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The case for philanthropy in the arts
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Events

The case for philanthropy in the arts

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At the second edition of Art World Forum 2017: Creating Markets: Opportunities, Challenges and the Mainstream held on 27 September, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) was invited to present the significance of philanthropy for the arts to an audience of art, thought and business leaders from the sector.

Moderated by Anne-Marie Clavelli, Head of Development and Strategy at CFS, along with Kola Luu, Director of Partnership Development from the National Gallery Singapore, the panel session on Art x Philanthropy: An Opportunity touched on two key questions: What is the value of the arts in a dynamic society like Singapore? Can philanthropy play a more strategic role in increasing a city’s cultural capital?

Both Anne-Marie and Kola backed up the discussion with statistics showing that while giving to the arts has been on the rise, it has also yet to mature to its full potential. Arts and Heritage only accounted for 7.1% of philanthropic donations in 2016, as compared to Social and Welfare (32.2%) and Education (25%)*.

“Why is it important for the private sector to become more involved in funding the arts?” asked Anne-Marie, “What we’ve seen across our work in CFS is that philanthropic efforts do not “substitute” government funding for causes, but address the gaps within an eco-system that the government might not be able to tackle.”

“The private sector can deliver a much-needed boost through sustained giving to the arts sector. This is particularly important as it takes time to cultivate and nurture the next generation of artists and audiences.”

Kola also noted foundations such as the Li Ka Shing Foundation and Temasek Foundation have recently added ‘building social capital’ as a key philanthropic goal. He added that art institutions could work towards demonstrating that their cause goes beyond mere art appreciation, and the arts contributes to future proofing the economy by nurturing a new generation of thoughtful, critical thinkers.

Charlotte Koh from the National Arts Council posed a question to the panellists regarding the need for strategies to sustain giving to the arts, in the face of yearly fluctuations in donations. While Kola highlighted that philanthropy to the arts should be viewed as a long-term endeavour which naturally has its ups and downs, Anne-Marie sounded an optimistic note, “Ultimately, giving to the arts is about the value of creativity in society. Singapore is a creative society, and donors will want to reflect that in how they spend their charitable dollars.” 

News coverage on the event by Luxuo can be read here.

* Source: Commissioner of Charities Annual Report 2016
Photo: Art World Forum

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S’pore couple plan to leave money to charity after their death in new campaign to promote legacy giving

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SINGAPORE – It was their son’s degenerative eye disease that set ophthalmologist Dr Audrey Looi and her neurosurgeon husband Dr Ang Beng Ti on the path of philanthropy.

The couple were devastated around a decade ago to find out that James, now 19, suffers from Stargardt’s which causes progressive vision loss, when he was in primary school.

To make matters worse, there was a serious lack of programmes then to support children with low vision in their educational and other needs, Dr Ang, 51, said.

In 2011, the couple set up the charity iC2 PrepHouse, which teaches children with low vision the skills to cope with daily life and supports them to remain in mainstream schools.

They now plan to leave $200,000 or more in their wills to set up an endowment fund to support the iC2 PrepHouse’s work and to fund scholarships for needy undergraduates of the Singapore Management University (SMU).

James is now a business undergraduate at the SMU. The Angs have two other children, aged 13 and 21.

Dr Looi, 50, said: “So instead of giving it (our wealth) all to our children, we have started thinking about putting aside a part of it for charity. I think we have to be a little less self-focused and to give back to society.

“We told our children that they can contribute to the fund (in future). And I would like to think that our kids can manage without this sum we are giving to charity.

“Long after we are gone, we have this charity that continues to provide help for children with low vision. iC2 PrepHouse is our family legacy.”

The couple are among the donors fronting the “A Greater Gift” campaign in a three-month drive to promote legacy giving that was launched on Tuesday (Nov 24) morning.

The campaign was started by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), a charity which promotes philanthropy here.

Legacy giving is broadly defined as future donations to charity, such as in the form of leaving money or property to charitable causes after one’s death.

Ms Catherine Loh, chief executive of the CFS, said the charity has seen more interest in legacy giving in the past few years, by people from different demographic groups including singles and married couples without children.

However, she added that Singaporeans’ interest in legacy giving lags behind Western societies, noting that it is taboo in Asian cultures to talk about death and even writing wills.

She said it is changing though.

“People think that legacy giving is only for the very rich. But we want to tell people, nothing is too small. We want to change this concept that it’s only for the very rich.

“Another thing people think is that if they give a legacy gift, their children will not have anything. We want to say it’s not an either-or (situation) and they can consider leaving a part of it (their wealth) to charity,” added Ms Loh.

While there are the uber rich who are leaving millions to charity after their death, some charities have also received as little as $10,000 from a person’s estate, she said.

The CFS will provide resources to help charities engage their donors on legacy giving, among its efforts to boost this form of philanthropy here.

Besides the Angs, the other donors who are part of the campaign include MP and lawyer Nadia Ahmad Samdin, 30, and venture capitalist Hian Goh, 46.

In their campaign video, Ms Nadia said she went to school with the help of financial assistance and now wants to help at-risk young people, while Mr Goh wants to create opportunities for innovators to reach their full potential.

Mr Goh is a co-founder of the Asian Food Channel, a pay-television channel now known as the Asian Food Network.

Source: The Straits Times

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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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The Straits Times: From school to workplace: Help for disadvantaged youth

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Two young people sitting on a couch, engrossed in a box of games, enjoying their leisure time together.

By Rahimah Rashith

2 new programmes offer vocational training and workshops under 3-year ITE initiative

To help disadvantaged youth transition smoothly from school into the work environment, a three-year initiative was launched at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) yesterday to offer them workshops and vocational training.

It is made up of two programmes.

The first, Youth Forte, is offered by Shine Children and Youth Services. It targets 17-to 21-year-olds who are not in school or training and have problems finding work.

They will receive evaluation, individual coaching, employability skills training, internships or project-based experience and vocational training leading to a Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) certification. The programme aims to help young people learn more about various career fields through exposure to the industry. They will also receive individual life coaching.

The second programme, called A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E, is offered by Touch Community Services in partnership with ITE. It works with industry partners to provide students with structured training and certification for a particular job, such as coffee making or outdoor camp facilitation.

Called the Singapore Youth Impact Collective, these programmes come after the social service sector recognised that, while education can help bridge social gaps, environmental factors – such as negative social influences or the home environment – can hinder youth from reaching their full potential.

Changi Foundation, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), Credit Suisse, Octava Foundation, Shine and Touch are behind the initiatives.

To date, Changi Foundation, Credit Suisse and Octava Foundation have pledged close to $1 million towards the programmes.

CFS deputy chief executive Joyce Teo said the collaboration will help to address the complex social issues facing young people.

Last month, 17-year-old Natasha Chan, a first-year digital animation student from ITE College Central, learnt the art of coffee-making over two days through the Touch programme. She was trained by the Dutch Colony Coffee Co chain and is now thinking of becoming a barista.

“I learnt how to grind coffee beans and brew a cup of coffee,” she said.

“It is a skill I would not be able to pick up in my course. Learning this has widened my skills.”
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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Lianhe Zaobao: By encouraging participation in interest groups to improve skills, youth collective helps students plan their careers

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People showcasing how to pitch a tent

王晓亚
工艺教育中区学院的谭嘉燕参与学校的户外探险兴趣小组,成功克服恐惧完成绑紧跳,并学到野外求生技能,让她在职业规划上多了选择,考虑未来成为一名露营指导员。

一次绑紧跳的经验,让19岁的谭嘉燕在成长过程中经历改变,也用所学到的新技能为未来职场做好准备。

谭嘉燕目前就读于工艺教育中区学院人力资源与行政系一年级,因喜欢户外活动,两个月前加入学校的户外探险兴趣小组,并跟许多其他科系的同学一起参加为期三天的户外露营。

其间,参与绑紧跳让她印象深刻。她说,自己原本就惧高,从没想过有朝一日会有勇气从七层高楼跳下去。“以前参加过的露营,只要是高空项目我都无法完成。但这次同学和指导员不断鼓励我,我就跳下去了。”

跳下的一瞬间,谭嘉燕对于自己的勇气感到惊喜,战胜恐惧后也更有信心面对生活的挑战。

此次别具意义的户外露营经验,也让谭嘉燕学会如生火、煮饭、搭帐篷等不少野外求生技能,让她在未来职业规划中有了更多选择。“兴趣小组还与企业或机构合作,让我在之后有机会去实习和进修,也许未来能够成为一名真正的露营指导员。”

户外探险是新加坡青年影响组织(Singapore Youth Impact Collective)旗下项目的兴趣小组之一,该组织昨早于工艺教育中区学院为两个新项目及一间名为“APTITUDE”的新活动中心举行开幕仪式。

青年影响组织在2017年由樟宜基金会、触爱社会服务及新加坡社会基金会等六家企业组成,目的在于通过鼓励工教院的学生参与不同兴趣小组,教导相关技能,帮助他们提升专业课程之外的职场技能。

除了兴趣小组,新开幕的APTITUDE活动中心设有沙发、会议桌、电玩机及多款桌面游戏卡牌等休闲设施,是学生课余时间交流玩耍的安全场所。

截至目前,青年影响组织已为项目投放近100万元运转资金,开放给年龄介于17至25岁的工教院学生。主办方希望在未来三年内让230名学生受益。
Read more.

Tan Jiayan of ITE College Central participated in the school’s outdoor adventure interest group and successfully overcame her fear of bungee jumping, as well as learnt outdoor skills. This in turn provides her with more choices in career planning, and she is considering becoming an outdoor instructor in the future.

The experience of bungee jumping enables 19-year-old Tan Jiayan to develop life skills, and also prepares her for the future workplace with the new skills she has picked up.

Tan Jiayan is currently enrolled as a first year student of Human Resource and Administration at ITE College Central. She likes outdoor activities and joined the school’s outdoor adventure interest group two months ago, participating in a three-day outdoor camp with other students.

The bungee jump left an impression on her. She has a fear of heights, and never thought that she would have the courage to jump from a seven-story building. “In previous camps, I couldn’t complete any high-altitude activities. But this time, with the encouragement of my course mates and instructors, I could do it.”

At the moment of jumping, Tan Jiayan was pleasantly surprised by her courage. After overcoming her fear, she is more confident to face other challenges in life.

This unique outdoor camping experience also allowed Tan Jiayan to learn a range of outdoor skills such as fire-starting, cooking, tent pitching, so that she has more choices in her career planning. “The interest group also works with companies or organisations which may offer me opportunities of internship or further training, and maybe become a real outdoor instructor in the future.”

Outdoor adventure is one of the interest groups enabled by the Singapore Youth Impact Collective, which launched two new programmes and an event centre called ‘APTITUDE’ at ITE College Central yesterday.

The Singapore Youth Impact Collective consists of six organisations including Changi Foundation, TOUCH Community Services and the Community Foundation of Singapore. It aims to help students from the college to improve their professional skills by encouraging them to participate in different interest groups and pick up workplace skills.

In addition to the interest group, the newly opened APTITUDE centre also has leisure facilities such as sofas, conference tables, video games and a variety of table games. It is a safe place for students to socialise and play in their spare time.

Up till now, the Singapore Youth Impact Collective has invested nearly $1 million in operating funds to support the programmes which are open to students of ITE colleges between the ages of 17 and 25. The organisers hope to benefit 230 students over the next three years.

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”。

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Meet Singapore’s newer philanthropic foundations: They give millions, seeking to spark social change

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picture of lew chee beng and chua thian poh

Lew Chee Beng (left) founded the Lew Foundation in 2015, while Chua Thian Poh and his siblings set up the Chua Foundation in 2015.

Self-made businessman Lew Chee Beng, 73, is giving away a substantial part of his fortune through a foundation. Since he founded the Lew Foundation in 2015, it has donated more than $12 million to charitable causes. Mr Yeo Puay Hin, the foundation’s executive director and Mr Lew’s son-in-law, said of his father-in-law: “He came from humble beginnings, so it’s about gratitude – to give back to society and helping those who are disadvantaged.”

The Lew Foundation was the 16th-largest philanthropic foundation here, giving out $2.8 million in donations in 2019, according to a recent report on the largest foundations here. Mr Lew, who has four children, built his wealth from a range of businesses, such as Soon Huat Goldsmith and pawnshop chain Shing Heng Group. The foundation’s main focus is to help the vulnerable elderly and young people, and it does so through supporting healthcare and social services serving these two groups. For example, it is supporting about five nursing homes, fulfilling Mr Lew’s late mother’s wish of setting up a nursing home.

The Lew Foundation is one of the newer foundations listed in a recent report by Soristic Impact Collective, a consultancy, that shed light on the largest philanthropic foundations here in terms of expenditure. The research found that foundations set up by some of Singapore’s richest men are among the top 10 biggest givers out of the 91 foundations here. The Lee Foundation, founded by the late rubber tycoon Lee Kong Chian in 1952, topped the list, disbursing $52 million in donations in its latest financial year. 

In total, the 91 foundations spent over $264 million in their latest financial year to support a variety of causes, from education and healthcare to people with disabilities and environmental causes. And beyond the big bucks the foundations are giving away, what is noteworthy is that about 40 per cent of the 91 foundations were registered as a charity since 2011, a Straits Times check found.

Soristic’s principal consultant Pauline Tan said the growing number of the very wealthy here and a growing interest in philanthropy are driving the rise in the number of foundations set up in the past decade. There is also a growing ecosystem to support philanthropy, she said.

This includes the Asia Philanthropy Circle, a platform for Asian philanthropists to collaborate and address social problems, and The Majurity Trust, which provides philanthropic advice and grants.

Among those registered as charities in the past decade are corporate foundations, such as Keppel Group’s Keppel Care Foundation and Changi Airport Group’s Changi Foundation. The Keppel Care Foundation was ranked 13th on the Soristic report, while Changi Foundation took the 20th spot.

Then, there are individuals who made good in life who set up foundations in the past decade.

They include the Chua Foundation (29th) and the TL Whang Foundation (57th). Property magnate Chua Thian Poh, founder of Ho Bee Group, and his siblings set up the Chua Foundation in 2015. The TL Whang Foundation, registered as a charity in 2019, was started with donations by Mr Whang Tar Liang and his family. He is the younger of two brothers who built up Lam Soon Group, known for its consumer goods such as the Knife brand cooking oil.

How philanthropy is practised here has changed, with more foundations and donors looking beyond giving out cheques to seeking to create a real impact or bring about social change. Many of them are a lot more invested in the projects they fund, from being involved in the design of the programme to measuring its impact, said those interviewed.

The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) chief executive Catherine Loh said: “Donors are becoming more focused on strategic philanthropy, as opposed to outright charity. They see their donations as social investments that will bring about social change.”

“As such, they are more willing to provide longer-term support and willing to give a longer time horizon to allow change to occur.”

CFS enables donors who pledge at least $200,000 to set up a donor-advised fund. It manages the money, advises donors on the needs in the community and disburses the funds according to their wishes.

At the Quantedge Foundation, set up in 2015, its three full-time staff engage its community partners and beneficiaries to understand their needs, identify programmes to support, and assess the outcomes achieved.

Mr Suhaimi Zainul-Abidin, the foundation’s director, said: “We believe that philanthropy is uniquely positioned to take on calculated risks with innovative, untested approaches to solving social issues, so as to encourage experimentation by the social sector, demonstrate the viability of new ideas and drive longer-lasting change.”

Senior staff of Quantedge Capital, an investment management firm, donate annually to the Quantedge Foundation – “giving more in years when business is good and bonuses are high, and less in leaner times”, he added.

The foundation’s core focus is improving social mobility.

He said: “If we do not, collectively as a society, recognise that this is an issue that we should pay particular attention to, we may well sleepwalk into a stratified, divided society in the future.”

For example, Quantedge Foundation initiated talks with the Singapore Management University and Singapore University of Technology and Design to co-design and seed-fund an initiative, where financially needy Singaporean students will get a full financial aid package that makes their entire university education tuition free.

It also worked with a charity, Playeum, to pilot a series of science, technology, engineering, arts and maths workshops as an after-school developmental programme for children from lower-income families.

Since it was registered as a charity, the Quantedge Foundation has disbursed $7.4 million in grants and committed to giving another $8 million or so more.

The Soristic report ranked the Quantedge Foundation 22nd on its list, disbursing $2.3 million in grants in 2019.

Mr Suhaimi said: “In today’s knowledge-based, technologically driven capitalist society, the winners win by such a large margin that it is not quite right to keep all the gains without sharing some with the wider community.

“One of our hopes is that wealthy individuals, families and companies will find resonance in what the Quantedge Foundation is doing, and in time, give back to the society in their own way.”

If you have an interest in strategic philanthropy or would like to start a donor-advised fund with us, visit 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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