals.

The role of teachers will also change as AI evolves and becomes deployable at scale as an individual, customized teaching assistant. AI will enhance students’ learning and help teachers understand students; teachers will be tasked with socially engaging, empathizing with, and supervising students, rather than merely delivering content.

Individuals can change their mindsets to be resilient in the face of AI

Finally, the impact of AI, and job displacement, on individuals will not purely be economic. It will be personal as well, given how central work is to our social and emotional lives, and to our sense of purpose.

Individuals can make the following mindset changes, in order to be resilient:

  • Adopting a lifelong learning mindset: this means developing new skills while working, rather than focusing on academic learning as preparation for work.
  • Adopting a flexible mindset: understanding that while change is the new normal, humans have always had the capacity to adapt. This is especially important for youths.

Final thoughts: how philanthropy can respond to AI

Philanthropists reading this may wonder: how do I respond to the challenges posed by AI? CFS is Singapore’s first community foundation, with 15 years of experience and a network of over 400 charity partners. We leverage our experience and grantmaking expertise to identify and evaluate key opportunities for individual and corporate donors to make greater impact.

We think the following giving approaches may be valuable to respond to AI:

  • Supporting seniors to age well in the community, so they remain cared for and are not left behind.
  • Enabling youths to access quality education, through schools and Institutions of Higher Learning, and prepare for the AI-empowered future.
  • Funding efforts to improve employability, so that individuals develop the skills they need to keep working.
  • Ensuring that mental wellbeing is supported, to help individuals build the resilience to cope with changes.
  • Tackling climate and environment issues, to mitigate and adapt to this additional source of negative disruption.

To find out more about CFS and our leading role in Singapore’s philanthropy ecosystem, please click here.

CFS would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our donors Oliver Kwan and Helen He from the Evergreen Changemaker Fund for their invaluable support and extending the invitation to Prof Zhao, which made this event possible.

References

1 Bessen, James. “Toil and Technology.” Finance & Development 52, no. 1 (March 2015): 16–19. https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2015/03/pdf/bessen.pdf.

2 “Yuval Noah Harari Argues That AI Has Hacked the Operating System of Human Civilisation,” The Economist, April 28, 2023, https://www.economist.com/by-invitation/2023/04/28/yuval-noah-harari-argues-that-ai-has-hacked-the-operating-system-of-human-civilisation.

3 The problem of aligning AI with humans’ objectives and values.

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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

Donor-advised funds can make a meaningful impact in Asia

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Such funds give donors more say in the philanthropic process, and can lead to donors being tipped off about underfunded causes. These funds also make it possible for non-millionaires to do their bit.

WHAT do Jack Dorsey, Larry Page, Elon Musk, Jack Ma and Mark Zuckerberg have in common in terms of their charitable giving?

All of them have used donor-advised funds (DAFs) in short. DAFs are popular in the United States, with over US$140 billion sitting in these accounts. In Asia, DAFs are relatively new with only Singapore, China, South Korea and Japan setting them up.

What exactly is it? In a DAF, the donor transfers money or other assets to another entity called the sponsoring organisation. While the sponsor legally owns the assets, the donor is given a huge say in determining when the fund is disbursed and causes to support, hence the name “donor-advised funds”. Typically, the sponsoring organisation will provide advisory services to the donor on how to effectively utilise the funds.

At this juncture, a reader may ask what is the difference between a DAF and an organisation like the Community Chest in Singapore, which raises funds for multiple charities?

The major distinction is the role of the donor in the DAF, as compared to the donor making an outright contribution to charity. In a DAF, the donor is an active participant, working in collaboration with the sponsoring organisation, in disbursing funds.

Let us say, we have a philanthropist who wants to make a S$1 million contribution to educational causes. While S$1 million is certainly a lot of money, it is insufficient to set up a private foundation due to the administrative costs involved. A donor who uses a DAF may direct the funds to support worthwhile causes in education, while being properly advised.

In many cases, the donor is a wealthy person who may not be familiar with what is happening on the ground. Therefore, the sponsoring organisation adds value by providing advisory services.

In this example, the sponsoring organisation may, after doing due diligence, recommend that the donor disburse funds to underfunded causes like pre-school, technical and special-needs education.

DAFs can also function as an emergency fund for a “rainy day”. For instance, there could be an emergency societal need like children living under Covid-19 lockdown conditions, who are now deprived of sponsored school lunches. Money from DAFs could then be channelled to fund food vouchers for their families during home-based learning.

In fact, this was the cause championed by The Recess@Home programme spearheaded by the Community Foundation of Singapore, a DAF.

BENEFITS OF DONOR-ADVISED FUNDS

A DAF is attractive to donors because of the many benefits it offers.

First, the DAF gives the donor a greater role in the philanthropic process. This sense of satisfaction that the donors get may encourage them to give more to charities in future and set up a private foundation. In fact, in setting up the first DAF in Singapore in 2008, then Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Vivian Balakrishnan, described it as a “starter kit for foundations”.

Second, the donor is supported by DAF sponsors, who are intimately aware of the needs of the community. Therefore, the funds can support the causes that are desperately in need.

Third, the DAF, if properly used, may achieve maximum impact by making contributions to underfunded areas. Fourth, the donation to a DAF need not be a cash gift, but may take the form of company shares or other non-cash assets. Finally, some countries provide requisite tax breaks to donations to DAFs.

The biggest advantage of the DAF is democratisation of philanthropy from the ultra-high net worth families to individuals who have a modest sum to donate. A heart-warming example is the story of the late Kim Gun-Ja, who set up a fund with the Beautiful Foundation, a South Korean DAF. Ms Kim, a sex slave under Japanese rule, donated all her assets save for funeral costs to set up the Grandmother Kim Gun-Ja Fund to support college tuition for orphans. In Singapore, a DAF may be set up with a minimum sum of S$200,000.

Recently, DAFs have come under trenchant criticism in the United States; some quarters have called it a form of “zombie” philanthropy. The main critique is that donors enjoy tax breaks while disbursing too little to charities. Some have called for a law that mandates the DAF to pay out a certain percentage annually. While this criticism of DAFs is legitimate in the United States, it may not apply to DAFs in Asia, where tax breaks are not the primary motivations behind philanthropic giving.

DAFS IN SINGAPORE

There is anecdotal evidence, at least in Singapore, that the level of disbursements to charities is quite high. For example, the two DAFs in Singapore, the Community Foundation of Singapore and SymAsia Foundation Limited, show a high payout rate to charities. The Community Foundation of Singapore has collected S$192 million and disbursed S$114 million in grants. SymAsia Foundation Limited stated in its 2020 annual report that it collected S$170 million and disbursed S$120 million. In fact, donors are conscious that they ought to disburse more to charities.

RISING PAYOUTS DURING THE PANDEMIC

There is currently a campaign in the United States called #HalfMyDAF, where donors are committing to granting half of the money sitting in their DAFs to charities. During this pandemic, there are reports in the United States that payouts from DAFs to charities have indeed been higher, even as critics push for the payouts to be even more accelerated. In contrast to the cautious and structured giving inherent in DAFs, there is McKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, who upended the philanthropic world by donating US$6 billion in 2020.

With proper governance, DAFs yield a net-positive over the Asian philanthropic space, compared to an informal channel of giving that relies on one’s family and business contacts. A DAF provides a structured and cost-efficient vehicle that democratises philanthropy and identifies societal needs that are underfunded. It is hoped that there would be more properly governed Asian DAFs set up, with high payout rates to charities to tackle difficult domestic and pressing transnational problems of our time, like climate change.

To find out about donor-advised funds, read more about it here.

This article is written by Professor Tang Hang Wu, CFS Board Committee Member and a professor of Law at the Yong Pung How School of Law, Singapore Management University.

This translated article was originally published by The Business Times.  

Credit: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.  

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News

The Peak Singapore: How responsible businesses can make their philanthropic dollars travel further

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picture of CFS CEO Catherine Loh sitting on a chair

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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Opinion

Collaborative giving: How it creates social change

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exciting launch of Singapore Youth Impact Collective with youth leaders and supporters.

Ubuntu– it’s an ancient and beautiful concept from South Africa often used today to convey how a community is the building block of society. In South Africa, it simply means: “I am, because of you.”

Today, with technology and the lean towards strategic, outcome-focused giving, the spirit of ubuntu endures in the form of collaborative giving. Giving together is rapidly gaining traction as people recognise the complexity of social issues and the need for many helping hands.

Collaborative giving can take different forms, but it simply describes individuals coming together to pool their time, treasure or talent towards creating social change. Each model of collaborative giving differs with regards to the level of collaboration and involvement partners exert to achieve a certain outcome.

A spectrum of giving models
Online giving platforms and group funding opportunities empower a wide spectrum of donors to easily contribute to a cause, without requiring further engagement. Giving circles offer members a platform to get more involved, where members not only pool resources but meet to learn about social issues for more informed decision-making.

On the other end of the spectrum is collective impact – a specific model of collaboration that offers the greatest potential for social impact when harnessed well. Here, major actors from different sectors commit to a specific agenda for solving a particular social issue. Collective impact initiatives are distinct from other forms of partnerships because they share a centralised infrastructure, a common agenda and shared system of measurement, and continuous communication amongst partners.

Empowering collective giving
At the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), we count it as our mission to enable donors to learn and tap on these different models of collective giving.

In 2018, the Singapore Youth Impact Collective became the first local initiative to adopt the collective impact model for tackling a social issue. Several multi-sector partners – with CFS as the backbone organisation – are working together to help disadvantaged youth transit more successfully to work-life. The collective was formed when its members participated in Colabs, a philanthropic initiative by CFS and the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre intended to deepen understanding and drive collaboration towards addressing community needs.

Over the years, we have also grown our Community Impact Funds which support under-served causes and are open to givers from all walks of life. While collaboration may be the way forward for larger scale change, we believe fundamentally in the strength of giving as a community, for the community.

By putting the opportunity for social change back into our own hands, we hope to nurture the spirit of ubuntu, of interconnectedness and shared humanity – and we sincerely hope you pass the flame on too.

Joyce Teo
Deputy CEO
Community Foundation of Singapore

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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”。

Picture of admin bluecube
admin bluecube

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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