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

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

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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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Events

CFS Donor Learning Trip Series: Empowering ageing well at Yong-en Care Centre

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Charitable Business professionals standing before a screen.

This initiative is part of CFS’s Donor Learning Trips, a series of engagement opportunities that enable donors to personally connect with charities and gain insights into how they support communities in need.

Several seniors were playing a game. Seated in pairs, they were passing a large ball around. The challenge? Don’t drop the ball! There was laughter and cheers as the ball wobbled from one pair to another. This is one of many therapeutic activities at Dementia Day Care, a keystone service by registered charity 
Yong-en Care Centre.

Yong-en Care Centre’s Dementia Day Care is a lifeline for 31 seniors – all with moderate to advanced dementia – and their overwhelmed caregivers. The programme is funded by the generous donors of CFS.

In May 2023, 11 donors from 7 donor-advised funds (DAFs) took the time to join our first Donor Learning Trip this year, to Yong-en Care Centre, to meet with the charity and discover how it cares for the vulnerable elderly. Ageing Well is one of CFS’s five focal areas for grantmaking, where we curate programmes that enable our senior generation to remain active and purposeful for a better quality of life in their golden years.

Yong-en Care Centre began 27 years ago serving the destitute elderly in Chinatown. It has since expanded its outreach to the Chin Swee, Outram and Bukit Merah areas. Its services have also gone beyond food security and befriending to a full suite of support for low-income families, single mothers, home nursing care, dementia, and active ageing. It is an under-the-radar charity that is quietly and steadily making an outsized impact.

During the visit, donors learnt how music therapy is being embedded into dementia care, as well as the support and workshops offered to caregivers, many of whom are also old. The Dementia Day Care runs daily activities that engage the beneficiaries’ cognitive functions and improve their motor skills, including the pass-the-ball game witnessed by our donors. Such multi-sensory activities are specially curated to help persons with dementia manage their condition.

Donors also received updates on Home Care, another programme that receives grants from CFS donors. Yong-en Care Centre is one of the 24 home care service providers in Singapore and its nurses visit homebound seniors to provide personalised medical care.

Yong-en Care Centre is rapidly expanding its dementia care services and introducing more active ageing programmes. It is also collaborating with other community care providers to set up an integrated services hub for seniors and their caregivers at Chinatown Point. To accomplish these initiatives, the nonprofit relies on government grants and public donations. It does not use commercial fundraisers.

Through CFS, Yong-en Care Centre has managed to grow its donor base. “CFS connects us with donors who are truly aligned with our mission,” says Ms. Griselda Ong, director of Elderly Services at Yong-en Care Centre. In 2022, almost a third of funding (32.8%) for home care and 27.5% of funding for dementia day care came from CFS donors . “This support is significant as these critical services help the vulnerable age in place,” says Griselda.

“I have always been interested in supporting elder care,” says June Chia, a donor who set up a donor-advised fund (DAF) with CFS. “But there are many charities doing such work that I do not know of.” Through CFS, she learnt about Yong-en Care Centre.

June is inspired by Yong-en Care Centre’s impact on marginalised communities and its commitment to continuous progress. “I feel that my money is being well-utilised,” she shares. June appreciates CFS’s meticulous vetting of charities and our dedication to groundwork. Giving through a donor-advised fund (DAF) is also hassle-free, as CFS handles all the administrative work and provides regular updates on her fund.

I have always been interested in supporting elder care. But there are many charities doing such work that I do not know of. Through CFS, I learnt about Yong-en Care Centre and having seen first-hand what they are doing, I feel that my money is being well-utilised.

For Yong-en Care Centre, meeting donors face-to-face was a valuable opportunity to deepen their understanding of its unique care model and to engage with them on any questions they may have, says Griselda. In addition, it is also an opportunity to thank CFS donors who have been supporting the charity and build a lasting relationship with them.

CFS assists charities and their underprivileged communities by connecting them with donors who are seeking to support causes and crucial needs that resonate with them deeply.

To find out more about the causes we support, please visit www.cf.org.sg/what-we-support/.

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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Stories Of Impact

2020 Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award winner Natalie Koh: A talented musician with a heart for children with special needs

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John Doe
A woman gracefully plays the violin, showcasing her talent, dressed in a captivating blue gown.

Natalie’s first steps towards becoming a professional musician weren’t the easiest. Although she began learning violin at the tender age of five at her mother’s behest, Natalie barely passed her ABRSM exams in the fledgling years of learning the instrument. Nevertheless, it was her love for classical music and the violin that allowed her to persevere in her music-learning journey.

It was in her secondary and junior college years that she started developing a more well-rounded education in music.

‘I was in my school’s Higher Music Programme and Concert Band, instead of the obvious choice of String Ensemble. I also decided to involve myself in playing more orchestra and chamber music. I believe these experiences ultimately contributed to my growth as an aspiring musician, and allowed me to be more creative and expressive,’ Natalie explains.

Consequently, it was to her delight that Natalie successfully auditioned into Yong Siew Toh Conservatory back in 2016, where she spent four fruitful and rewarding years.

It was through the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory that the young musician broadened her horizons interacting with children with special needs. The Conservatory was working on a joint project with Superhero Me, an inclusive arts organisation that harnesses the creativity of art to empower children with and without special needs.

‘I realised that there were so many people whom I did not know about and that I did not interact with enough,’ says Natalie.

‘I felt compelled to learn more about the special needs community and connect with them more through art. Hence, I’ve been working primarily with Superhero Me since 2017 to facilitate art workshops and conduct music workshops. This December 2020, we are looking to stage a multi- sensory theatre production for children with autism, of which I am the composer and live musician.’

Whilst pursuing her undergraduate degree, Natalie received opportunities to perform in Japan and Canada in 2019 and 2020; two of the most memorable ones being the Chofu International Music Festival and the Musical Chairs Chamber Music Festival. The Chofu International Music Festival is led by renowned conductors Masaaki Suzuki and Masato Suzuki, and comprising professional musicians from top Japanese orchestras, like the NHK Symphony Orchestra and Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra.

‘I was thoroughly inspired and motivated by the high calibre of orchestra playing, and working side-by-side with professional musicians was unforgettable. The Musical Chairs Chamber Music Festival was held earlier this year in Montreal, Canada and was also coincidentally my last ‘live’ and most memorable performance before the COVID-19 restrictions,’ says the 22 year old musician.

Winning the 2020 Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award is a great honour for the young musician, and has definitely provided her with a boost of confidence. With the prize money, Natalie plans to fund part of her graduate studies in September 2021.

‘As a recipient of the Award, I will also have the opportunity to perform my own recital. I was supposed to have one as my graduation recital in April 2020 but alas, because of COVID-19 this was not meant to be,’ says Natalie regretfully.

‘I am glad that this opportunity to perform one last time is given to me, before I leave Singapore to pursue my further studies. After completing my Masters, I will return to Singapore and continue to teach the violin. I plan to start my own studio, and continue to perform as a freelancer in orchestras. I also hope to grow my portfolio as a community artist, to continue to share my passion for music with the special needs community and with people from all walks of life.’

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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

Retired doctor donates $1m to start new donor-advised fund

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John Doe
two elderly climbing up stairs

Dr Chua, a retired doctor, 80, gave $1 million to start the Bamboo Lotus Fund with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) in July after being inspired by another retiree’s donation of $1 million to start a charitable trust that he did the same thing. 

Describing himself as an “ordinary” general practitioner, and not a “highly paid medical specialist”, Dr Chua said: “I hope (my example) dispels the myth that only prominent individuals or corporate organisations can make significant donations. “To me, $1 million is a significant amount that will get others to notice and start to consider how much they can give too.”

Dr Chua, who has a daughter, said that helping others comes “naturally” to him and his family. Over the years, they have given “small contributions” to charity. But when he turned 80 this year and felt he may not “have many years left”, he decided to help in a more substantial way.

He plans to help disadvantaged women and families, and the arts and heritage through his new fund.

The retired doctor says bamboo, which signifies resilience, is his favourite plant, while lotus is one of the characters of his wife’s Chinese name. Thus, the Bamboo Lotus Fund was born.

It is one of 165 donor-advised funds under the Community Foundation. Donors pledge at least $200,000 to set up a fund. The foundation manages the money, advises donors on the needs in the community and disburses the funds according to their wishes.

CFS chief executive officer Catherine Loh said the number of donor-advised funds started to grow exponentially several years ago. At the start of 2018, there were 110 such funds. The biggest donors have given more than $20 million to set up their funds.

It took 10 years for the CFS to attract $100 million in donations for all the donor-advised funds set up by various individuals or companies. But it took just the past three years for that sum to hit $200 million, Ms Loh said.

The CFS was ranked third in a report on the 10 largest philanthropic foundations here.

Ms Loh said: “Through times of crisis like the pandemic, individuals have become more open and willing to give more sustainably to make their giving more meaningful.”

A growing awareness of the CFS’ track record has also attracted more donors to set up such funds.

They include successful professionals, retirees or individuals who are semi-retired, and companies.

They give to a wide range of causes, with mental health and the environment among those growing in interest, Ms Loh said.

Since its formation in 2008, the CFS has given out $122 million in grants to a variety of needs.

Dr Chua said: “I hope that this will inspire others in my profession or people of my age, to also donate their money before we pass on.”

To find out more about Legacy Giving, visit us at Legacy Giving or contact us 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

Seniors Colabs learning journey #3: St Theresa’s Home – where horses and hawker centres help seniors feel at home

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John Doe
A man guiding a horse through a room,with wheelchair bound people showcasing the unique bond between humans and animals.

While most people accept that ageing is inevitable, the prospect of spending their twilight years in a nursing home fills many with dread. It is not hard to imagine why. The mental associations are gloomy – sterile environments, impersonal care and intrusive communal living.

By tackling these stereotypes head-on, one local nursing home is determined to shift mindsets about residential aged care. Through its human-centred care philosophy, the management at St Theresa’s Home (formerly the Little Sisters of the Poor) firmly believes that as society progresses, nursing homes can be a conducive place for seniors to thrive as they age.

Early on a weekday morning, a group of Colabs participants from various sectors came to volunteer at an equine therapy session at St Theresa’s Home. Standing amidst the lush greenery, it was easy to forget that one was in a nursing home. Perched atop a hill, the sprawling estate’s pre-war architecture offers the warmth and charm of yesteryear, while providing shady nooks for gardening corners cared for by residents.

Joshua Chui, Deputy Director, took the team on his rounds. Calling out and responding to each resident by name, he stopped by Madam Rose (not her real name) and cheerfully asked why she was back on her wheelchair when she could walk the short distance previously. Mr Chui explained that residents are encouraged to carry out their activities of daily living as independently as possible. While there are set times for meals and baths, they are free to choose what to eat, when to begin and end their day, as well as what they want to do in between. Once a week, various groups of residents look forward to their breakfast outing to a nearby hawker centre.

A walk through the airy dormitories provided glimpses of the residents there. Photographs and personal knick-knacks were proudly displayed. The array of colourful bed linen reflected the residents’ individual tastes. Along the way, Colabs participants noticed that beds and wardrobes were thoughtfully angled away from each other, noting the home’s sensitivity towards the residents’ need for privacy.

Finally, at a quiet sheltered shed, two calm and stately horses stood ready for their ‘duties’. Their handlers and trainers from Equal Ark explained the workings and benefits of equine therapy for improving the psychological health of seniors. Working with the residents, Colabs participants were able to witness first-hand how interaction with the friendly animals lifted their countenance and spirits.

It was a thought-provoking morning for Colabs participants at St Theresa’s Home. The home’s commitment towards empowering seniors to live independently, while preserving each resident’s identity and dignity left a lasting impression. Their progressive approach, and vision for creating a community for seniors to age in a ‘home within a home’ encouraged and inspired everyone.

Colabs is a philanthropic initiative by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre. It drives collaboration by bringing together the public, private and social sectors to tackle complex social issues. It enables philanthropists, businesses, non-profits and sector experts to collectively build insights and co-create solutions for lasting change.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit dolor

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”。

admin bluecube
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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.

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