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International Women’s Forum Singapore: Empowering young women for a better future
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International Women’s Forum Singapore: Empowering young women for a better future

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They may come from disadvantaged families, juggling work with school, but that has not stopped them from pursuing their dreams or even helping others. For this, ten young women were presented with the 2016 International Women’s Forum (IWF)’s Education Grants on 30 September.

Managed by the Community Foundation of Singapore, the IWF Education Grants support young women who are currently pursuing a diploma or degree in local polytechnics or universities but face challenges in continuing their studies due to financial difficulties. Many come from low income families and need to work to pay school fees or supplement their household income.

Recipients are selected for their academic performance, as well as resilience and aspirations. During the selection process, the Education Grants Committee also highlighted that despite their difficult circumstances, many of the recipients still found time to give back to the community by taking part in voluntary work such as befriending the elderly and mentoring young children and teens.

At the dinner reception held at CapitaGreen and hosted by IWF Singapore leaders including Dr Aline Wong, Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, Arfat Selvam, Saw Phaik Hwa, Chong Siak Ching, Carmee Lim, Goh Swee Chen and Doreen Liu, recipients and mentors mingled and exchanged anecdotes and advice. The young ladies also took to the floor to share their struggles with work and studies, for some the responsibility of caring for ill or unemployed parents and above all their unwavering quest for further education.

The IWF women leaders applauded the strength and determination shown by the recipients and invited them to be ambassadors at the IWF Singapore 20th Anniversary Conference in 2017 so that they can continue to be an inspiration to others. As part of the mentoring programme, IWF leaders will impart guidance, career counselling and life skills to empower these young ladies for the future.

At the 20th Anniversary Conference, the organisation hopes to raise $250,000 to enable and empower even more young women to change the outcomes of their lives as well as their families’.

About the International Women’s Forum

The International Women’s Forum is a singularly unique organisation comprised of more than 6,400 dynamic women leaders in 34 countries and 75 forums around the world. IWF members span careers, cultures and continents, however, they are wholly aligned in their commitment to building better global leadership.

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News

Business Times: UBS, CampVision mentor 100 youths

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Group of people posing with President Halimah Yacob

President Halimah Yacob presented 100 youths with certificates after they graduated from the UBS-CampVision Lead Academy programme last Saturday.

The Lead programme partners youths with volunteer mentors from UBS to help them develop effective communication skills and self-leadership. The bank also engages executive leadership coaches to facilitate the learning process.

The programme is made up of 11 sessions conducted over six months. In addition to skills training, both youths and volunteer mentors are guided to develop and achieve personal goals relating to communication or self-leadership.

Since 2014, more than 230 UBS staff and 700 youths have participated in UBS-CampVision related events.

This year, over 40 volunteer mentors partnered 100 youths, aged 13 to 16 years, from seven schools.

“At UBS Singapore, we believe that we have a responsibility to the local community and we are honoured to help groom Singapore’s next generation through the Lead programme,” said Teo Say Lie, the country operating officer of UBS Singapore.

The UBS-CampVision Lead Academy is the cornerstone of UBS’ youth engagement efforts throughout the year.

Among the highlights are the Race Around the Marina Bay team-building event in January for underprivileged youths, which lets them learn about teamwork and leadership.

The Community Foundation of Singapore also helps to facilitate the partnership between UBS and CampVision, as well as the development of the Lead programme.
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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Opinion

Helping Earthquake Victims in Türkiye and Syria: Ways to Donate

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a group of people moving a pile of rubble

The earthquake that struck Türkiye and Syria on 6 February 2023 has become one of the top 10 deadliest earthquakes ever. Over 41,0001 people have been killed (as of 15 February), a death toll the United Nations expects will eventually exceed 50,0002. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred near the border of the two countries. Since then, more than 2,000 aftershocks have pummelled the devastated region.

The widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure has left millions of people without homes, access to clean water, and basic necessities.3 The disaster has also led to countless casualties and injuries. First responders from all over the world are working tirelessly to save lives. However, with each passing day, the focus is turning from search and rescue to helping the survivors in desperate need of aid.

Local authorities and international aid groups have rushed to mobilise humanitarian aid, including food, shelter, medical supplies, and clean water. UNICEF estimates that millions of children in the affected regions are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.4 The massive scale of the disaster, however, has stretched their resources thin. There are other serious challenges: freezing temperatures and snow have hampered logistical operations.5

Donations have generously poured in for non-profit organisations providing disaster relief in Türkiye and Syria. In Singapore, there was an outpouring of support through in-kind donations of warm clothing, blankets, diapers, baby food, and other supplies to the Turkish embassy. The Turkish embassy has since stopped accepting such items and encourages Singaporeans to make monetary donations instead, given the manpower and logistical challenges in processing and sending items to Türkiye.6

The sombre reality is that this crisis will have a “long tail”. Humanitarian aid groups warn that the earthquake will have an aftermath of needs that will require donations for months, or even years, after the initial aid missions end.7 For donors in Singapore, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) is your trusted advisor on how best to deploy your generosity to make a difference to earthquake victims now and beyond. 

For donors who prefer to donate directly to non-profit organisations that are providing aid on the ground, we recommend the following bona fide organisations:

Singapore Red Cross

Established in 1949, the Singapore Red Cross is the global humanitarian organisation’s local arm. It is a credible, transparent, and time-tested charity with a long track record of providing humanitarian aid and responding to emergencies. It is looking to raise $5 million for the Türkiye-Syria earthquake, which will support the needs of those affected by the disaster, including emergency shelter, first aid and food.

Mercy Relief

Headquartered in Singapore, Mercy Relief was established in 2003 to respond to human tragedies and disasters in the Asia Pacific region. Today, it is Singapore’s leading independent disaster relief agency with dedicated leadership, capacity-building expertise, and an affiliate network operating across the entire disaster management cycle. Mercy Relief has launched a fundraiser for the earthquake with a target of $100,000. The money will provide hot meals, ready and instant food, drinking water, hygiene kits, blankets, and shelter tents to the worst affected and vulnerable families.

Philanthropy can play a pivotal role in alleviating the worst of natural disasters. At CFS, we are encouraged by how so many have stepped up to help victims of the Türkiye-Syria earthquake. However, much more needs to be done, given the scale of this tragedy. With our donor-advised funds (DAFs), we enable donors to respond better to unexpected needs. By pooling our resources, knowledge and experience, we convene donors, charities and other organisations in the community to quickly support those in need.   

To learn more about our DAFs, please click here.

References: 

    1. BBC. (15 February 2023). Women pulled alive from Turkey quake debris nine days on. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-64653216
    2. Deutsche Welle. (12 February 2023). Turkey-Syria earthquakes: UN expects death toll above 50,000.
      https://www.dw.com/en/turkey-syria-earthquakes-un-expects-death-toll-above-50000/a-64677847
    3. Channel News Asia. (15 February 2023). Nine survivors pulled from Türkiye’s rubble as earthquake death toll passes 40,000. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/world/nine-survivors-pulled-turkiye-turkey-rubble-syria-earthquake-death-toll-passes-40000-3277481
    4. The New York Times. (14 February 2023). Quake Updates: Toll in Turkey and Syria Surpasses 40,000 Dead. https://www.nytimes.com/explain/2023/02/14/world/turkey-syria-earthquake
    5. Deutsche Welle. (11 February 2023). Turkey-Syria earthquakes: Grief ‘slowly giving way to anger’.
      https://www.dw.com/en/turkey-syria-earthquakes-grief-slowly-giving-way-to-anger/a-64672674
    6. Channel News Asia. (9 February 2023). Singaporeans flood donation centre with supplies in outpouring of support for Türkiye-Syria quake victimshttps://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/singaporeans-flood-donation-centre-supplies-outpouring-support-turkiye-syria-quake-victims-3266161
    7. The Guardian. (12 February 2023). Turkey-Syria earthquake: death toll rises to 33,000; baby girl rescued alive after 150 hours, Turkish health minister says – as it happened. 
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2023/feb/12/turkey-syria-earthquake-latest-news-updates-death-toll
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Opinion

Eileen Heisman: Donor advised funds are a flexible tool that can adapt to changing giving interests

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(Excerpts from a keynote speech by Eileen Heisman, President and CEO, National Philanthropic Trust delivered at the CFS Philanthropy Forum 2019)

When I was here in Singapore a decade ago as part of the Community Foundation of Singapore’s (CFS) international advisory committee, the idea of being involved in the global launch of a community foundation was so exciting to me. Everyone here was really eager to learn. They wanted to have impact. I knew CFS was going to set its own path.

Over 22 years ago, I was sitting in a dark, private cubicle trying to figure out what to do with this brand new charity I was part of. Today, National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) – which is the largest independent donor advised fund (DAF) administrator in the United States – has raised US$13 billion in charitable contributions and currently manages US$7.4 billion in charitable assets. In recent years, we’ve started making global grants of around US$700 million to over 75 countries.

I see a lot of similarities between CFS’s journey and my time in that small cubicle. CFS has raised S$130 million and given away S$70 million. With this incredible talent, opportunity and resources you have here, I believe there’s so much more CFS can grow as a community foundation.

What compels a potential donor to act? I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this question throughout my career working with donor advised funds. Just as every person comes to this earth with different gifts and backgrounds, donors have vastly different philanthropic goals. I’ve had the privilege of getting inside the thinking of donors and understanding what excites them about philanthropy. One of the biggest moments in my career at NPT was when a donor from New York City donated US$200 million to us. He was an early adopter and one of those people who saw opportunity.

I like to say donors don’t give to us, they give through us. Donor advised funds are flexible. They are relatively inexpensive. They can meet and adapt to changing interests. If you were interested in a cause when you were younger and that changes as you grow older, you’re not wedded to that particular cause because you can shape the fund according to your preferences. Philanthropy is also about legacy. A DAF is a tool you can spend down over your lifetime or you can pass it down to your children.

It’s one of the reasons why donor DAFs are the fastest growing philanthropic tool in the United States. The number of DAFs has doubled in the US over the last five years. In addition to Singapore, there is growing interest in DAFs in Asia, from China, India, Hong Kong to Japan. As a philanthropic tool, I believe DAFs are going to become more and more popular.

If I had to give a piece of advice to new donors: when you’re getting started with giving through DAFs, it’s important not to overcomplicate the process. Start simple. Find two or three causes you really like. Find one or two good charities in each of those categories, and support those charities over three to five years.

With any social issue, nothing gets solved within one year. In the social sector, we learn about solutions to existing problems from trying new things. Don’t be afraid to fund solutions that are new because it’s the only way we learn. It’s as important to fund failure as it is to fund success.

One of the wonderful things about being part of a community foundation is that it truly is a way to make the world a better place. Doing it with partners and the community’s collective effort makes the journey so much more enjoyable than doing it alone.

Eileen Heisman
President and CEO
National Philanthropic Trust

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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

The Tabung Project – Saving together for a better future

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a group of kids playing

Launched in 2013, the Tabung Project is a simple yet inventive micro-savings programme by the Healthy Start Child Development Centre (HSCDC), a childcare centre by Beyond Social Services serving children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

With generous support from a donor through the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), families who take part in the Tabung Project are encouraged to save in an innovative way. The idea is simple: every child brings home a tabung (“savings bank” in Malay) where family members and even the child are encouraged to contribute. Each month, Tabung Counting Days are conducted, and each child’s savings is then poured into a community savings pool.

Through a multiplier strategy, the collective savings are matched by the donor and government, yielding a greater savings deposit. The impact of the programme is that every dollar saved multiplies into much more as a result of this generous funding support. As an initiative which involves the whole family, the Tabung Project also inculcates an appreciation of the importance and benefits of saving together.

Today, over 84% of students at HSCDC are involved in the project. Based on review sessions, 70% of the participating parents have developed a positive mindset and culture of saving. Many of them have also expressed their gratitude for the project, which both motivates and helps them kickstart savings for their children, and enables them to tap the CDA funds for their children’s childcare and healthcare expenses.

“The Tabung Project is a small gesture toward a more inclusive society,” explains Gerard Ee, Executive Director of Beyond Social Services, “For low-income families who find it difficult to meet household expenses let alone save, their children will not have much in their Child Development Account (CDA) to meet their educational and healthcare expenses. This project is trying to help them meet practical expenses for their children’s well-being.”

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