Impact lives through savvy giving
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Impact lives through savvy giving

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John Doe
Four women standing together in a room with a table, engaged in a conversation and displaying a sense of camaraderie.

Make savvy giving a legacy in your life: that was the clarion call to around 100 donors, charities and partners at the Community Foundation of Singapore’s (CFS) Lunar New Year lunch held in February.

“Being savvy in giving is about going beyond the usual traditions of supporting general fundraising campaigns, to deliberately taking charge of generosity,” shared Christine Ong, Chairman of CFS in her opening speech, “It’s about planning and thinking deeply about how to create a powerful effective result, to improve things and impact lives.”

Signaling a new phase for CFS in her first year as Chairman, Christine outlined CFS’s ambition to nurture “a nation of savvy givers” to create a more caring Singapore.

“The signature of a savvy giver or philanthropist, is to be bold and informed, curious and committed, and enthusiastic about putting into practice their beliefs and hopes for a better world,” she explained.

To this end, Christine highlighted that CFS would work on championing new giving by reaching out to donors and making giving easy and meaningful. Moving forward, CFS would also continue to drive collaboration for change, provide professional learning opportunities to the local sector and develop CFS’s organisational culture and capacity.

The lunch also saw the announcement by CFS for a new nationwide Legacy Giving Initiative – an ambitious project to help donors making savvy giving a legacy in their lives.

CFS wants to make legacy gifts a social norm in Singapore, and for donors to consider giving at every stage of their life journey.

The three-year initiative will be launched in the latter half of 2020. It aims to reach out to three audiences: donors, professional advisors and charities by promoting awareness, building and sharing knowledge and supporting action.

As Singapore’s only community foundation, CFS is fortunate to build on over 11 years of experience, to bring donors, charities and other stakeholders together.

Rounding off the lunch, CEO Catherine Loh thanked CFS’s donors, Board, partners and charity partners for their support as CFS turned a new page in its history. “We will be embarking on new initiatives and pursuing innovations as we build towards the future. Our Legacy Giving Initiative will further strengthen CFS’s position as the go-to philanthropy resource in Singapore, benefitting donors and charities alike,” she shared.

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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


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



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联合早报: 领导基金会教师奖得主: 激发特需学生学习兴趣比成绩更重要

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John Doe
a picture of two teachers holding The Leading Foundation Teacher Award

胡洁梅 18 October 2016


郭正才(33岁)在特别需求者协会东陵学校(APSN Tanglin School)任教,是今年领导基金会教师奖的得主之一。

领导基金会教师奖(The Leading Foundation Teacher Award)自前年起颁发,目的是肯定学前教育工作者、特别需求教师和教育协作人员(Allied Educator)在专业领域的卓越表现。


今年共有四人得奖,另三人是人民行动党社区基金会(PCF)Sparkletots学前教育中心教师帕敏吉(Parvinjit Kaur)和扎希拉(Zahirah Bte Surian),以及圣加俾尔中学教育协作员贾雅然(Jeyaram s/o Kadivan)。


他分享说,今年中带领几名学生到新加坡科技设计大学举办的“制汇节”(Maker Faire)参展,由学生介绍他们的三维打印作品。参观者在反馈单中反映对学生作品的欣赏,好些公众表示并没发觉他们是来自特别学校。



另一名得奖教师帕敏吉(36岁)曾是骨科矫形外科助理,因为喜欢与孩童互动,六年前到PCF Sparkletots学前教育中心(兀兰第677座)教书,边工作边进修学前教育课程。她间中也曾到AWWA的特别教育学校工作一年。



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Stories Of Impact

Restoring the Mental Health of Girls Who Have Survived Abuse: HCSA Dayspring Residential Treatment Centre

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John Doe
A festive gathering of individuals seated around a beautifully adorned Christmas tree, radiating warmth and joy.

Clara* was just fifteen when she attempted suicide for the first time. She had believed her father’s violence was normal. It was not until she spoke to a psychiatrist that she realised violence and sexual abuse were not something that happened in every family. On her sixteenth birthday, after a second suicide attempt, Clara entered Dayspring Residential Treatment Centre (DRTC).

Our teenage years are when we develop crucial social and self-management skills, a time when the foundation for a successful adult life is laid. Survivors of childhood trauma often grapple with its long-term effects throughout their lives, underscoring the critical need for early intervention.

“Children are precious gems. For the ones who could not grow up in a safe and caring environment, they are placed into therapy group homes like HCSA DRTC. We work in teams to help the girls manage their trauma. I also do whatever simple ways I can in their recovery journey to help them see that the world is not as bad as it seems.”

Child Abuse: A Growing Problem

Regrettably, cases of child abuse have been rising annually for the past decade. In 2021, the Ministry of Social and Family Development investigated 2,141 cases of child abuse, marking the highest number in 10 years.

The majority were cases of neglect, which jumped 143 percent from 375 cases in 2020 to 910 cases in 2021. Physical abuse, usually the most common form of abuse, was the second-highest form of abuse in 2021, and child sexual abuse cases also saw a 70 percent increase in 2021.


HCSA DRTC: Healing Trauma and Nurturing Futures

HCSA Dayspring Residential Treatment Centre (DRTC) was established in 2011 to provide a caring, safe, and therapeutic environment for teenage girls who have suffered neglect, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.

DRTC’s beneficiaries include girls aged 12-18 assessed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to have moderate to high trauma needs and who are facing persistent difficulties with behavioural and emotional issues.

By employing effective clinical therapies, the centre aims to help these girls become healthy individuals capable of successfully reintegrating into their schools, families, and society.

The girls live at the centre for 12 to 18 months and undergo a clinical programme that comprises three key phases to work through their trauma and restore their mental health.

The initial phase focuses on safety, stabilising the child while building trust and a sense of security. Following this, the regulation-focused treatment aids in teaching coping techniques to manage emotions and behaviours effectively. Finally, the beyond-trauma treatment provides tools to prevent relapses.

A value-based system guides each girl to align her actions with her values and aspirations, empowering her to take charge of her life. When she is ready to graduate, a six-month aftercare programme prepares the girl to rejoin her family, if it is safe for her. If her family home is unsafe, the programme prepares her to live with a foster family or assists her in transitioning to independent living.

An Urgent Need for Capacity Increase

As a certified Trauma Systems Therapy organisation, the most severe cases of complex trauma and abuse are referred by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to DRTC.

Owing to the extensive resources and continuous, vigilant care necessary for these cases, MSF has imposed a limit, allowing DRTC to cater to a maximum of 12 girls concurrently. The operational expenses for maintaining this capacity amount to approximately $1.5 million annually.

With the rising number of child abuse cases and the urgent need for specialised trauma treatment services, DRTC is pushing to increase its resident capacity from 12 to 29.

To aid this expansion in services, DRTC will require additional funding and is calling for volunteers to help as befrienders and trainers.

“Caring for these young survivors is not just about healing wounds; it’s about shaping resilient futures,” says Gerard Wong, Senior Executive, HCSA Community Services. “We appeal to the generosity of CFS donors to join hands with us in expanding our outreach, impacting the lives of these young women, and offering them the chance to heal from adversity and rewrite their stories.”

Shining a Light on a Worthy Cause

CFS has supported DRTC since 2020. To date, CFS donors have contributed $70,000 to support the centre’s operating costs. The contributions go towards the salaries of therapists and staff, running costs of the residence, and food for the residents.

As testament to the programme’s impact, Clara says, “Dayspring turned out to be a strong pillar of support, helping me through difficult times in school and with my family. Even when I experienced suicidal thoughts, the staff never gave up on me and remained understanding and patient.”

“Surprisingly, when I saw my father for the first time after entering Dayspring, I was not angry at all. I felt at peace. I realised I had forgiven him. I told him that I believed he was a good person deep down. I understood: it is through forgiveness that we free ourselves and others from the invisible shackles that once held all of us down. This was when I knew how much Dayspring had changed me.”

To find out how you can support HCSA DRTC, please contact CFS.

* ‘Clara’ is not her real name. Her full story can be found at The Birthday That Changed My Life.

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CFS wins Charity Transparency Award for the second time

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It is important that we continue to work together to foster a safe giving environment for Singaporeans, so that we can support the causes we believe in. So that Singaporeans can step forward to support the causes that they believe in with a peace of mind.

For the second time, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) is greatly honoured to have won the Charity Transparency Award at the Charity Transparency and Governance Awards 2022. The accolade, given out by the Charity Council, recognises CFS’s exemplary disclosure and transparency practices. 

CFS was one of 85 charities that received the Charity Transparency Awards this year. This is the highest tally since the awards were launched in 2016 and is an encouraging sign that more charities are implementing better transparency practices. The record number also indicates that disclosure and accountability standards are strengthening in Singapore’s philanthropic sector. 

The ceremony was held on 9 November 2022 and Mr Edwin Tong, Minister of Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law graced the occasion. Our Chairperson, Ms. Christine Ong, received the award from the Commissioner of Charities, Mr. Desmond Chin. Organised by the Charity Council, the Charity Transparency and Governance Awards lauds nonprofits for their stellar efforts in upholding governance and building public trust in the sector. 

At CFS, transparency is a critical element of the philanthropic equation. “Transparency builds trust and ultimately leads to better engagement and giving,” says Catherine Loh, CEO of CFS. “We believe in being open about our organisation, performance, priorities, and impact and communicating this clearly with all stakeholders. As a leading foundation and grantmaker, CFS is grateful to be a repeat winner of the Charity Transparency Award. We will continue to strive for the highest standards of transparency to honour the trust placed in us by our donors and to continuously improve to better serve our charity partners, funders, and the wider public,” she adds. 

Since our inception in 2012, good corporate governance has been a central pillar of our operations and management. CFS is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of experienced and dedicated professionals from the private, public, and social services sectors. The Board ensures that CFS’s work is effective and responsible, monitors outcomes, and is accountable to donors and regulators. 

As an organisation that bridges donors and charities, CFS is committed to uplifting standards and sharing knowledge within the philanthropic ecosystem in Singapore. We regularly make available information about our activities, programmes, operations, audited financials, Board, and management through our annual reports, website, and social media pages. 

CFS is thankful to our Board of Directors for their expert guidance and leadership, which has helped transform us into a leading philanthropic intermediary in Singapore. We would also like to thank our many partners, our growing community of donors, and our supporters for their continued trust in our work to make giving more accessible and impactful.

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Stories Of Impact

Over $9 million raised for CFS’s Sayang Sayang Fund benefitting over 130,000 beneficiaries

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The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) launched the Sayang Sayang Fund (SSF) in Feb 2020 as an emergency response fund, aimed to benefit Singapore’s underserved communities impacted by COVID-19.

As a result of the keen generosity from Singapore’s general public, over $9 million had been raised, enabling the SSF to expand its scope to support nine initiatives to ensure that the most vulnerable in Singapore’s communities did not fall through the cracks. This was made possible through CFS’s highly proficient understanding of grantmaking and close collaboration with our valued community partners. This was swiftly translated into impact supporting 298 grantee organisations and 136,000 beneficiaries.

“It is with great pleasure that we thank all our partners and donors for their unwavering generosity in such times of adversity. CFS is honored to have brought together so many people from all walks to life to help those most vulnerable in need. 

Without everyone’s support, neither the Sayang Sayang Fund nor its initiatives would have been birthed. We are humbled and proud of the part that CFS has played to be able to be in such a privileged position to do what we did,’’ says Joyce Teo, Deputy CEO of CFS.

Some of the initiatives that were supported by the SSF included SeniorsOK@Home, which provided relief to seniors unable to leave their homes because of social distancing measures, Recess@Home, which provided meal subsidies for needy students during their Home Based Learning (HBL) period and MigrantsOK@Home, which extended care towards our migrant workers in the form of free top-ups in their prepaid cards to call their loved ones at home.

The emergency response funds were able to reach recipients promptly due to the Fund’s nimbleness, alongside the combined efforts of informal grassroots networks and community groups outside of the regular charitable bureaucratic systems.

A summary on the SSF funds disbursed so far

CFS aims to disburse all of the donations raised to our allocated partners and beneficiaries. To date, over $7 million has been disbursed. The charity partners were required to provide a comprehensive report on how these funds were used and whether they were fully utilised.

Giving relief to migrant workers

CFS worked with Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME), Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) and Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) to provide funding for our migrant workers, whose assistance has been invaluable and support to this community would not have been possible without their help.

In total, $200,000 had been disbursed by the MigrantsOK@Home initiative through our partners, benefitting 90,000 migrant workers with care packages and free prepaid top ups.

“We are very happy to have CFS partner with us to support our migrant workers in the factory-converted dormitories,” says MWC Chairman Yeo Guat Kwang. “We are really very thankful to everyone for giving a helping hand to our migrant workers in this challenging time.”

Aiding the elderly with AIC

More than $1.5 million was also disbursed to seniors for assistance through the SSF through the SeniorsOK@Home initiative, who received immediate aid, food supplies, necessities and medical supplies.

CFS collaborated closely with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and other agencies to distribute relief to this particularly vulnerable community. Much needed funding was delivered to nursing homes and other community care providers to enhance precautionary measures during the pandemic, and also to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the staff and residents of more than 90 community healthcare organisations.

300 infrared thermometers were also developed and distributed by CFS through the initiative, and helped to reduce the manpower required for temperature taking at nursing homes, hospices and eldercare centers, where manpower was sorely lacking during the COVID19 period.

‘’During this period, it is important that we combine efforts with our partners to support seniors in a timely manner. The Sayang Sayang Fund, within a short time frame, has helped to channel significant and meaningful support for our Community Care partners and seniors,’’ says Tan Kwang Cheak, CEO, AIC.

Distributing meals to needy students with the Ministry of Education (MOE)

Much credit goes to CFS’s partnership with the Ministry of Education with the Recess@Home initiative. The persistent efforts of the dedicated civil servants in MOE shone through, as they worked tirelessly with CFS in disbursing funds to needy students in the fastest way possible.

More than $1.3 million has been disbursed through MOE to the Recess@Home initiative and helping more than 28,000 needy students to receive their meals. The subsidies were disbursed via top-ups to the students’ School Smartcard which students could use to purchase food and essential groceries at some hawker centres, food courts, minimarts, convenience stores and supermarkets.

“Thank you for helping us with our daily expenses during the circuit break period. It really helped our family financially as our parents do not have enough money to give us pocket money every day. Having this really helped us because sometimes we try to save the money our parents give us. We are really grateful because not many people have this opportunity.’’ said Primary 6 sisters, Liyana and Hanayani.  

Putting a roof over the heads of rough sleepers with SafeSleep@Home

For the initiative SafeSleep@Home, almost $200,000 was disbursed to help more than 300 rough sleepers to find shelter during the circuit breaker period and obtain more permanent housing in the long term. The funds also went towards providing them with daily necessities and food supplies.

CFS has collaborated with four charity partners to provide temporary housing, overhead support, and home transition funds for over 300 individuals, including families. About 10 percent had successfully transitioned into long-term permanent housing, while the rest are in the process of doing so.

Other Community Grants disbursed by CFS

Through our community partner Filos Community Services, CARE packs were distributed to 250 vulnerable and isolated elderly and 50 low income families. These CARE packs contained tip sheets on hygiene, hand washing, use of masks, home exercises and helplines. Essentials such as antiseptic soaps, dettol, vitamin c, tissue packs, stretch bands or water bottles to be used for home exercises, thermometers, biscuits and milo, hand sanitizer and masks were also included.

CFS also supported community partner Petapis, and provided funds to purchase essentials to 4 of their residential welfare homes to mitigate the risks of the infection such as personal protective equipment (PPEs) and thermometers. 300 beneficiaries benefitted from the essentials that the funds provided.

“The Sayang Sayang Fund’s measure of success is not by how much it has raised, but by the number of smiles on the faces of all the people it has helped. I feel tremendous gratitude for our partners both government and community, who have come together so compassionately to give aid to those in Singapore who are most in need. Thank you for your steadfast efforts and generosity,’’ says Catherine Loh, CEO of CFS.

To find out more about Sayang Sayang Fund, please visit

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