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CFS participates in OCBC Sustainability Day
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Events

CFS participates in OCBC Sustainability Day

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a group of people wearing face masks at OCBC sustainability day

CFS is honoured to be part of the inaugural OCBC Sustainability Day! Our thanks to the Bank of Singapore for the invitation to co-host a booth at the employee-driven event themed ‘Sustainability – it’s all in our hands!‘. This initiative was created by a group of passionate and dedicated OCBC Bank Group employees known as SING (Sustainability Interest Networking Group), which aims to encourage every individual to make more sustainable choices.

The event was a tremendous success with hundreds of employees and partners who attended a mixture of virtual sessions, and a Bazaar showcasing OCBC Group’s sustainability achievements as well as companies showcasing green products and innovations.

CFS is honoured to be part of the inaugural OCBC Sustainability Day! Our thanks to the Bank of Singapore for the invitation to co-host a booth at the employee-driven event themed ‘Sustainability – it’s all in our hands!‘. This initiative was created by a group of passionate and dedicated OCBC Bank Group employees known as SING (Sustainability Interest Networking Group), which aims to encourage every individual to make more sustainable choices.

The event was a tremendous success with hundreds of employees and partners who attended a mixture of virtual sessions, and a Bazaar showcasing OCBC Group’s sustainability achievements as well as companies showcasing green products and innovations.

Learn more about our sustainability efforts at https://www.cf.org.sg/corporate-sustainability/ and the Legacy Giving Initiative at https://legacygiving.sg/.

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The Straits Times – Volunteerism rate needs to be 70 per cent with ageing population: Grace Fu

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A room of elderly people doing head exercises

In an effort to create a caring and empowering environment for its rapidly ageing population, Singapore hopes to double its volunteerism rate from one in three currently to 70 per cent in five years’ time.

“We hope for Singapore to grow as a giving nation with a volunteer in every household,” Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said in a keynote address on Tuesday (June 5) at the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network’s (AVPN) conference.

“We believe technology can empower and enable citizens to do good by providing time, money and resources to meet the needs of their neighbours and build stronger social bonds,” she added.

The conference at Suntec Singapore, which began on Monday, is the largest gathering of social investors in Asia, bringing together 1,000 delegates from 40 countries to address critical issues related to climate action, education and wealth disparity, among other things.

In her speech, Ms Fu noted the challenge faced by many countries: “In the face of technological advances that disrupt our businesses, our jobs, the way we communicate with one another; in the face of an ageing population that will change the societal structure and dramatically increase the need for social services; in the face of globalisation that may result in uneven economic progress for segments of society; our challenge is to activate and strengthen the social compact in the face of increasing social and technological divides.”

To that end, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre’s (NVPC) Giving.SG portal has grown over the past few years to more than 150,000 members who use the platform to find opportunities to volunteer and make donations.

More than S$100 million has been directed to charities through the portal, with over S$50 million distributed in the past 2½ years alone.

She said collaboration across the private and public sectors is key to achieving impact in the social sector.

“Corporations could step up and partner government and non-profit organisations to do more for the community. Recognising that there are important stakeholders other than shareholders, corporations should place social responsibility clearly as part of their score card.”

“Business leaders should move beyond conducting ad hoc, one-off sponsorship or events to incorporating sustained giving programmes as an integral part of their corporate strategy and identity. Companies benefit from the shared public assets of the societies in which they operate and should therefore in return deliver benefit to all these constituencies,” Ms Fu added.

She said social enterprises can play a critical role to achieve inclusive growth.

She said: “Social enterprises play an integral role in the ecosystem, by achieving social impact in an economically sustainable way. They bridge the people and private sectors, and deliver on both purpose and profit.

“Corporates can help grow the capacity of this important sector, by providing strategic counsel and business mentorship to social entrepreneurs.”

The NVPC and the Community Foundation of Singapore recently started Colabs, an initiative that brings together the public, private and social sectors to tackle complex social issues together at the same forum.

It provides a platform for philanthropists, businesses, foundations, non-profits and sector experts to focus on co-creating solutions for specific social needs.

The first Colabs series on children and youth catalysed two foundations, a multinational company and local non-profits to form a collective venture to help disadvantaged youth transit from school life to work life, with an initial pledge of more than $500,000.

Ms Fu said: “It is a targeted phase in youth and education, which needs very targeted outcomes to plug gaps, that sometimes impact the effectiveness of our programmes.

“So we know that there is a gap, the gap needs more than just financial resources; you will need expertise, networks and opportunities and that’s where the collaboration of various sectors make impactful interventions.

“Two other areas are also being explored – one on the engagement and employment of persons with disabilities; and another on seniors.”

By bringing resources and expertise together, the platform allows for better coordination, clearer focus and customised solutions that the beneficiaries require, she added. Read more.

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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Events

Colabs: doing more for persons with disabilities

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a group of people sitting around tables

As persons with disabilities reach age 18 and exit the school system, they face new life challenges, including living their desired life and gaining access to care and support. With a keen eye on identifying opportunities to improve the lives of these individuals, we kicked off the Colabs Disability series which focused on engagement pathways and employment through catalysing cross-sector collaboration.

As part of the series, participants were recently invited to the MINDS’ Idea Employment Development Centre to understand what a sheltered employment workshop in Singapore would look like. Made up of a diverse group, including social enterprises, corporates, philanthropic institutions, government agencies and non-profits, the group bonded over a common desire to learn and do more for persons with disabilities.

The group took part in various work stations at MINDS, where they interacted and worked alongside their clients. On a daily basis, clients were engaged in a wide range of activities, from seeding, retail, craft and kitchen work, to the packing of edible gifts, bottled water, and disposable earphones.

Next, participants gathered to share their aspirations for persons with disabilities, and their ideas on how the current model of sheltered employment could be improved. For many in the room, it was an eye-opening experience and a great chance to explore opportunities to contribute and collaborate.

Within the context of the sheltered workshop, companies and philanthropists can:

Create greater variety in jobs in workshops, or increase the number of jobs available, by connecting sheltered workshops with potential employers to explore and implement job re-design matched to the abilities of persons with disabilities, or encouraging companies to outsource certain tasks to persons with disabilities (e.g. event decoration, gift preparation, logistics). Much of this can be enabled by education and outreach to potential partners.

Provide a variety of social activities outside of work tasks in sheltered employment workshops, through partnerships with existing non-profits.

Improve the financial sustainability of running sheltered workshops by funding wages or subsidies, providing pro-bono services or skill-based volunteering to sheltered workshops in the marketing of existing products such as bottled water, food and gifts.

Companies and philanthropists interested in understanding how to work together with MINDS can contact the Idea Employment Development Centre to explore possibilities.

If you’re interested in what can be done to support persons with disabilities and their caregivers, the DesignSingapore Council has published an ethnographic study documenting how persons with disabilities live, work and interact with society, along with an illustrated overview of services supporting persons with disabilities. 

Some suggestions for collaborative solutions – based on the collective feedback of over 80 participants in the series – are outlined in the Colabs publication ‘A Call for Collaborative Giving: Bridging the Divide for Persons with Disabilities’ which can be downloaded here.

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CFS wins two awards at the Charity Transparency and Governance Awards 2019

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CFS posing with their awards at the Charity Transparency and Governance Awards 2019

CFS wins two awards at the Charity Transparency and Governance Awards 2019: The Charity Governance Award – Special Commendation for Governance and Management – and the Charity Transparency Award

CFS is honoured to have won the Charity Governance Award – Special Commendation for Governance and Management – as well as the Charity Transparency Award. Conferred by the Charity Council, we were privileged to be amongst a select line-up of outstanding charities that were recognised for exemplary disclosure and transparency practices at the Charity Governance Awards dinner on 3 December 2019.

About the Charity Transparency and Governance Awards 2019

 A total of 67 charities, including CFS, were conferred the Charity Transparency and Governance Awards for their overall excellent transparency and governance practices.

In addition, CFS was among the seven charities that won the Charity Governance Award

The Charity Transparency Award was first launched in 2016, to recognise charities with good disclosure practices that the Charity Transparency Framework recommends.

Inaugurated in 2012, the Charity Governance Award recognises charities  that have adopted the highest standards of governance, in line with the Code of Governance for Charities and IPCs. 

Exemplary governance and management practices

CFS is governed by a board of eminent professionals, selected via a rigorous process, who serve pro bono. They work closely with CFS’s management to steer the organisation in realising our strategic vision.  Our Board has set up several committees, with recognised experts as members, to ensure the organisation is run optimally with transparency, aligned with our mission and purpose. Since our inception, CFS has continuously invested significant resources to exceed expectations in governance, compliance and management. Part of the training process for board and staff is to highlight the importance of acting according to the highest standards. 

Sharing our lessons

Over the past years, our Board and staff have worked hard to ensure that we maintain these high standards across the organisation and in daily work. CFS’s steady growth in the last decade is testament to the trust donors and partners have placed on us, as well as the dedication of our staff.

CFS is honoured to attain this accolade and will be happy to share our experience other charities going forward. We found it especially useful to work closely with our auditors, who have provided valuable guidance and support. Charities can also draw on the helpful resources provided by the Commissioner of Charities and the Charity Council in Singapore, which we highly recommend. 

Looking ahead 

We are thankful to our partners and donors who trust our professional expertise to meet their giving goals. We are so grateful to our Board of Directors and committee members for their dedicated oversight and support.

“Ours is a business built on trust.  Good governance is integral to our success and that of our stakeholders. We will not rest on our laurels but continue to improve and innovate to ensure continued confidence in CFS,” said Catherine Loh, CEO, CFS.

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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

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

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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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